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 Melony Shemberger.

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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  • 03 Sep 2020 9:11 AM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    (Editor's note: Raymond McCaffrey is an assistant professor and director of the Center for Ethics in Journalism at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He received the McKerns Grant in 2019.)

    By Raymond McCaffrey

         My first encounter with Louis Stark occurred ten years ago while combing the “stacks” at the University of Maryland’s McKeldin Library as part of an assignment for a journalism history course required for doctoral students. The topic that I had picked for my research paper concerned how journalism textbooks might reveal how early educators addressed the physical and psychological risks faced by journalists. One of the texts on a library shelf was an anthology titled, “A Treasury of Great Reporting; ‘Literature under Pressure’ From the Sixteenth Century to Our Own Time,” which included a contribution by Stark, a New York Times reporter who had had covered the 1927 executions of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the so-called “anarchists” convicted of killing two men during a robbery.

         Stark’s first-person account was dramatically different than the terse, objective news stories he wrote for the Times. Stark’s harrowing depiction revealed that journalists had insight into the psychological toll of covering traumatic events long before the topic became a focus of research near the end of the twentieth century. Stark wrote about what it was like to be in Charlestown State Prison on the day of the executions, writing that the prison was like an armed camp, with rioters outside the gates, and reporters were herded to a room next door to the execution chamber: “The windows had been nailed down by a nervous policeman ‘because somebody might throw something in.’ The shades were drawn. The room was stuffy, and in an hour the heat was unbearable. We took off our coats, rolled up our sleeves, and tried to be comfortable. The morse operators were the coolest of the fifty men and women in the room. The noise of the typewriters and telegraph instrument made an awful din. Our nerves were stretched to the breaking point. Had there not been a last minute reprieve on Aug. 10? Might there be one now?”[1]

         Stark’s account offered a unique view of stressors faced by reporters covering a traumatic event on deadline, intensified by the need to meet the increasing demands of the evolving technology of the day. But I met with an unusual sort of dead end when I searched for more of the author’s personal writing. Most of what I found by Stark was the work of a master of the objective, almost deeply impersonal news writing that was practiced by New York Times reporters. Stark went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for pioneering a completely new journalism beat that quickly became a staple in many newspapers in the United States: coverage of the increasingly powerful U.S. labor movement. In 1951, nine years after winning the Pulitzer for labor reporting, Stark moved on to writing editorials for the Times, specializing in analysis of the labor movement. Stark also appeared to have embraced the type of stoic response to personal setbacks that is common amongst journalists. When Stark died in 1954, shortly after turning 66, the Times published a tribute that celebrated “a devotion to duty” that motivated Stark to come to work until the very last day of his life, despite what was characterized as “a series of mild heart attacks.”[2] Though too sick to come into the office, Stark wrote his final editorial at home, ultimately having to ask his wife to call the newspaper and phone in his piece. Three hours later, at 4 p.m., Stark “died unexpectedly,” and his last editorial - “Trade Union Democracy” – ran in the same edition that carried his obituary.[3]

         Stark, who had so powerfully depicted the on-the-job stress faced by the working journalists, also appeared to exemplify the kind of macho journalistic ethos that I was interested in studying. Yet the preliminary evidence that I found only supported a potentially fascinating study about Stark and his role in pioneering the labor beat. Unfortunately that wasn’t the part of his story that fascinated me. So I put Stark on my list of possible long-term story ideas with the understanding that ultimately I was going to have to make a tough practical decision. My only real chance to discover Stark’s personal story was to examine his personal papers that had been donated to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. But in order to allocate the time and money to travel to Boston from Arkansas, where I now teach, I felt I needed to be committed to telling the story of Stark, the pioneer of the labor beat, especially if his papers failed to contain much of his personal side.

         The American Journalism Historians Association ultimately helped me make that decision by awarding me a Joseph McKerns Research Grant in 2018. The grant not only eased practical concerns by helping to support my travel to Boston, but also offered some external confirmation that the overall story of such a pioneering journalist was worth telling. The two days I spent at the Nieman Foundation, located in the historic Lippmann House, were ideal for an historian with a tight schedule. The Nieman administrators gave what every researcher should hope for: a quiet room filled with stacks of assiduously inventoried file boxes. During two days of reviewing notes, correspondence, and other writings, I constantly felt as if I was in Stark’s presence, even if that involved being in the company of a journalist who was deeply private, but only to a point.

          Amid the writings that spoke to the politics and key players behind the growing labor movement, I found a diary, which Stark kept sporadically, starting in 1932. His personal writing  contained the type of insights he included in his recounting of the 1927 execution. In one entry, he wrote about the human suffering in one impoverished mining community where he was confronted by a child begging for food. “Somehow my attention always swings around to the children,” Stark wrote.

          Stark’s papers also provided many insights into the professional practices of a legendary journalist. Stark’s reputation as a journalist who was trusted by his sources could be seen in an exchange of letters he had with the powerful labor leader George Meany in 1954. Stark’s request for insider information on an “off-the-record basis” resulted in an extraordinarily candid account that Meany documented on American Federation of Labor stationary (with a return address of the Monte Carlo Hotel, in Miami Beach, Florida).

          Some of Stark’s most personal writing involved his correspondence with William M. Leiserson, a scholar and labor expert. His letters, addressed to “Billy,” included brief references to personal information as well as fascinating takes on the inner workings of official Washington. The letters were so informed yet conversational that one could imagine the Times posting much of them online today as part of ongoing blog.

         My review of the papers led me to conclude that two stories about Stark that I saw having to choose among — the personal versus the professional — were actually one and the same. The journalist who wired the labor beat seems to have been the same one whose nerves had been “stretched to the breaking point” while awaiting two public executions. The careful eye he used at Charlestown State Prison was also on display when he was observing the struggling people in union country, where his attention always swung around to the children.

                                                                END NOTES

    [1] Arthur Krock, Hanson Weightman Baldwin, and Shepard Stone, We Saw It Happen: The News Behind the News That's Fit to Print (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1938), 366.

    [2] Louis Stark," New York Times, May 18, 1954, 28.

    [3] Trade Union Democracy.” New York Times, May 18, 1954, 28.

  • 03 Sep 2020 9:05 AM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    Michael Fuhlhage has been selected to receive the 2020 American Journalism Historians Association National Award for Excellence in Teaching. Fuhlhage is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University.

    The annual AJHA Teaching Award honors a college or university teacher who excels at teaching in the areas of journalism and mass communication history, makes a positive impact on student learning, and offers an outstanding example for other educators.

    Fuhlhage expressed his gratitude to the AJHA for the award, as well as to his nominator Erika Pribanic-Smith and his Wayne State colleagues Fred Vultee and Kat Maguire, who supported his nomination. He said he is especially grateful to his graduate and undergraduate students.

    In her nomination letter, Pribanic-Smith emphasized that Fuhlhage not only relays his encyclopedic knowledge of journalism history in the classroom in innovative and engaging ways, but he also has involved numerous students in historical research.

    "The most important thing about teaching is to let your enthusiasm draw in your students,” Fuhlhage said. “Your joy is infectious in the classroom and in collaboration and co-creation.”

    Fuhlhage added that his inspiration comes from the archives.

    “I always feel a sense of wonder when I encounter things that historical figures touched and created, so I try to re-create that wonder by bringing my own collection into the classroom for my students to experience,” he said. “Share, tell, and invite them to make some meaning out of artifacts.”

    Kaylene Armstrong, chair of the Education Committee, said the committee was impressed with Fuhlhage’s credentials and called him a most deserving winner.

    "His colleagues and students rave about him for good reason,” Armstrong said.

  • 03 Sep 2020 9:02 AM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The editors of American Journalism, the peer-reviewed quarterly journal of the American Journalism Historians Association, have announced Matthew Pressman of Seton Hall University’s College of Communication and the Arts as the winner of the 2020 Rising Scholar Award.

    Pressman received this honor and $2,000 award in recognition of his ongoing research titled “A History of the New York Daily News and its Populist Politics. 

    I’m greatly honored to receive the 2020 Rising Scholar Award from the AJHA,” Pressman said. “Funding from this award will allow me to chase down the scattered archival collections that shed light on the history of the New York Daily News. That archival research will be the foundation of my next book, a history of the Daily News—the highest-circulation newspaper in U.S. history and one whose influence has been underappreciated.”

    Pressman also expressed thanks to the “supportive scholars” who make up the AJHA. He described the organization as “one of the best parts of being a journalism historian.”

    Pressman’s  research will examine not only the impact of the Daily News on journalism history but will also address how the paper influenced American politics and culture.

    Vanessa Murphree, associate editor of American Journalism and professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, said, “Dr. Pressman has developed an important and timely research agenda that helps us better understand the broad-based impact of the Daily News. The research is especially significant because it will help us better understand the origins of the ‘New Right’ in the mid-20th century and how this movement has influenced today’s political landscape.”

    The Rising Scholar Award winner is chosen annually by the editors of American Journalism. The award is designed for scholars who show promise in extending their research agendas.

  • 03 Sep 2020 8:58 AM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    American Journalism, the peer-reviewed quarterly journal of the American Journalism Historians Association, has awarded its 2020 "Article of the Year" prize to Stephen Bates, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

    Bates's study, "Prejudice and the Press Critics: Robert McCormick's Assault on the Hutchins Commission," appeared in the Fall 2019 edition of the journal.

    The article relates the story behind a 642-page angry rebuttal to A Free and Responsible Press, the 1947 Hutchins report. Bates notes that although Prejudice and the Press, which was underwritten by Chicago Tribune publisher Colonel Robert McCormick, "is meandering, snide and suffused with red-baiting, it effectively rebuts a key foundation of A Free and Responsible Press."

    Bates said that he first came across Prejudice and the Press while researching his forthcoming book about the Hutchins report.

    "I loved the story behind it, but I didn't have space for much of it in my book," he explained. "I'm delighted that American Journalism was able to publish the article, and I'm honored to have it recognized. I hope it brings more attention to the debates that the Hutchins Commission sparked, some of which are still raging today."

    An Aristocracy of Critics: Luce, Hutchins, Niebuhr, and the Committee That Redefined Freedom of the Press, published by Yale University Press, is slated for release Oct. 27. The preeminent thinkers who comprised the Hutchins Commission "spent three years wrestling with subjects that are as pertinent as ever: partisan media and distorted news, activists who silence rather than rebut their opponents, conspiracy theories spread by shadowy groups, and the survivability of American democracy in a post-truth age," according to the publisher.

    Bates will be officially recognized for his scholarship at AJHA's Virtual 2020 National Conference, its 39th annual convention, which will be held Oct. 2-3.

  • 03 Sep 2020 8:54 AM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association Awards Committee recently named Ford Risley of Pennsylvania State University as the 2020 recipient of the Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History.

    Risley is the associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education, distinguished professor, and head of the Department of Journalism at the Bellisario College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University.

    Tom Mascaro of Bowling Green State University, chair of the AJHA Awards Committee, announced the award: “Ford uplifts us all. He is the scholar’s gold standard.” David Sloan of the University of Alabama said that between his service, teaching and research as a historian, “you have what seems to me to be a perfect recipient for the Kobre Award.”

    Risley served as editor of American Journalism from 2014 to 2020. He is a renowned Civil War-era journalism scholar, the author of six book chapters and more than two dozen academic papers, which have appeared in American Journalism, Journalism History, Civil War History, and the Georgia Historical Quarterly. He has produced four books on Civil War-era journalism, published in 2004, 2008, 2012, and his latest in 2018, Dear Courier: The Civil War Correspondence of Melvin Dwinell (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press).

    Mick Mulcrone of the University of Portland praised the selections offered in The Civil War: Primary Documents on Events from 1860 to 1865 (Greenwood Press, 2004) as “a rich documentary record of the thoughts and feelings— the structure of consciousness—that led men to war and kept them at it for five bloody years.” Susan Thompson of the University of Montevallo concluded her review of Abolition and the Press, which won AJHA’s book award in 2009, by calling it “a must-have for scholars interested in the antebellum and Civil War eras, the abolitionist movement and the black press.” David Copeland of Elon University explains: “His work paved the way for others looking at how the press reported on the war, something you will discover when you talk to others who do research on that time period.”

    Regarding Risley’s contributions as editor of American Journalism, Michael Sweeney of Ohio University wrote: “It requires skill to parse the value of manuscripts and find the right reviewers for them; it takes even more, plus a dash of tact, to negotiate the hazards of revision and resubmission with authors who don't always see eye to eye with reviewers. Ford was the ideal editor. . . . As president of AJHA, (Ford) set in motion the process that led to the creation of an award for excellence in teaching. This relates to the scholarship foundation of the Kobre, because our research as historians vanishes like smoke on a windy day if we do not find ways to share it with audiences.”

    Previous American Journalism editor Karla Gower of the University of Alabama said Risley was always one of her go-to reviewers. “I could count on him to provide constructive feedback to the author that strengthened the manuscript and added value to our knowledge of journalism history,” she noted. Pat Washburn of Ohio University added, “Since he has become editor of American Journalism, I have admired the consistent high quality of the journal, which clearly is due to his diligence as editor.”

    Risley started his journalism career as a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Florida Times-Union, and Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He was editor of the Deerwood/Southpoint Messenger and freelance writer for the Dallas Morning News and the New York Times, among others.

    He has previously been recognized by top honors in the field: the Henry W. Grady Award (for Best Paper on Southern History), by the AEJMC Southeast Colloquium; Top History Paper and Top Faculty Research Paper (History Division), both from AEJMC conferences, the Penn State College of Communications Alumni Society Excellence in Teaching Award, the Hazel Dicken-Garcia Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Journalism History, the AJHA Book of the Year Award (2009), and the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

    As a teacher, Risley has served on more than a dozen doctoral committees, a dozen master’s theses, and multiple undergraduate honors committees. Leonard Teel of Georgia State University wrote, “Through 25 years of teaching at the college level, Dr. Risley has established a continuous record of dedication to the profession through academic excellence.”

    Echoing the sentiment of Jim Martin of the University of North Alabama that Risley’s award was “well-deserving in every way,” other colleagues explained the breadth and depth of his contributions. Former AJHA president Ross Collins noted, “Beyond his mentoring to me, Dr. Risley has had a far-reaching influence on AJHA and on the discipline of journalism history.”

    “Beyond his scholarly record one would be remiss if failing to mention the personal contribution,” added Jim Startt of Valparaiso University. “He has always accepted responsibility and often the additional work it requires, despite his administrative and teaching obligations at Pennsylvania State University. Every organization needs such people and the talent they share. I have always found Ford to be helpful when help is needed. He is one of most valuable colleagues and also one of our most amiable members.”

    Dianne Bragg of the University of Alabama said: “Ford is genuinely courteous and diplomatic in all of his interactions. Whether it be committee meetings or scholarly discussions, Ford is one of the few who is always eager to hear what others have to say.”

  • 20 Aug 2020 12:03 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association will have an electronic election in September to fill three open positions on the Board of Directors. Ballots will be emailed to all members and also will include approval of the 2019 General Member Business Meeting Minutes and three proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws.

    We will not have an election for second vice-president this year. Given the unprecedented global health crisis that forced AJHA to opt for a virtual conference this fall, the membership agreed to pause the presidential leadership chain for one year. Donna Lampkin Stephens will remain president. Aimee Edmondson will remain first vice-president, and Mike Conway will remain second vice-president.

    Members nominated the following three scholars for the three open board seats. The electronic ballot will include a space for write-in votes.

    Julien Gorbach

    Boston native Julien Gorbach is an assistant professor in the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His book The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Militant Zionist was published by Purdue University Press in March 2019, and it earned the National Jewish Book Award “Finalist” prize for Best Biography. His chapter “Not Your Grandpa’s Hoax: A Comparative History of Fake News” appeared in Fake News! Misinformation in the Media (LSU Press, June 2020), and his studies have been published in American Journalism, Journalism History and Literary Journalism Studies. He currently serves as the chair of AJHA’s Public Relations Committee. Gorbach earned his doctorate at the Missouri School of Journalism in 2013. Before that he worked as a newspaper reporter for ten years. His articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, Time Out New York, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the New Orleans Gambit.

    What AJHA has meant to me and why I want to serve: AJHA has been my scholarly community for more than a decade, since I presented my first study at our March 2008 joint conference. The association has provided peers who are now among my closest friends, and extraordinary mentors like Berkley Hudson, Ross Collins, Kathy Roberts Forde, Mike Sweeney, Ford Risley, and Donna Lampkin Stephens. AJHA has taught me not just methods and insights into historiography; it also instilled in me the ethos of our field and has shown me why our work is so important. The association has been a constant source of support, encouragement and collegiality, and our members all appreciate how much that means whenever we find ourselves buried deep in the archives, or in the tenth draft of a particularly thorny study. This past year was my first opportunity to contribute service as chair of our public relations committee. I would be honored to help further build and strengthen our organization by serving on our board of directors, so that we can assist our seasoned scholars in expanding upon their achievements and invite the younger scholars on board, just as the association so graciously did for us.

    Jennifer Moore

    Jennifer E. Moore is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her research interests include journalism history, visual communication, participatory news practices and digital news preservation. Moore’s work on the nineteenth-century illustrated press appears in issues of Journalism History and several chapters in media history collections, including Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting (Transaction Publishers, 2013) and After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900 (Transaction Publishers, 2017). An essay about her participatory news scholarship appears in the forthcoming Journalism Research that Matters (Oxford University Press). From 2014 to 2016, she served as a co-coordinator for the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference. Her research awards include funding from the National Association of Broadcasters and two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar Awards. She teaches courses in media history, digital journalism, social media, and media ethics. Prior to academia, Moore worked as a radio reporter and as a digital content producer and manager.

    What AJHA has meant to me and why I want to serve: I will never forget the first time I attended AJHA as a graduate student and was pleasantly surprised to receive a stipend to offset my travel expenses. It's that kind of commitment to developing and supporting scholars that has kept me involved. As a former co-coordinator for the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference (JJCHC), I am excited by an opportunity to be in service to our discipline again as an AJHA board member. I want to continue the work of those before me who have helped communicate the importance of journalism history, not only among scholars but also to a general audience. Our work as journalism and media historians is more important than ever. What we do as scholar-teachers is needed to help understand our current moment as we negotiate both a global health pandemic and efforts to dismantle systemic racism in the U.S. 

    Rich Shumate

    Rich Shumate is an assistant professor in the School of Media at Western Kentucky University and holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida. His research centers on historical political communication, specifically news media coverage of U.S. political conservatism in the 1950s and 1960s. He was the winner of AJHA’s Margaret Blanchard Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism History in 2019, and he is currently proceeding to publication with a book based on that work, The Liberal Bias Rebellion: How Coverage of Goldwater Made Conservatives Hate Media, which will be published by Lexington Books in 2021. Prior to moving into academia, Shumate worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist on newspapers in North Carolina and Georgia and spent 10 years as a news editor and web writer at CNN’s world headquarters in Atlanta. He is also the founder and editor of, a blog covering politics across 14 Southern states.

    What AJHA has meant to me and why I want to serve: I first became aware of AJHA when I was in graduate school at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and working as a research assistant for Sonny Rhodes, who introduced me to the organization and spoke highly of it. My first convention was in St. Petersburg, where I, literally, drove through a hurricane to attend; my first presentation as a faculty member came in Salt Lake where I regaled people with details of the 1959 cranberry panic. I have enjoyed making friends and connections at AJHA with people who share my passion for media history, and I come away from conferences stimulated not only with ideas for research projects but ideas for the American news media history class that I created and teach at WKU. In 2017, I also signed on as AJHA’s web editor, taking over a smooth-running operation so ably constructed by Erika Pribanic-Smith, and have enjoyed working with the various committees to put together the convention micro-sites. I am interested in serving on the board because I believe organizations only work effectively if members are willing to step up and contribute what they can. I have enjoyed my membership in AJHA and have gotten a lot out of the experience, so I’d like to give back.
  • 20 Aug 2020 9:32 AM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    The AJHA Board of Directors is proposing three amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws related to the committees that decide the organization's annual awards. The first renames the Awards Committee to the Service Awards Committee and clarifies its duties. The second formalizes the sub-committee charged with deciding the annual Book Award as its own committee. The third creates an addendum outlining what committee is responsible for each award, dividing them into Service, Teaching, and Research awards. [To review the current Constitution and Bylaws, see the Members Only page (login required).]

    The Awards Committee has been responsible for deciding the Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History and the Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award. A sub-committee of the Awards Committee has been responsible for the Book Award. Based on a proposal from Awards Committee Chair Tom Mascaro, the board voted to separate the two committees and specify their duties in two amendments to Section 4.06 of the constitution, which lists all AJHA committees and their charges.

    First, the board proposes the change the language of 4.06(f), which currently reads:

    (f) Awards. This committee will propose to the Board nominees for prizes, plaques, and certificates including the Kobre Award for distinguished service to the profession of journalism history.

    This wording is inaccurate because other AJHA committees propose nominees for a majority of the organization's awards (as outlined in proposed Addendum B, below). Furthermore, the Kobre Award and Distinguished Service Award are two separate awards.

    The proposed new language is as follows:

    (f) Service Awards. This committee will recognize outstanding service to the field of journalism history by selecting recipients for the Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Distinguished Service Award.

    Second, the board proposes creating a new entry formalizing the Book Award Committee as a separate committee. The formatting of this new entry would be consistent with other committees listed in section 4.06, as follows:

    (o) Book Award. This committee will seek to celebrate scholarship in the field of mass communication history by advertising and conducting the annual competition for the best book on a topic in mass communication history.

    Finally, the board proposes adding the following sentence to Constitution Section 1.02 (b): See Addendum B for a full list of awards and the committees responsible for selecting them.

    The following then would be added to the end of the Constitution and Bylaws as Addendum B:

    AJHA Awards for Service, Teaching, and Research

    The following listing outlines the awards given by the American Journalism Historians Association. In addition to being separated according to whether the award primarily recognizes service, teaching, or research, the awards are organized according to the entities within AJHA that select the award recipients.

    I. Service Awards

    A. Service Awards Committee

    1. Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History: The Kobre Award is AJHA's highest honor, recognizing individuals with an exemplary record of sustained achievement in journalism history through teaching, research, professional activities, or other contributions to the field of journalism history.
    2. Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award: The Distinguished Service Award recognizes contributions by an individual outside our discipline who has made an extraordinary effort to further significantly our understanding of, or our ability to explore, media history. 

    B. Local Host Committee

    1. Local Journalist Award for Substantial Contribution to the Public Interest: American Journalism Historians Association annually bestows its Outstanding Local Journalist Award to a journalist local to the convention city whose work has had a positive impact on the community.
    2. Donna Allen Luncheon Honoree: The annual Donna Allen Luncheon celebrates contributions of women to the field of journalism. American Journalism Historians Association invites a woman journalist local to the convention city as its honored guest and featured speaker for the luncheon.

    C. AJHA President - President's Award for Sustained and Meritorious Service: The President of the American Journalism Historians Association may select up to two members each year who have gone above and beyond in their service to the organization to receive the President's Award.

    II. Teaching Awards

    A. Education Committee - National Award for Excellence in Teaching: The annual AJHA Award for Excellence in Teaching honors a college or university teacher who excels at teaching in the areas of journalism and mass communication history, makes a positive impact on student learning, and offers an outstanding example for other educators.

    NOTE: The Kobre Award (detailed in I.A.1. above) also recognizes recipients' record of teaching.

    III. Research Awards

    A. American Journalism (academic journal)
    1. Rising Scholar Award: The Rising Scholar Award is intended to provide research assistance of up to $2,000 for a junior faculty member who has not yet achieved tenure.
    2. Best American Journalism Article Award: The Best Article Award recognizes the outstanding article published in American Journalism during the previous year.

    B. Blanchard Prize Committee - AJHA Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Prize: The Blanchard Prize is awarded annually for the best doctoral dissertation dealing with mass communication history. Up to three honorable mentions also may be selected.

    C. Book Award Committee - AJHA Book of the Year Award: The Book Award recognizes the best book in journalism history or mass media history published during the previous calendar year. Up to two honorable mentions also may be selected.

    D. Research Committee

    1. Joseph McKerns Research Grants: The McKerns Grant is intended to provide research assistance and to recognize and reward the winners. Up to four grants for up to $1,250 each will be rewarded annually upon review and recommendation of the Research Committee.
    2. Research Paper Awards: The Research Committee rewards outstanding research papers submitted to the annual AJHA convention with the following awards.

    a. Wm. David Sloan Award for outstanding faculty research paper.

    b. Robert Lance Award for outstanding student research paper.

    c. Jean Palmegiano Award for outstanding international/transnational journalism history research paper.

    d. J. William Snorgrass Award for outstanding minority-journalism research paper.

    e. Maurine Beasley Award for outstanding women’s history research paper.

    f. Wally Eberhard Award for outstanding research in media and war.

    NOTE: The Kobre Award (detailed in I.A.1. above) also recognizes recipients' record of research.

  • 30 Jun 2020 7:01 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association invites paper entries, panel proposals and abstracts of research in progress on any facet of media history for its 39th annual convention to be held as a condensed virtual conference Oct. 2-3.

    The deadline for all submissions is extended until July 1, 2020.

    The AJHA views journalism history broadly, embracing print, broadcasting, advertising, public relations, and other forms of mass communication that have been inextricably intertwined with the human past. Because the AJHA requires presentation of original material, research papers, research in progress, and panels submitted to the convention may not have been submitted to or accepted by another convention or publication. Research submitted for the conference must be significantly different from previous work, meaning the submitted research would represent new archival research, interviews or content analysis that has not been presented before at a conference and represents a new departure from prior presented or published work. Research previously presented as a research-in-progress presentation at an AJHA convention or the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference, however, may be submitted as a research paper. Each author may submit at most one paper, one research in progress and one panel.

    Research papers

    Authors may submit only one research paper. They also may submit one research-in-progress abstract and one panel proposal on a significantly different topic from the paper. Research entries must be no longer than 25 pages of text, double-spaced, in 12-point type, not including notes. The Chicago Manual of Style is recommended but not required.

    Papers must be submitted electronically as Word attachments. Please send the following:

    • An email with the attached paper, saved with author identification only in the file name and not in the paper.
    • A separate 150-word abstract as a Word attachment (no PDFs) with no author identification.
    • Author’s info (email address, telephone number, institutional affiliation, and undergraduate student, graduate student, or faculty status) in the text of the email.

    Send papers to Authors will be notified in early August whether their papers have been accepted.

    Accepted papers are eligible for several awards, including the following:

    • David Sloan Award for the outstanding faculty research paper ($250 prize).
    • Robert Lance Award for outstanding student research paper ($100 prize).
    • Jean Palmegiano Award for outstanding international/transnational journalism history research paper ($150 prize)
    • J. William Snorgrass Award for outstanding minority-journalism research paper.
    • Maurine Beasley Award for outstanding women’s-history research paper.
    • Wally Eberhard Award for outstanding research in media and war ($50 prize).   

    Research Committee Chair Erin Coyle ( of Temple University is coordinating paper submissions. Authors will be notified in early August whether their papers have been accepted.


    Preference will be given to proposals that involve the audience and panelists in meaningful discussion or debate on original topics relevant to journalism history. Preference also will be given to panels that present diverse perspectives on their topics. Entries must be no longer than three pages of text, double-spaced, in 12-point type, with 1-inch margins. Panel participants must register for and attend the convention.

    Panel proposals must be submitted electronically as Word attachments. Please include the following:

    • Authors of accepted papers must register for the convention and attend to present their research.

    • A title and brief description of the topic.
    • The moderator and participants’ info (name, institutional affiliation, student or faculty status).
    • A brief summary of each participant’s presentation.

    Send proposals to

    No individual may be on more than one panel. Panel organizers must make sure panelists have not agreed to serve on multiple panels. Panel organizers also must secure commitment from panelists to participate before submitting the proposal. Moderators are discussion facilitators and may not serve as panelists. Failure to adhere to the guidelines will lead to rejection of the proposal.

    Panelists may submit a research paper and/or research-in-progress abstract.

    Rob Wells ( of University of Arkansas is coordinating the panel competition. Authors of panel proposals will be notified in early August whether their panels have been accepted. Panelists must register for the convention and attend.

    Research in progress

    Each author may submit only one research in progress. The research-in-progress category is for work that will NOT be completed before the conference. Research in progress must be significantly different than previously presented or published research. Participants will give an overview of their research purpose and progress, not a paper presentation, as the category’s purpose is to allow for discussion and feedback on work in progress. RIP authors may also submit a research paper on a significantly different topic.

    For research-in-progress submissions, send a blind abstract of your study. Include the proposal title in the abstract. The abstract should include a clear purpose statement as well as a brief description of your primary sources. Abstracts must be no longer than two pages of text, double-spaced, in 12-point type, with 1-inch margins, excluding notes.

    Primary sources should be described in detail in another double-spaced page.

    Entries that do not follow these guidelines will be rejected.

    The AJHA research-in-progress competition is administered electronically.

    • Proposals must be submitted as Word attachments, saved with author identification ONLY in the file names and NOT in the text of the proposal.
    • Each proposal must be submitted as an attachment, with author’s info (name, project title, telephone number, email address, institutional affiliation, and student or faculty status) in the text of the email.

    Send research-in-progress proposals to Authors will be notified in early August whether their proposals have been accepted. Authors of accepted proposals must register for the convention and attend.

    Authors whose work is accepted must register for and attend the convention.

    Keith Greenwood ( of University of Missouri is coordinating the research-in-progress competition.

  • 30 Jun 2020 6:36 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association seeks applications for its annual Joseph McKerns Research Grant Awards.

    The research grant is intended to provide research assistance and to recognize and reward the winners. Up to four grants for up to $1,250 each will be rewarded upon review and recommendation of the Research Grant Committee. Grants may be used for travel or other research-related expenses, but not for salary.

    Awardees must submit a brief article to the Intelligencer newsletter about their completed research by Sept. 1, 2021, discussing method, findings, complications and significance.


    • All current AJHA full members with a minimum of three years' membership at the time of application are eligible.
    • The research must be related to mass media history.
    • Awardees are expected to continue their membership through the grant period.
    • Members may apply for a McKerns Research Grant once every five years.

    Application requirements

    • Complete application form included with the Call For Proposals.
    • A 1- to 3-page prospectus/overview of the project, including a budget (which should include a listing of amount and sources of other support, if appropriate), timelines, and expected outlets for the research.
    • If appropriate, include Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from the applicant's university.
    • A shortened curriculum vita (no more than 3 pages).

    Grant applications must be submitted via email to Research Grant Committee Chair Erin Coyle. Materials may be submitted as PDF files or Word documents by July 1, 2020.

  • 28 May 2020 8:48 AM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    By Kimberly Voss, Ph.D.

    Professor, University of Central Florida

    Journalism Halls of Fame often mirror the histories of journalism where the stories of white male trailblazers are widely lauded and institutionalized. Left in the margins or footnotes are women and people of color. When the portraits and busts that populate these shrines are primarily male, the echo chamber grows and these groups are forgotten or ignored by history.

    Nominating important but overlooked journalists to these halls of fame is a way of engaging in public history.

    Public history is largely defined as using historical methods outside of the academic world. Typically, it is the audience that differentiates the public historian’s work from more traditional historical fields. (This, of course, does not mean that researchers won’t use the information. One of the fashion editors I study, Madeleine Corey, has only been referenced in the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame.)

    Two examples of women I’ve successfully nominated to state journalism halls of fame are Marjorie Paxson and Roberta Applegate, though the process is not easy. Both took repeated nominations before gaining entrance.

    Marjorie Paxson

    Paxson was a groundbreaking journalist who covered hard news for a wire service during World War II (an unheard of opportunity prior to the war) before being forced back into the women’s pages during peacetime – where she helped change the definition of women’s news. By the time she retired from journalism more than 50 years later, she had been one of the first female U.S. newspaper publishers and established the National Women and Media Collection (NWMC). She also was editor of Xilonen, the eight-page daily newspaper published for the United Nations World Conference for International Women’s Year held in Mexico City in 1975, played a significant part of the 1976 governmental report To Form a More Perfect Union and in 1963 was elected president of Theta Sigma Phi (now known as the Association for Women in Communications).

    She was the fourth female publisher in Gannett — first at the Public Opinion in Pennsylvania (1978-1980) and then the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma (1980-1986). In Muskogee, she used her power to change her newspaper’s editorial stance that had been previously opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment and changed newsroom policy to allow women to wear pants — something that had been prohibited. She made a difference for female employees and women in her community.

    Despite all the accomplishments throughout her journalism career, she was not a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, which I sought to correct. It took five years to get her inducted. (She would have been officially inducted posthumously in a March event but the virus postponed it. She will be officially honored in the fall.)

    Roberta Applegate

    Several years ago, I nominated women’s page editor (and later Kansas State University journalism professor) Roberta Applegate into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. Her father, Albert A. Applegate, was a longtime journalism professor at Michigan State University, and had been inducted into the Hall of Fame years earlier. It took two nomination attempts to get Roberta inducted, but when she was, it marked the first father-daughter combination in the hall. Along with her brother, I had the honor to speak at her induction ceremony.

    After earning a master’s degree in journalism, Applegate covered the Michigan statehouse during World War II and went on to become one of the first women to be a press secretary to a governor. She then wrote for the top women’s pages in the country – at the Miami Herald. Ultimately, she became a journalism professor at Kansas State University where she subscribed to the leading women’s pages to help her students improve the sections.

    Her inclusion in the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame means that Roberta Applegate is an official part of journalism history. She needed two nominations before earning her recognition. Part of the process was to submit numerous letters of recommendation – which is no easy feat considering that she died when I was in middle school. Luckily, she saved everything and the NWMC included her reference letters from the World War II era.

    Marie Anderson

    Fingers are crossed that legendary Miami Herald women’s page editor Marie Anderson gets inducted into the Florida Journalism Hall of Fame. Anderson’s section won so many Penney-Missouri Awards — the top recognition for the sections — that she was retired from the competition. She was a groundbreaking editor and became a regular speaker for newspapers across the country who wanted to improve women’s page news. 

    I recently turned in the nomination paperwork for Anderson. Several more nominees will be sent in soon. It’s a way of making marginalized women visible. If you know of a woman or person of color who is a part of local journalism lore but has been left out of the historical record, consider engaging in an act of public history and nominate him or her to their state or regional journalism hall of fame. But be prepared to do it more than once — but it will be worth it for its contribution to public history.

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