AJHA member news

21 Jul 2018 3:44 PM | Dane Claussen

Jon Bekken has been promoted to full professor of communications at Albright College. His entry on “Unions of Newsworkers” is forthcoming in the International Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies. An article on “Incorporating Class into the Journalism and Mass Communication Curriculum” appears in the new issue of Teaching Journalism & Mass Communication (Vol. 8, no. 1). Also, his “Toward a Democratic Journalism” will appear in the next The American Historian as part of a special section on journalism and democracy.

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Sidney Kobre Award winner Hazel Dicken-Garcia died May 30, 2018. Bill Huntzicker has written a tribute to her on page 29 at: http://history-jmc.com/Home_files/Historiography%20vol.%204-4%202018.pdf. An obituary in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune by Kelly Smith, headlined, “Hazel Dicken-Garcia Journalism professor: At the U, she set standard for study of media history, ethics,” reads:

“Hazel Dicken-Garcia’s impact in life is measured in the hundreds of former students who now fill newsrooms and university lecture halls nationwide.

“Hailed as a trailblazer, she helped shape the study of journalism history and ethics and was an author, including of a well-known book on journalistic standards. But it was her work as a University of Minnesota professor for 30 years that she may be remembered for most.

“‘She was a towering figure in journalism history,’ said Kathy Roberts Forde , a former U colleague who is now an associate journalism professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. ‘In her generation, she was one of the top journalism historians. Her legacy lives on not only in her work, but in her students.’

“Dicken-Garcia died May 30. She was 79.

“Born in a log house in rural Kentucky in 1939, she grew up in poverty, the second-oldest of five children. She quickly found an escape through education, voraciously reading every book in her one-room school by the eighth grade.

“‘She’d have a dish rag in one hand and a book in the other,’ said her sister, Letha Amonett of Albany, Ky. ‘She wanted to do better. She wanted to become somebody.’

“Her high school classmates saw that, too, voting Dicken-Garcia the most likely to succeed. And she did, graduating from Berea College by working her way through school. She then spent five years working for the American Friends Service Committee in India and in the U.S. before landing a job as a part-time reporter in Ann Arbor, Mich. But she was drawn back to the classroom.

“‘She loved school all of her life,’ Amonett said.

“After getting a master’s degree and a doctorate, Dicken-Garcia taught in Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Michigan and Massachusetts. By 1979, she landed a job at the U’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications teaching mass media history, law, theory and ethics courses.

“She also wrote and co-wrote several books including “Journalistic Standards in Nineteenth-Century America,” which won the Frank Luther Mott Kappa Tau Alpha research award in 1989. And in 2006, she was given the American Journalism Historians Association’s Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“‘She was widely known,” said Bill Huntzicker, a friend and former colleague. ‘She cared a lot about her students.’

“In fact, even after retiring in 2008, Dicken-Garcia continued to supervise graduate students on their dissertations. She was also a mentor to colleagues like Forde.

“‘She just gave so much to so many,’ she said.

“Outside school, Dicken-Garcia loved being part of book clubs, gardening and walking Como Lake — her rural Kentucky childhood cementing a love of the outdoors. Joe Scovronski, a friend and neighbor, would join her on many of those walks, Dicken-Garcia quietly listening to him share life stories before weighing in with her wise advice. It was that generosity, he said, that he will never forget.

“Neither will her former students, who, one by one, traveled from across the U.S. to Dicken-Garcia’s St. Paul home or sent her notes when she was diagnosed with liver cancer in February after being treated for Crohn’s disease for many years.

“‘This is not a time for sadness …,’ she wrote, adding that she is ‘grateful for the life she feels fortunate to have lived ... and of the many, many ennobling people who, by example, teach us all simply and elegantly while contributing indelibly to the world, making it a better place.’

“Along with her sister, she is survived by her brothers Clifton , Clayton and Lee Dicken, all of Albany, Ky. A memorial will be held at 2 p.m. June 22 at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul.”

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One of Julie Hedgepeth Williams’ AJHA papers has grown up to become a book. Three Not-So-Ordinary Joes (NewSouth Books, 2018) started as a paper presented many years ago in 2002.  Julie writes, “Now, much expanded, it's a book about the three journalists named Joe who stuttered and staggered their way to starting Southern literature. The first and third Joes are familiar to many of us. The first was Joseph Addison, the famous British journalist and publisher of The Spectator in the early 1700s. The second one you probably haven't heard of, although he was named for the first one. He was Joseph Addison Turner, a Civil War-era editor and plantation owner whose great goal in life was to start Southern literature. The man was persistent. He tried magazines, how-to books, short stories, histories, plays, poems, all in an effort to inaugurate Southern literature, as he often stated in his publications. He failed, failed, failed until at last during the Civil War, it occurred to him he could put up an outbuilding on his plantation, buy a press, hire a printer, and publish a newspaper, which he named The Countryman, and which he hoped would launch Southern literature. He had figured out his trouble with his prior efforts, and it was all in his name: He announced his newspaper would copy Addison's Spectator in size, look, and language. Turner even published Addison's rules for writing in The Countryman. As far as is known, this was the only newspaper ever published on a plantation. And at last Turner had his hit! The Countryman was one of the most widely read newspapers in the Confederacy. But the war didn't go the way Turner had anticipated. The South lost. Turner's plantation collapsed. He died a few years later, thinking he had failed in his lifelong quest to start Southern literature. But in 1862, Turner had hired the third Joe, a teenager named Joel Chandler Harris, as The Countryman's printer's devil. Turner not only taught fatherless, poverty-stricken Harris to do newspaper work, but he turned him loose in the vast Turner library and taught the boy to write. By the time the war was over, the boy had direction and a career. He worked all over Georgia in newspapers until he at last landed at the Atlanta Constitution. There he was ordered to take over the popular "Negro column," which was written in the dialect of the former slaves and was meant to be humorous, but also in the spirit of the New South, it was a meant to bring the concerns of the former slaves into view for white readers. Faced with what he considered a difficult assignment, Harris went back in his memory to his time on Turner's plantation, when he and the Turner children would go to the slave cabins at night and beg the slaves to tell them stories. Harris perceived these stories as metaphors for how the slaves used their wits to get what they wanted out of their masters every time -- and that's how he wrote them. These "Uncle Remus" stories, as he called them (the prime storytelling character being Uncle Remus) were a huge hit, so much so that a New York editor turned them into a book. The book was a worldwide sensation, influencing writers such as Mark Twain, Beatrix Potter, and Rudyard Kipling. Most importantly, the Uncle Remus books shifted attention of American belles-lettres from New England writers and New England stories to the South and Southern stories. Thus Joel Chandler Harris became the first widely acclaimed Southern writer, and the Uncle Remus stories, the first wildly popular Southern literature. So I argue that Joseph Addison Turner -- in modeling Addison and teaching Harris to write the Addisonian style and exposing him to the slave stories -- really was the father of Southern literature after all, as he had so earnestly wished to be. He just didn't live long enough to see it.”

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Christina Littlefield, Pepperdine University, has been promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure. She reports that thanks to the Rising Scholars grant, her work continues on a project looking at the muckraking of social gospel leaders in England and the United States. 

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Linda J. Lumsden in May 2018 was promoted to full professor at the School of Journalism, University of Arizona.

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Jennifer Moore, University of Minnesota at Duluth, was selected to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Scholars program "Visual Culture of the American Civil War and Its Aftermath." This is a two-week summer institute (July 9-20, 2018) in New York City. Part of the description from the web site: "The institute will focus on the era’s array of visual media—including the fine arts, ephemera, photography, cartoons, maps, and monuments—to examine how information and opinion about the war and its impact were recorded and disseminated, and the ways visual media expressed and shaped Americans’ views on both sides of and before and after the conflict. Participants will hear lectures by noted historians, art historians, and archivists and attend hands-on sessions in major museums and archives."

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Lori Amber Roessner, University of Tennessee, and Brian Creech’s, Temple University, “Declaring the Value of Truth: Progress-era Lessons for Combatting Fake New,” recently was published in Journalism Practice. Roessner and Jodi Rightler-McDaniel’s, South College, have published an edited volume, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Political Pioneer of the Press: Her Voice, Her Pen, and Her Transnational Crusade for Social Justice, in Lexington Books’ “Women in American Political History” series in July. The volume features the work of notable AEJMC history division members such as Norma Fay Green (Columbia College), Joe Hayden (Memphis) Jinx Broussard (LSU), Chandra Clark (Florida A&M), and Kathy Roberts Forde (UMass-Amherst). Special thanks to series editors Pam Parry (Southeast Missouri State) and Dave Davies (University of Southern Mississippi).

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The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama in June approved the “David Sloan Journalism Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship.” The university president wrote, “Because of David Sloan, our deserving students have been provided opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible.” The scholarship will be offered for the first time for the 2018-19 academic year. Dianne Bragg and Rick Bragg initiated the effort to establish the scholarship as well as the fund-raising efforts to support it. Sloan taught at Alabama for 28 years before retiring in 2011.

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Dane S. Claussen, editor of the Intelligencer, effective July 16, resigned his position as James Pedas Professor of Media, Communication and Public Relations (full professor rank) and Executive Director of the James Pedas Communication Center, at Thiel College, where he had been since July 2015. He may or may not stay full-time in higher education, so stay tuned. In any case, Claussen continues as an irregular Visiting Professor of International Journalism at Shanghai International Studies University and Editor of the Newspaper Research Journal.

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