Intelligencer

Intelligencer is a blog featuring teaching and research essays as well as news about the organization and its members.

To submit member news or suggest a blog topic, contact Intelligencer editor Dane Claussen.

PDFs of the Intelligencer in its previous newsletter form can be found at the Intelligencer archive. Visit the News page for press releases on the organization's activities.

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  • 15 Nov 2017 12:47 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    The American Historical Association has announced its first winner of the Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize, which honors the best book about journalism history. The first award will be presented in January to Amelia Bonea, author of “The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism, and the Politics of Reporting in Colonial India, c. 1830-1900.”

    Last year, the AHA announced it would begin recognizing outstanding scholarship in the area of journalism history and chose to name this newly minted prize after Palmegiano. Palmegiano served as president of the American Journalism Historians Association from 1998-99 and worked for many years to have journalism history recognized within the AHA, one of the world’s largest and most recognizable academic organizations.

    The AHA will award the Palmegiano Prize each January. Submissions for the 2019 Palmegiano Prize are due in May. For more information on submissions, visit the Palmegiano Prize page on the AHA website. 

  • 15 Nov 2017 12:43 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    Scholars representing universities from across North America were recognized for their work on research papers at the American Journalism Historian’s Association’s annual convention in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Teri Finneman of South Dakota State, won the Wm. David Sloan Award for Outstanding Faculty Research Paper for “‘The Greatest of Its Kind Ever Witnessed in America’: The Press and the 1913 Women’s March on Washington.” The runners-up in that category were Charles Lewis of Minnesota State University for “This Means War: A Case Study of Caustic Political Copy in the Frontier Press of Minnesota, 1857-1861”; John Coward of the University of Tulsa for “Indian Ideology in The Warpath: Lehman Brightman’s Red Power Journalism”; and Candi Carter Olson and Erin Cox of Utah State University for “A Mighty Power: The Defenses Employed by Utah’s Women Against Disenfranchisement by the EdmundsTucker Act of 1887.”

    The Robert Lance Award for Outstanding Student Research Paper went to Vicki Knasel Brown of the University of Missouri-Columbia for “Commercial and Religious Press Coverage of the Mormon Struggle in Missouri, 1831-1838.” The runners-up were Bailey Dick of Ohio University for “Faith as the Basis for Radical Vision: The Reporting of Dorothy Day as a Catalyst for Social Movement"; Thomas Schmidt of the University of Oregon for “The Narrative Turn in American News Writing: How Newspapers Adopted Narrative Journalism in the Late 20th Century”; and Patti Piburn of Arizona State University for “Discovering the Arizona Republican Newspaper, 1896-1898: Yellow Journalism in America’s Territorial Press.”

    Finneman also won the Maurine Beasley Award for Oustanding Paper on a Women’s History Topic with runner-up honors to Carter Olson and Cox as well as Dick. Erika Pribanic-Smith of the University of Texas-Arlington and Jared Shroeder of Southern Methodist University also received runner-up honors in this category for “Manifestos, Meetings, and Mother Earth: Emma Goldman's No-Conscription League and the First Amendment in 1917.”

    Lewis won the J. William Snorgrass Award for Outstanding Research on a Minorities Topic. Coward earned a runner-up as did Jason Peterson of Charleston Southern University “Mississippi’s Forgotten Son: Billy Barton and his Journalistic Battle for Redemption in the Closed Society” and Felecia Jones Ross of The Ohio State University for “In Plain Sight: How the African-American Covered Extraordinary Women as Figures in the Community.”

    The Wally Eberhard Award for Outstanding Research Paper in Media and War went to Pat Washburn and Mike Sweeney of Ohio University for “Grand Jury Transcripts in the Chicago Tribune’s 1942 Espionage Act Case: What Is Missing Is Significant.” The runners-up were Dominique Trudel of University of Montreal for “Revisiting the Origins of Communication Research: Walter Lippmann’s WWII Adventure in Propaganda and Psychological Warfare”; Pamela Walck and Ashley Walter of Duquesne University for “Soaring Out of the Private Sphere: How Flyin’ Jenny and Her Comic Strip Helped Pioneer a New Path for Women’s Work During World War II”; and Scott Morton of Catawba College for “Hanoi Hannah and the Anti-War Movement: How the American Print Media Covered a Female Enemy Radio Propagandist Who Exploited U.S. Societal Unrest During the Vietnam War.”

    Elisabeth Fondren of Louisiana State University won the Jean Palmegiano Award for the Outstanding Research Paper on International/Transnational Journalism for “Publicizing Tragedy: The Sinking of the Lusitania As an International News Story.” Brendon Floyd of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville received the runner-up for “The Worst Kind of Democrats This Side of Hell”: John Daly Burk, the United Irishmen, the Federalist Party, and American Identity in the Early Republic.”

  • 15 Nov 2017 12:41 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    Three new members were elected to serve three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the American Journalism Historians Association during its 36th Annual Convention in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Joining the board are Dr. Candi Carter Olson of Utah State University and Sonny Rhodes of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Dr. Kathy Bradshaw of Bowling Green State University was elected to a full term on the board, after finishing out the remainder of a vacant term.

    “AJHA has felt like family since my first conference,” Olson said of her election. “I'm pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the organization and help it to envision a future where journalism history is a vital and important part of the educational endeavor at all levels."

    Bradshaw, who has also been serving as AJHA’s representative to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, said she is “'honored and thrilled to have been elected to the AJHA Board of Directors."

    "AJHA is special to me because members are fine historians with industry backgrounds who are engaged with the present,” Bradshaw said. "There are special moments every year at AJHA, and I'm happy to be able to contribute to maintaining the foundation for those special moments."

    Rhodes, who served as one of the hosts for the 2017 Annual Convention, said being selected for the board “was both humbling and extremely gratifying.” “Whenever I'm with fellow AJHA members, I feel like I'm at a family reunion—a happy family reunion,” Rhodes said. “I learned some things from helping host the Little Rock conference, and I hope to use that knowledge to help plan future conferences. I'd especially like to look at creative ways to help finance those gatherings and to improve student attendance at them.”

  • 29 Oct 2017 11:22 AM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    By Robert T. Buckman

    One reason I drove to the SPJ convention in Anaheim this year was to scratch some things off my bucket list, including Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Arizona-Mexico border and the Ernie Pyle Home and Library in Albuquerque, N.M.

    I have shared by email with my friends, on the anniversary of his death, the dispatch I used to read every year to my feature writing classes on the Death of Capt. Waskow. In more recent years, I’ve also read his dispatch from the Normandy beachhead just after D-Day.

    Photos here (TO COME) show the house he built in 1940 for him and his wife, Geraldine, or Jerry, but he spent little time in it. Later that year, Scripps-Howard sent him to England to cover the German blitz. After the U.S. entered the war, as you know, he accompanied the troops as what today would be called an embedded reporter—first to North Africa, then Sicily, then Italy, where he wrote the Waskow dispatch, then to France, where he finally burned out and came home on leave in September 1944. A few months later, though, he went to the Pacific to cover the war against the Japanese. He was killed by a Japanese machine gun on April 18, 1945, on the tiny island of Ie Shima, off the coast of Okinawa.

    His wife, who suffered from mental illness, died seven months after he did. They were childless, and in 1948 the house was donated to the city, which made it a branch library. It is tiny, two bedrooms, 1,145 square feet. Besides library books, it contains a good deal of Pyle memorabilia, as you will see, including his handwritten last dispatch, to mark the surrender of Germany, which was then imminent but he was killed three weeks before it happened. It was found in his pocket. Zoom in on the piece of paper in his typewriter. It’s the Normandy dispatch.

    He received the Pulitzer Prize for war reporting in 1944.

    Outside, in the side yard, is a marble monument. You’ll recognize what’s inscribed on it. So you see, I wasn’t the only one affected by his emotive prose. The death of Capt. Waskow also appears as a scene in the 1944 movie, “The Story of G.I. Joe,” in which Burgess Meredith plays Pyle and a very young Robert Mitchum plays Waskow.

    If you’re ever in Albuquerque, it’s worth a visit, even if it isn’t listed in the Albuquerque tourist guide I picked up at the New Mexico welcome center on I-40. It’s located at 900 Girard SE, just nine blocks south of Central Avenue, which is also Historic Route 66. It has strange hours: Closed Sun-Mon, open 10-6 Tue, 11-7 Wed, 10-6 Th-Sat. Take a bookmark home as a souvenir; I brought several extra for some of my alumni.

    If you go in the evening, when you’re done go back to 3222 Central SE and have a brew or two at Kelly’s Brewpub, located in an old car dealership and decorated with Texaco signs and Norman Rockwell reproductions.

    ___________________________________________________

    Robert T. Buckman recently retired as associate professor of journalism at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

  • 29 Oct 2017 11:04 AM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    The Southeastern Review of Journalism History (Debra Reddin van Tuyll, editor-in-chief, and David W. Bulla, managing editor; Leonard Teel, editor emeritus) is a peer-reviewed journal inviting research papers on any facet of U.S. and international journalism history. The Review, founded by Dr. Leonard Teel at Georgia State University (as The Atlanta Review of Journalism History), sees journalism history broadly and will consider all forms of mass communication that have had impact on any area of journalism’s past. Topics in past editions have included column writing, coverage of major topics and events in national and international history (such as civil war, economic policy, frontier society, immigration, national liberation, racism, and slavery), muckraking, reporting arts, leisure, and sports, sensationalism, and travel writing, among others.

    The Review encourages both undergraduate and graduate students to submit papers that they have presented at mass communication conferences. Such conferences include American Journalism Historians Association, AEJMC, AEJMC History/AJHA Joint Conference, ICA, Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression, and regional or mid-winter AEJMC conferences. 

    This is a call for submissions for our Spring 2018 edition. Submissions are due by Dec. 15, 2017, at midnight EST. Papers should be double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font, with endnotes, and submitted in Microsoft Word format. Please limit article size to 7,500 words (25 double-spaced pages in 12 Times New Roman), not counting the title page, abstract, and endnotes. Use of the Chicago Manual of Style is highly recommended but not required. Please included the following:

    An email with the attached paper, with the author’s name, the date, and her/his affiliation.

    In the attached paper, please include the title page, a 200-word abstract, body of the paper, and endnotes.

    Also include the author’s information (email address, telephone number, institutional affiliation, student or faculty status) in the text of the email.

    An undergraduate student submitting a paper needs to also send a statement that her/his paper has been presented at a research conference (confirmation email or PDF of a conference program will do).

    The journal is also accepting book reviews of recently published books. Reviews should be no more than 1,000 words in length and focused on books that deal with some aspect of journalism history.

    Editors Debra Reddin van Tuyll and David W. Bulla of Augusta University are coordinating paper submissions. Authors will be notified in mid-February whether their research papers have been accepted for publication in the Spring 2018 edition of the journal. 

    For submission of a research paper, please email Dr. van Tuyll at:

    dvantuyl@augusta.edu

    For submission of a book review, please email Dr. Bulla at:

    dbulla@augusta.edu

  • 29 Oct 2017 11:01 AM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    Deadline:  February 1, 2018
     
    The third annual conference on Transnational Journalism History is seeking papers that deal with any aspect of the history of journalism and mass communications that transcends national borders.

    This year’s conference will be June 1-2, 2018, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at Concordia University.

    The conference is sponsored jointly by the journalism and mass communication programs at Concordia University, Dublin City University and Augusta University.

    Conference planners have one book underway from the 2016 inaugural conference (presently in the proposal stage). The work deals with the Irish Diaspora press. As second book, tentatively titled A Handbook of Transnational Journalism History, is planned from the second and third conferences, and we have one publisher who has already expressed interest in receiving a proposal for this book. 

    For the 2018 conference, we are particularly looking for papers that offer definitions, methodologies, theories, and case studies of transnational journalism history. Papers should be able to be presented within 20 minutes, so around 10 to 15 pages. Papers of up to 25 pages, not including footnotes, will be accepted as well, but the presentation of the paper cannot exceed the 20-minute limit.  Abstracts of 250 words are also accepted for research-in-progress. 

    Papers may be submitted in French, but presentations will need to be given in English.

    Papers and abstracts should be submitted to Debbie van Tuyll (dvantuyl@augusta.edu) by February 1, 2018. Submissions will be double-blind reviewed.

    Work presented at this conference will be considered for publication in a Handbook of Transnational Journalism History. Any questions may be addressed to Debbie van Tuyll or Mark O’Brien (mark.obrien@dcu.ie). This conference is sponsored by Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec); Dublin City Univeristy (Dublin, Ireland); Augusta University (Georgia); and the University of Groningen (Netherlands).

  • 08 Oct 2017 9:57 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)
    Editor’s Note: Marist College professor Kevin M. Lerner presented his paper, “The Other New Journalism: David Halberstam, J. Anthony Lukas, and Reported Narrative in the Dawn of the Big Important Book,” at May's International Association of Literary Journalism Studies conference held in Canada. The Intelligencer asked Dr. Lerner to tell us more about how and why he started researching this topic, and why this research is important and interesting for himself and our field.

    By Kevin M. Lerner, Marist College

    While I was working in the New York Public Library archives and records division, gathering material for what would become my dissertation (and later the basis for my current book manuscript), I came across a letter of recommendation in the editorial papers of the New York Times. Typed on an electric typewriter with a janky “a” key that repeated almost every time the author touched it, and all in lowercase, with x’s through mistakes, the letter recommended a young Baltimore Sun reporter named J. Anthony Lukas:

    lukas (who is a friend of mine, so be warned) is just what every young newspaperman ought to be. he is very very bright, and he has a high s ense of the profession and integrity, and unlike xxxxxx many bright young guys he has been a nd is willing to do the harder part of the profession—the dirty legwork part. so  he is aavery finished and versatile reporter. he is aa guy who has always had his eye on foreign cities but he has also realized that xxxx the way to get there is to do aa good job covering tough local stories. [sic]

    The management at the Times would take the advice of this letter’s author, despite his lack of typing skill, and bring Tony Lukas on as a reporter—and it was good advice. Lukas won a Pulitzer Prize at the Times for his story about a woman named Linda Fitzpatrick who lived a drug-fueled life in Greenwich Village in contrast to the Greenwich, Connecticut of her upbringing. His recommender was David Halberstam, who had known Lukas since the two of them worked together at The Harvard Crimson.

    I was digging around in Tony Lukas’s personnel file because I was writing my dissertation about (MORE), an anti-establishment journalism review that Lukas would found in 1971. The letter of recommendation had some very small use for me in the dissertation project, but it kindled another idea which would have to wait until I finished and filed and had time to devote my brain to something else. So I did something that is likely familiar to almost any historian who has worked in an archive and I filed away that idea for later.

    That was how I came to work on the project that became “The Other New Journalism: David Halberstam, J. Anthony Lukas, and Reported Narrative in the Dawn of the Big Important Book,” which is still very much a work in progress, and which I presented at the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies conference in Halifax last May. I am interested in two interlinked ideas here which fit into the larger arc of my ongoing research agenda. 

    First, I want to investigate the informal networks of journalists that influence how journalism is practiced. There has been much work on the institutions of journalism, but I want to know more about the history of these backchannels, where journalists exchange ideas about doing journalism, but also get each other jobs or connect each other to editors for freelance work. It seems to me that these networks have an outsized influence that has been undervalued in research. I hold that there is, in fact, a group of elite journalists, many of whom know each other, who operate at the highest levels of the profession and determine much about the standards that other practitioners will be held to.

    Secondly, and more importantly, I am investigating the intellectual history of journalism, and at the same time, the history of intellectual journalism. In other words, I am interested in the way that ideas about what constitutes journalism have changed over time, and also the ways that journalism interacts with the broader history of ideas. That’s where the subtitle—and the working thesis—for the present study come in.

    Halberstam and Lukas overlapped at The Times with Gay Talese, the elegant and self-aware stylist of nonfiction prose who left daily newspapers to become a part of that loosely affiliated group of like-minded writers known as the New Journalists. And while there are piles of book and papers about the flashy New Journalism, I would argue that the focus on New Journalism has distracted from another movement that was developing at the same time, at the hands (and typewriter fingers) of journalists such as Lukas and Halberstam: a journalism that takes the idea of narrative seriously, but puts even more of an emphasis on reporting. (Halberstam, I’m beginning to discover, required a lot of editing.)

    I’ve been calling this genre the “Big Important Book,” and I believe it is one that continues to influence the intellectual life of the United States far more than the occasional masterpiece of nonfiction prose. These are the books that show up on The New York Times list of best books of the year; the books that get their authors invited onto Fresh Air to talk to Terry Gross. They’re well-written, but mostly they are well-reported, and full of intriguing ideas. They’re Big Important Books.

    Tony Lukas published five books, four of which I would classify as BIBs. One of them, Common Ground, told the story of the school integration busing crisis in Boston and won him his second Pulitzer and is still in print more than three decades after its publication. David Halberstam published… a lot of books, at least ten of which could be BIBs. And they are merely representative of forty years of journalists doing the same sort of quiet, but important work. Needless to say, there is a lot to read, and while the initial study will probably stop at the coincidence of these two friends working the genre, I don’t know exactly how far this project will go.

    As I said, this is a work in progress, but the reading list is one that I look forward to tackling.

    ______________________________________________________

    Kevin M. Lerner is assistant professor of journalism at Marist College. He is also editor of the Journal of Magazine & New Media Research, published by the Magazine Media Division, Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. His scholarly research concentrates on the history of American journalism, with a focus on the 1970s, alternative forms of journalism, press criticism, and anti-intellectualism in the press. He is completing a book on the history of (MORE), an anti-establishment journalism review. 

  • 04 Oct 2017 10:34 AM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    The History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is soliciting entries for its annual award for the best journalism and mass communication history book of 2017.

    The winning author will receive a plaque and a $500 prize at the August 2018 AEJMC conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the author will give a short talk about the experience of research and discovery during the book’s composition.

    The competition is open to any author of a media history book regardless of whether he or she belongs to AEJMC or the History Division. Only first editions with a 2017 copyright date will be accepted. Edited volumes, articles, and monographs will be excluded because they qualify for the Covert Award, another AEJMC History Division competition.

    Entries must be received by February 2, 2018.  Submit four copies of each book -- along with the author’s mailing address, telephone number, and email address -- to:

    John P. Ferré, AEJMC History Book Award Chair

    Department of Communication

    310 Strickler Hall

    University of Louisville

    Louisville, KY  40292

    Please contact John Ferré at 502.852.8167 or ferre@louisville.edu with any questions.

  • 29 Sep 2017 11:23 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    By Dr. Dane S. Claussen, Intelligencer Editor

    Visits to more museums around the USA continue to show the varying ways and varying degrees to which media history can be and sometimes is incorporated into history museums.

    In July, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. For those who have never heard of it, Eastern State was once the most famous and most expensive prison in the world, as well as having been, from sometime after its founding in 1829, the world’s largest and most modern prison (and the model for 300+ other prisons around the world). Visiting it now, as a US National Historic Landmark, it is a crumbling ruin and the fact that it continued to be used until 1971 surely is a major embarrassment for the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    As it turns out, between navigating and absorbing the cell were Al Capone stayed in, the synagogue, a temporary art exhibit, and much more, visitors find an exhibit of the Eastern Echo, the prison newspaper from 1956 to 1967. “The articles range from essays on prison life to the ranking of Eastern State’s football, baseball, and basketball teams. Numerous articles on Eastern State’s hospital and medical staff reflect how central medical services had become within this institution.”

    For information on the museum, see: https://www.easternstate.org/

    Also while in Philadelphia: many people know about the recreation of Benjamin Franklin’s printshop in Philadelphia (http://www.benjamin-franklin-history.org/printing-house/) but one should also see the printing office of Edes & Gill, which has authentic equipment and historically accurate reproductions, plus top-notch employees giving excellent talks, near the Old North Church. See: http://oldnorth.com/printing-office-of-edes-gill/.

    In Richmond this summer, I had the opportunity to visit the American Civil War Museum (https://acwm.org/), which is, at least for the time being, housed next door to the so-called Confederate White House. The Virginia Commonwealth University medical school and hospitals continue to expand and the museum building will be torn down, with its contents moved to another site a couple of miles away, while the Confederate White House obviously stays where it is—a huge inconvenience for tourists.

    In any case, again I went snooping for media history. A Civil War museum should be a goldmine of media history: they can include copies of newspapers, magazines and photographs from the time, perhaps biographies and artifacts from journalists who covered the war, etc. The reality is something different. On display is one envelope mailed (without stamps) by the Petersburg (VA) Daily Express & Weekly Express, one envelope mailed with two Confederate postage stamps from the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser, an “extra” edition of the Charleston (SC) Mercury that is a broadside announcing “The UNION is DISSOLVED!”, a couple of newspaper clippings, the January 17, 1863, issue of the The Southern Illustrated News (featuring a large woodcut of a startlingly young-looking Robert E. Lee), a bodice sleeve pattern made from the page of an 1864 New Orleans Picayune, and a “Richmond Bread Riot” woodcut from the May 3, 1863, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated. And that is all! Not a very impressive showing of media/journalism history, but then the entire museum is, in many ways, not very impressive considering its name, age, location, and potential importance.

    In contrast, a goldmine of media history is the new National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution (https://nmaahc.si.edu/). Plan ahead or pay a scalper for a supposedly free ticket to the museum; when I was there in early July, tickets were already all gone through the end of November! (Paying a well-established scalper who advertises every day on Craigslist was worth every penny.) In any case, this museum has it all when it comes to media: the African American press, how African Americans were covered by the dominant media, African Americans in movies, television, and radio—even a set from Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. Where does one start?

    Perhaps in more or less chronological order, as the museum does, which means starting at the lowest level underground and working your way up. I may not have seen all exhibits in exactly the order intended by the curators—there’s one floor where exhibits in one room are in a huge circle and other exhibits are in various rooms and hallways leading from the circle—but I’ll give it my best shot. An “early” exhibit shows a photo of William Lloyd Garrison, his watch, and of course describes his paper, The Liberator. However, no photo or copy of the paper is on display, which is rather odd: copies of The Liberator are scarce but not rare. Even I own a couple copies that did not cost me a lot (granted, they are not in excellent condition!). But next is Frederick Douglass, with a copy his The North Star newspaper. A little later, we see a page from Frank Leslie’s Illustrite Zeitung, the German language paper, featuring an engraving of Hiram Revels, the USA’s first African American US senator, and then a copy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s book, Lynch Law in Georgia.

    Next comes a one frame exhibit called “The Black Press.” It shows the flags (front-page nameplate), with or without headlines form the Chicago Defender (two), California Eagle, and Richmond Planet, plus photos of the Eagle and Planet’s offices. It doesn’t make much of an impression, but it’s not the last we see of the Defender in particular. A little while later we see Defender publisher Robert Abbott’s desk and information about Pullman porters distributing his newspaper on the railroads, one cause of African Americans’ great northern migration. A free-standing exhibit case offers “Printing for Progress,” with copies of The Messenger, Alexander’s Magazine, Competitor, Opportunity, and other African-American magazines.

    An exhibit titled, “The Battle Over Lynching” includes reproductions of newspaper clippings and an editorial cartoon, though difficult to impossible to figure out exactly where they were published, followed soon by an exhibit noting how The Crisis responded to African Americans serving in World War I. Next, a 1919 Chicago Daily Tribune front page blares, “RIOTS SPREAD, THEN WANE” about race riots, then we are confronted with an April 1929 copy of Kourier Magazine, official organ of the Ku Klux Klan, then a 1918 Chicago Defender front page covering various hot topics, and then a 1921 copy of The Afro American about the Tulsa Race Riot. A 1940s article from the Chicago Defender illustrates African American women organizing against sexual assaults.

    Media history picks up later with a 1969 issue of Negro Digest, a 1970 issue of Black Creation, a 1976 issue of Black World, a famous 1977 issue of Ebony with Alex Haley and African very distant relatives on the cover, and an undated The Black Scholar. Later, there’s mainstream media coverage of African Americans: an undated Playbill (on the cover: Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf), a 1974 TIME with the cover story “Middle-Class Blacks,” and the 1969 Newsweek issue with “Report from Black America.” Then there's a 1968 issue of Jet, a 1973 issue of Ebony with “The Black Middle Class,” a 1968 LIFE issue with a crying black child cover photo, and Newsweek’s 1970 issue with “The Black Mayors: How Are They Doing?”

    But before get to the Playbill and other magazines, we are off to African Americans in film and television, which fills several rooms: Sidney Poitier, Fred Williamson, Richard Roundtree and, of course, Amos ’n’ Andy, and much, much more. After going by the Oprah Winfrey TV set, we get to see a small exhibit on African American community radio, then Essence’s 2011 special issue on “Hot Hair.”

    African-American achievements in education, military or business are illustrated in part by an old Harper’s Weekly cover, The Teacher magazine from 1948, and a 1973 Black Enterprise issue.

    Just when you think you have seen all you will see about media and journalism, the museum pays particular tribute to several individual journalists: the Nashville Banner’s Robert  Churchwell, Provincial Freeman (Canada) editor/publisher Mary Ann Shadd Cary (an American), Dudley Randall’s Broadside Press company, Ebony magazine, and The Pittsburgh Courier’s Charles “Teenie” Harris. These are nicely accompanied by a “The Power of the Press” exhibit highlighting the Philadelphia Tribune.

    African-American achievements in sports are given plenty of attention, and those exhibits include the April 1968 Esquire magazine feature Muhammad Ali shot by arrows like Saint Sebastian and Althea Gibson on the cover of a 1967 Sports Illustrated.

    When I was there, a separate area only for media exhibits (entirely photographs and videos) featured “Everyday Beauty” photographs, but also photography artifacts such as a stereoscope, a 1920s vintage photojournalist's camera, and other items.

    I recommend the museum highly for all of these reasons and more (although I won’t soon forget the jam-packed exhibit spaces or the grossly overpriced food in the cafeteria). It’s not often we see so much media history content in a museum that is not media-oriented and has no shortage of other items to show.

    (Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of occasional articles about media history's role in museums and history books.)

    _________________________________________________________

    Claussen is Editor of The Intelligencer and the James Pedas Professor of Media, Communication & Public Relations/Executive Director, James Pedas Communication Center, Thiel College, Greenville, Pa. Regardless of what he might say or write about them, he enjoys visiting any and all museums in the USA and abroad.

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