Member Spotlight: Gerry Lanosga

18 Sep 2023 7:58 AM | Autumn Lorimer Linford (Administrator)

How did you become involved in AJHA?

My first AJHA conference was in New Orleans 2013. That was a year after I started working at IU and became colleagues with my former professor Mike Conway, who encouraged me to submit a paper. The only conference I’ve missed since then was Oklahoma City in 2015. Among the many things I love about the conferences are the civilized (read: not too early) breakfasts and the fact that the sessions are usually done by around 5. 

Your do both historical work and social science research. How do you reconcile those?

The most important thing I learned in graduate school is to pick the research method that helps you answer your questions. In my long career as a reporter, I became increasingly interested in the workings of journalism as a practice and an institution, and my questions didn’t stop with current affairs. I’m interested in journalism’s role in contemporary democratic society, for instance, but I also wanted to know why that relationship developed the way it did. So I’ve spent my academic career so far straddling the fence between history and social science, and I think that has helped me have a more holistic view of journalism in society than I otherwise would.

What research would you be doing if you weren’t studying journalism?

Although I’ve been in Indiana since 1988 and thus must acknowledge I’ve become a Hoosier, I still think of myself as a Westerner because I was born and raised in Colorado and did most of my undergraduate work in California. Consequently I have always been fascinated by the history of the western U.S. and would like to indulge that interest at some point – maybe bringing the streams together. And maybe I could even work a little cryptozoology into the mix (see below).

What hobbies/interests do you have outside academia?

My happy times growing up involved big mountains, and so I try to get out of the flatlands at least once a year to hike them. So far I’ve summited eight of the 54 peaks in Colorado that are higher than 14,000 feet. Somewhat related to that, I have a weird side interest in the myth and lore of Bigfoot, having spent many nights camping and terrified of what was out there in the deep, dark woods.

Gerry Lanosga is the Director of Journalism and Associate Professor at the Media School at Indiana University Bloomington. 

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