In a year in which the term “fake news” has become part of the vernacular, an article exploring late 19th and early 20th Century America’s obsession with “news fakes” proved the best of a strong field of articles in American Journalism.
Justin Clark, an assistant professor of History at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, was named the winner of American Journalism’s annual Best Article Award for “Confronting the ‘Seeker of Newspaper Notoriety’: Pathological Lying, the Public and the Press, 1890-1920.”
“As I am so regularly impressed by the scholarship in American Journalism, I was happy that the article was accepted for publication—and thrilled when I learned it had won the journal's annual Best Article prize,” Clark said. “The article was accepted in the spring, and by autumn, fake news had become a national preoccupation. I can’t say that I saw that coming. Still, it's a reminder that, however much it has evolved since the late 19th century, professional journalism is as susceptible to crisis as any other modern institution. I am grateful for the recognition.”
Clark will receive a plaque and a $250 prize from American Journalism, a peer-reviewed quarterly and the official publication of the American Journalism Historians Association. "Justin's article was not only original and rigorous, but the editorial board believed it made a real contribution to the scholarship of media history," Ford Risley, editor of American Journalism, said. "I agree wholeheartedly."