President's Message: Join us in Columbus!

17 Apr 2023 9:15 AM | Autumn Lorimer Linford (Administrator)

By Mike Conway

I had the privilege earlier this year to help judge the applications for the American Journalism/Journalism History microgrant competition.  The six winners of the microgrants definitely are pursuing important media history projects. But what struck me was just how interesting all of the projects were.  I wish we had money to help all these scholars get their ideas off the ground.

That got me thinking about how many of us have media history projects buried in files somewhere on our computer, or maybe even in old-school manila folders, just waiting for the time, money, and/or energy to get them started or move them along.

Could I suggest June 1, 2023 as a possible deadline for you to bring one of your projects across the finish line? That is the research deadline for the AJHA Annual Conference, which will be held in Columbus, Ohio September 28-30, 2023. You can start to pull together your notes over the next few weeks and when your semester is over and grades are posted, you can dig in.

J. JesseeScioto Mile aerial from north, CC BY-SA 2.0

Maybe you have a media history research project that was unfairly maligned by Reviewer 2 for another conference. Track down those painful reviews and see if any of the changes would make it a stronger project. I’m not too proud to admit that over the years, I’ve used the late spring AJHA deadline to give papers rejected from other conferences another chance.

If you don’t think you can get a full paper completed, you could also consider entering our Research in Progress (RIP) section.  Another idea is to come up with an important topic in media history research, find some experts in that area, and submit a panel proposal. 

It’s no secret that research paper submissions have been down across the academy for the past few years because of pandemic fatigue and heavy non-research workloads. On the bright side, after two years of virtual conferences, attendance at last year’s AJHA conference in Memphis was right at the same level as our pre-pandemic conferences. So we definitely all want to be back together and celebrate strong media history scholarship.  Let’s make this be the year that you get your research back on the conference agenda.

If you know other scholars that work in media history, please let them know about our conference. We always want to remind historians that even though we have American in our title, we encourage research from around the world, and even though we have Journalism in our name, we welcome historical scholarship from a wide range of media sources. 

If you need a few more enticements for putting the June 1 deadline on your calendar, I can tell you that Caryl Cooper, LoWanda James and local hosts Felecia Ross and Aimee Edmondson are hard at work on creating a memorable experience while we’re in Columbus. They will be telling us more in the next few months, but they have great ideas for our historic tour, Gala dinner, and honoring local journalists. It’s been decades since I visited the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus occasionally when I was a reporter over in Dayton, so I’m excited to see the city again.

Take a few moments and see if you’ve got an idea or a set of documents that would make an interesting research project for our conference. We’d love to see you in Columbus.

Mike Conway is currently serving as President of AJHA. He is also Director of the Indiana Broadcast History Archive (IBHA) and a Professor of Journalism at 
Indiana University Media School. 

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