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.

  • 26 Sep 2019 7:45 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association has announced Dr. Debra VanTuyll, professor in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department of Communication at Augusta University, as the recipient of the 2019 Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History.

    The Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History is the AJHA's highest honor. The late Dr. Sidney Kobre was a renowned media historian who served as a professor at Florida State from the 1940s through the 1970s and penned 16 books in his career.

    VanTuyll has been an important contributor to AJHA, having served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2005-08 and 2016-present, the Convention and Sites Committee from 2005-08, and a judge for AJHA’s Book Award competition from 2003-04. She has worked as editor or member of the editorial board for publications that include the Southeastern Review of Journalism History, Journalism History, and Historiography in Mass Communication; and as program chair, vice-head, secretary, and newsletter editor for AEJMC’s History Division.

    VanTuyll, who has presented research papers at 13 AJHA National Conventions, began her association with AJHA through the Southeast Symposium, a conference for graduate and undergraduates to present their original research to an audience of peers and faculty.

    “I'll never forget it because there was a gathering Friday night,” VanTuyll said, “and as I looked around the room, I saw a woman who looked familiar but who I couldn't place. I think she was looking at me, too, and we finally figured out that she and I had been reporters together at the Decatur (Ala.) Daily and very good friends there — but that had been nearly 16 years previously, and we'd lost touch.

    “That was Susan Thompson, who was then a Ph.D. student at Alabama studying with David Sloan. She introduced me to him that night, and we realized that I had just missed studying with him by about two years — I'd done my master's work at Alabama and studied history with Dr. Charles Arendale, but Dr. Arendale left Alabama and went to UT-Arlington the same year I finished my master's.”

    VanTuyll, who now serves as an organizer for the Southeast Symposium, attended her first AJHA National Convention in 2002 and has remained a fixture on the national scene ever since. In her distinguished career, VanTuyll has made major contributions to the field of media history, particularly the area of transnational journalism.

    “Well, as you can imagine, the Southeastern Symposium was my first touch-point, and that was back when David Sloan, Wally Eberhardt, and Leonard Teel were almost always there,” VanTuyll recalls. “They were all amazing mentors — in different ways, but important ways. But they all encouraged me to get involved at the national level.

    “I really didn't think at that time my work had a chance of getting accepted. When I'd gone back to do my Ph.D., I'd been teaching for a decade, and the thing that really scared me was having to do research. I didn't know whether I could or not. I'd watched my husband do his dissertation and then continue his research agenda as a young assistant and then associate professor. I just didn't know if I could dig in like I saw him doing. Well, actually, I didn't know if I could even come up with ideas for research projects. Luckily, that proved easier than I thought it would be. In fact, I have a whole file of ideas, many of which I suspect I'll never get to. Too many other opportunities come up in the course of making other plans -- to sort of bastardize John Lennon's famous saying.”

    VanTuyll will be formally recognized during the 38th Annual AJHA Convention, which will take place Oct. 3-5 in Dallas.

    “I'm beyond honored to be included in such a distinguished list of people who have done so much to further our field,” VanTuyll said. “I mean, I came up in awe of Peggy Blanchard, who directed my master's-level media law professor's dissertation; Barbara Cloud, who was editor of American Journalism when I first got active; David Nord, whose work on communities of journalism gave me the frame to make sense of the role of the Confederate press during the Civil War — these, and the other people on the list are, in large measure, the people I was reading when I was a master's student, or later, a Ph.D. student.

    “They were the ones, like Dr. Sloan, David Abrahamson, Ed Emery, Maurine Beasley — I could include the entire list of previous winners -- who were held out as scholarly role models. More recently, as I've moved into the realm of transnational journalism history, Eugenia Palmegiano's work has been inspirational and a guide. I really can't believe my name is going on that list, too.”

    Dr. Thomas A. Mascaro, a professor Bowling Green State University and chair of the AJHA Awards Committee, said VanTuyll’s selection came on the heels of numerous strong recommendations.

    “The range of voices celebrating and honoring the lifetime of service by Dr. VanTuyll was truly astonishing,” Mascaro said. “She was praised by very senior faculty and members of the AJHA as well as rising scholars. In addition to her long list of service accomplishments to the field of journalism history, Debbie has amassed an impressive record of research publications, including as author or editor of six books, 15 additional book chapters, 16 peer-reviewed journal articles, 39 refereed conference papers, and numerous invited publications.

    “Dr. VanTuyll exemplifies a lifetime of service to our field and is a fitting member of those we have honored with the prestigious Sidney Kobre Award.”

  • 26 Sep 2019 7:40 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association has announced Dr. Thomas Aiello of Valdosta State as the winner of the 2019 Book Award.

    Aiello’s honor comes after his work on the 2018 release “The Grapevine of the Black South: The Scott Newspaper Syndicate in the Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement.”

    “This project simply wouldn't exist without the corpus of literature produced by members of the AJHA, and to win this award and be part of the legacy of such an amazing organization is truly an honor,” Aiello said.

    “The Grapevine of the Black South” is Aiello’s study of the preeminent black press of the Southern states.

    “Most of the literature on the black press emphasizes northern and western newspapers, largely because they were saved and thus reviewable,” Aiello said. “But the vast majority of the black population in the first half of the twentieth century was in the South. The problem with understanding those papers, particularly in any systematic way, is access.

    “The Scott Newspaper Syndicate was the core of most newspaper activity in the South, so through an understanding of its activity, we can better understand an often forgotten and often misunderstood part of the information network that helped create the ideology of the southern civil rights movement that everyone venerates.”

    Aiello’s goals for the book, however, go beyond just understanding a key Southern press.

    “I hope the book gives readers a real understanding not only of the Scott Syndicate and the black press in the South, but also of how important networks of information are to meaning-making and ideology in any given community,” Aiello said. “I think as historians we often get tangled in the assumption that newspapers are primarily a source of information for historical subjects rather than absolutely vital historical subjects themselves. Information networks create power and culture in a variety of ways, and understanding those networks in the South gives us a new understanding of the civil rights mindset and its trajectory on the ground.”

    Aiello will be formally recognized as part of a Book Award panel presentation at the 38th Annual AJHA National Convention, which will take place Oct. 3-5 in Dallas.

    Joining Aiello will be three other scholars who books received honorable mention: Dr. Matthew Pressman of Seton Hall, author of “On Press: The Liberal Values That Shaped the News”; Dr. Ronald D. Rodgers of the University of Florida, author of “The Struggle for the Soul of Journalism: The Pulpit versus the Press, 1833- 1923”; and Dr. Michael Stamm of Michigan State, author of “Dead Tree Media: Manufacturing the Newspaper in Twentieth-Century North America.”

  • 26 Sep 2019 7:35 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    David James Vergobbi of the University of Utah is the winner of the 2019 Award for Excellence in Teaching, the education committee of the American Journalism Historians Association announced.

    The Award for Excellence in Teaching is given annually to the college or university teacher who excels at teaching in areas of journalism and mass communication history.

    Vergobbi has been on faculty at the University of Utah since 1992, having previously completed his Ph.D. at the University of Washington.

    “Receiving this award from AJHA is a capstone point in my career,” Vergobbi said. “Getting the award never occurred to me. This unexpected pleasure is due to the efforts of Erika Pribanic-Smith of UT-Arlington, who did the work of nomination, and my Utah colleagues Kim Mangun and Glen Feighery, who supported the nomination process.

    “It is their belief in me that made this possible and I'm deeply grateful to them. Fittingly, they remind us that belief-in-others is the essence of effective teaching. Recipients of such belief push beyond their imagined limits. Thank you for this continuing lesson, Erika, Kim and Glen. And thank you very much AJHA. I admit emotion overcame me when Education Chair Kaylene Armstrong told me the good news.”

    AJHA’s education committee members noted Vergobbi’s sustained excellence in all areas of teaching as well as a commitment to involvement and interaction as cornerstones of the courses he’s taught.

    “After teaching for years, I came across a proverb scribbled on the wall of my daughter's pre-school room that captured, and continues to guide, my pedagogy: 'Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I might remember. Involve me, I'll understand,'" Vergobbi said. "Involvement, interaction, passionate expertise, high expectations, authenticity and fun can even overcome digital temptations. And if that doesn't work, sing.”

    Vergobbi will be officially recognized during the 38th Annual AJHA Convention, which is scheduled for Oct. 3-5 in Dallas. 

  • 26 Sep 2019 7:27 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The AJHA Awards Committee has announced that James P. Danky has won the rare honor of the organization’s Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award.

    “While it’s always positive to have one’s work recognized, to receive this honor from peers is very special,” Danky said.

    This award is reserved for those generally outside the field of academe who have made major contributions to the preservation of journalism history.

    “The AJHA has given our Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award on only four occasions,” said Dr. Thomas A. Mascaro, a professor at Bowling Green State and chair of the AJHA Awards committee. “Thus, it is obvious that any successful nominee must be someone who truly ‘has made an extraordinary effort to further significantly our understanding of, our ability to explore, media history.’ I believe Jim Danky is such an individual.”

    Danky, currently a faculty associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was responsible for the preservation of a massive newspaper collection, which he tended during a 40-year career at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, second in size only to the series at the Library of Congress.

    One nominator noted Danky, “radically increase[ed] the scope of the Society’s serial holdings in many new fields . . . [and] added more than 75,000 new titles during his tenure and in doing so helped to define many new areas for inquiry by historians.” Danky was particularly effective at preserving “alternative” publications, meaning that scholars now and into the future will have access to African American, Native American, Alaska natives, Hawaiian natives, Latin American, and Haitian American newspapers, among others.

    “James Danky, through sheer dedication and resolve, expanded newspaper collections for the University of Wisconsin-Madison for overlooked subjects, and helped organize conferences and colloquia to expand intellectual discourse on these topics of journalism history,” Mascaro said. “His long list of impressive professional services to the field of media history is truly outstanding.”

  • 26 Sep 2019 7:22 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    By Ross F. Collins, AJHA president 2018-19

    One of my goals as this year’s AJHA president has been to strengthen our connections with journalism history groups internationally. While it appears AJHA is the world’s oldest organization focused on the discipline of media history, newer groups in France and Britain have certainly demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm and scholarship. Previous columns have considered France. This column considers Britain. But this time I had an opportunity to do more than correspond by email. As I was going to England to present at another conference, I arranged to meet with the directors of the Centre for the Study of Journalism and History, housed at the University of Sheffield.

    The center is barely a decade old—launched in 2009—but scholars there have already  established an impressive body of research. Most recently co-directors Adrian Bingham and Martin Conboy published a history of the British popular press, Tabloid Century (Peter Lang, 2015). I had the opportunity to chat with them over coffee on a sunny afternoon outside the university cafeteria.

    Considering journalism history as part of the larger discipline of history, Adrian emphasized a need to rethink the scholarship to a more general level. “Historians of journalism need to be more ambitious in engaging with the big questions of the discipline, political, social, and cultural” he said, and they need to be less defensive about the field. “I consider myself to be a social and cultural historian of modern Britain, first and foremost.”

    Martin agreed, noting journalism historian conferences should become more inclusive, reaching out to allied disciplines. “Try to incorporate journalism history into the larger area of history by considering it as social and cultural history.”

    In his article “The Paradoxes of Journalism History,” (Australian Journalism Review 32), Martin wrote that journalism history needs to establish common research approaches. “In order to best create methodological links between journalism history and other areas of interest,” he wrote, “we need the sort of textual analysis which book history has developed and which, within journalism history, might well be served by some sort of historically grounded discourse analysis.”

    The co-directors warn against journalism historians falling too strongly toward the traditional focus on biography of famous journalists and newspapers. Not that this work has no value, Adrian noted, but “if they are to avoid being pigeonholed as players in a relatively minor field, then journalism historians, I think, need to be more ambitious.” Conboy in his article acknowledged that American scholars such as David Paul Nord and James Carey also have addressed this, but added that scholars in other disciplines could benefit from greater understanding in how journalism historians analyze texts. “Journalism history,” he said, “ is a reference for social and cultural change in society.”

    Adrian said as well that today’s journalism historians can be more ambitious in exploiting sources in new and more sophisticated ways, based on material now available online. The center offers an online archives for journalism historians accessible at the university, and encourages international scholars to research and study there in the discipline. “We currently have a student here interested in Chinese journalism history,” Adrian noted. The center actively seeks postgraduate students, and schedules conferences “from time to time,” most recently 2017. When they launch the next one, Adrian added, we in AJHA will hear about it. Check out the center at

  • 23 Aug 2019 11:30 AM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    By Nick Hirshon, William Paterson
    AJHA Nominations & Elections Chair

    It’s almost that time of year again: fall leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and the AJHA conference! With our hearty crew of media historians about to take on Dallas in a few weeks, our members have nominated three scholars for the office of second vice-president and four to occupy three open seats on the board of directors. Additional nominations can be made from the floor during the election that will take place at the annual member business meeting on Saturday, Oct. 5. After elections are held, current Second Vice-President Aimee Edmondson (Ohio University) will become first vice-president for 2019-2020, and First Vice-President Donna Lampkin Stephens (University of Central Arkansas) will become president.

    Proxy Voting

    Dues-paying AJHA members unable to attend the conference are eligible to vote by proxy. They should send their name, email address and the name of the person who will cast their proxy vote at the conference to AJHA Nominations and Elections Committee Chair Nick Hirshon ( no later than midnight Friday, September 20, 2019. PLEASE CONFIRM IN ADVANCE that the proxy voter will be at the business meeting on Oct. 5 and is willing to cast the proxy vote.


    Second Vice-President

    Mike Conway (Indiana University) is an associate professor of journalism. Before becoming a professor, he spent more than 15 years in local television news, working as a reporter, photographer, anchor, producer, and news director. Conway studies twentieth-century journalism history, especially the rise of radio and television news. His latest book is Contested Ground: “The Tunnel” and the Struggle Over Television News in Cold War America. Conway is a lifetime member of AJHA, first joining in 2003. He has been on the American Journalism Editorial Advisory board for ten years and served as chair of the Awards Committee for nine years. He was also elected to the Board of Directors and has served on the Convention Sites Committee and the Blanchard Dissertation Award Committee. He reviews papers every year and books most years. He has won the American Journalism “Best Article Award” twice.

    Paulette Kilmer (University of Toledo) is a professor of communication. She began her association with AJHA as a graduate student in the late 1980s. Since that time, she has worked in some of AJHA's most important committees, including the education committee and publications committee. As longtime publications chair, she provided feedback from the Publications Committee to assist in the transition from print newsletter to digital format and worked with AJHA leadership to forge a relationship with publisher Taylor & Francis to move American Journalism into its scholarly journal listings. She won a president's award for her work as coordinator of the Donna Allen Luncheon series and a second award for coordinating the successful search for editors of both the newsletter and journal one summer. Kilmer also served a term on the board of directors and has published books and articles in journalism history.

    Pam Parry (Southeast Missouri State University) is chairperson of the Department of Mass Media at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. She is a lifetime member of American Journalism Historians Association, having served on the AJHA board of directors and the public relations committee. She also has served as chair of the education committee. In addition to her administrative duties at Southeast Missouri State, she teaches media history and communication law. She is the author of Eisenhower: The Public Relations President as well as two trade books. Parry is a co-editor of the Women in American Political History Book series by Lexington Books, which has produced five books to date--most of them authored by members of the American Journalism Historians Association. She is writing another book that should be released in 2020.

    Board of Directors

    Teri Finneman (University of Kansas) is an assistant professor of journalism. She has been a member of AJHA since 2015 and is a past Oral History Committee Chair. Chair of the AEJMC History Division for 2019-2020, she executive produces the podcast Journalism History. Her research focuses on a mix of history, gender, media and politics, with an emphasis on press portrayals of women politicians and first ladies, oral history and women in journalism. Finneman is the author of Press Portrayals of Women Politicians, 1870s-2000s, which was named a 2016 finalist for the Frank Luther Mott -Kappa Tau Alpha book award for best research-based book about journalism or mass communication. Her documentary, “Newspaper Pioneers: The Story of the North Dakota Press,” premiered in 2017. She is a recipient of the American Journalism Historians Association's Wm. David Sloan and Maurine Beasley awards, as well as the AEJMC History Division's Michael S. Sweeney Award, for her research on the press and the suffrage movement.

    Michael Fuhlhage (Wayne State University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. His research interests include the development of stereotypes about Mexicans in U.S. mass media, the mid-nineteenth-century press, and the history of the book in American culture. He has served as chair of the AJHA Research Committee, member of the AJHA Board of Directors, juror in the AJHA Margaret Blanchard Dissertation Awards competition, juror in the AJHA McKerns Research Grant competition, coordinator of the AJHA panels competition, member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame board of directors, and as faculty adviser for the Auburn University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has reviewed manuscripts for AJHA, American Journalism, and the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference. Fuhlhage is the author of Yankee Reporters and Southern Secrets: Journalism, Open Source Intelligence, and the Coming of the Civil War (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2019).

    Gwyneth Mellinger (James Madison University) is director of the School of Media Arts & Design. Her research, which has been supported by the collegial fellowship of AJHA, focuses on the southern press of the 1950s, the newsroom diversity movement, and journalism ethics. Mellinger has been a member of AJHA for 15 years. She has reviewed for the AJHA conference, book award, research in progress, and McKerns Research Grant, which she has received twice. She previously served on the AJHA board from 2009 to 2012 and chaired the AJHA Outreach Committee from 2008 to 2010. She is a member of the American Journalism advisory board and a contributing editor for Journalism History. Recent winner of the Farrar Award for research on the historical relationship between the media and civil rights, Mellinger is the author of Chasing Newsroom Diversity: From Jim Crow to Affirmative Action (Illinois, 2013) and co-editor, with John Ferré, of the forthcoming Journalism’s Ethical Progression: A Twentieth-Century Journey.

    Melony Shemberger (Murray State University) is an associate professor of journalism and mass communication and recent winner of the AEJMC History Division's teaching award. Editor of the Intelligencer newsletter, Shemberger has published in several peer-reviewed publications, including Journalism History, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, and the Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication Journal. She also has authored several book chapters and professional articles in guidebooks published by the PR News Press. Her primary research interests include various journalism history topics, with education news dominating her current agenda; the scholarship of teaching and learning, with a focus on andragogy and instructional design; sunshine laws; and crisis communication. Before entering academia, Shemberger had successful, award-winning reporting careers — specializing in the education, court and business beats — and received numerous awards from the Kentucky Press Association.

  • 17 Jul 2019 10:48 AM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    The AJHA Board of Directors is proposing two amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws related to the planning of the organization’s annual national and regional conferences. The first formalizes the ad-hoc committee charged with planning the student-focused Southeast Symposium, while the second outlines the duties of the Local Hosts who assist with the national conference. [To review the current Constitution and Bylaws, see the Members Only page (login required).]

    One or two representatives have been responsible in the past for planning the Southeast Symposium, held each winter in Florida. At the 2017 Board of Directors meeting, Symposium representative Dianne Bragg outlined a plan for expanding the symposium to draw more participants. Part of the plan was to make a committee consisting of faculty members who regularly attend the symposium. The board voted to create an ad-hoc committee, chaired by Bragg and Debra van Tuyll, and submit a constitutional amendment making it a permanent committee.

    Therefore, the board proposes adding the following to Section 4.06 of the constitution, which lists all AJHA committees and their charges. The formatting of this new entry would be consistent with other committees listed in the section.

    (n) Southeast Symposium. This committee will plan the annual Southeast Symposium, including setting dates, securing a location, and crafting the program.

    At the 2018 Board of Directors meeting, then Long Range Planning Chair David Vergobbi reported on the work the Long Range Planning committee had undertaken for the previous two years to formally outline the duties of the local hosts for the national convention and make those duties publicly available so that future hosts will have access to them well in advance of beginning their planning. The board approved the Long Range Planning Committee’s request to propose an addendum to the Constitution and Bylaws listing the local host duties.

    The board voted to add the following sentence to Bylaws Article 8, Section (a), which outlines the duties of the Convention Chair: See Addendum A for a full explanation of local host duties and responsibilities.

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

    AJHA Convention Host(s) Duties & Responsibilities

    This is to serve as a guide when deciding to be the host for the annual AJHA convention. The actual legwork of getting hotel bids is the responsibility of the convention committee chair and the convention administrator. They will submit request for proposals (RFP) to the area hotels and be the contact persons for the hotels and Helms Briscoe (meeting and conference consultant). The convention chair will also arrange a trip to the host city for an overnight stay (usually one or two nights). This trip will be to visit hotels identified as suitable based on the RFP responses, meet and discuss the meeting with the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, and visit possible sites for the historic tour and gala dinner. Usually quite a bit of work is done in the short visit and the local host(s) is encouraged to participate in the meetings and site visits if possible.

    The main responsibility of the local host(s) is to be the local host to the convention, serve as a point of contact for the convention committee chair and local vendors, to assist the committee chair and to provide:

    1.       Obtaining Sponsors and contributors:  The local host is responsible for obtaining additional funding for the convention events and is encouraged to find sponsors in the area to help offset the costs incurred with the convention.  The sponsor/contributor is given credit for the hosting in the program, website and throughout the event. The following suggested levels are meant to be a guide in your fundraising efforts:

    a.       Underwriting Welcome Reception--$5,000

    b.       Underwriting History Tour--$3,000

    c.       Underwriting Awards Lunch--$2,000

    d.       Underwriting Allen Lunch--$1,000

    e.       Saturday Gala Dinner--$5,000

    f.        General Support--$500-$1,000

    2.       Hotel services—It is extremely helpful to have a local host offer input in regards to hotels that may serve as suitable host hotels and areas of town that are most suited to the convention (restaurants/shops within walking distance). Assisting in this area will help the convention chair and administrator identify suitable hotels so RFPs can be submitted to the hotels. The first preference is for a historic hotel if possible. The committee chair will negotiate the contract, and follow up with meal and catering needs.

    3.       Local History Tour:  The committee chair/convention administrator will negotiate the contracts, arrange for transportation and all other work associated with the Historic Tour. The main duty of the local host is to help facilitate the identification of a suitable tour site.(Friday afternoon, departure time from the hotel should be 30 minutes after the end of the Donna Allen Roundtable lunch). Tour should conclude by 5:30-6:00. These times are just guidelines for choosing the locales; the convention administrator will make all of the necessary arrangements once a venue has been selected. As a note, per feedback at previous conventions, Friday night is left open so members can have dinner on their own.

    a.       Location Requirements:  A total of two to three historical sites within a short bus ride of each other make an ideal itinerary. The number of historical sites is usually determined by distance between the venues and the time required for travel to and from.  Following the tour members are free to have dinner on their own.

    b.       Transportation Requirements:  Will this be a walking tour or will buses be needed, also what assistance will be needed for those with physical limitations?

    4.       Saturday Night Gala Dinner (to be held offsite)

    a.       Location requirements:  A nice restaurant within walking distance of the hotel with a private room that will accommodate approximately 80 people.

    b.       Transportation requirements:  The restaurant should be no more than a 10-minute walk from the hotel.  Also transportation for members requiring assistance needs to be made available. We don’t want to have to use a bus for this meal unless there is sponsorship. Two buses for a group our size is between $1,500 to $2,000 EACH per round trip (even a short trip).

    c.       Catering requirements:  The restaurant needs to be able to provide a plated full course dinner with salad, main course and sides, dessert, coffee, iced tea, plus a cash bar.  The restaurant needs to be able to meet special diet needs as well as gluten free, vegetarian and vegan menu selections. If more than 60 attend there will be a need for a second bartender.  Meal cost should total $50.00 per plate not include tax and gratuity. Usually the bartending charge is in addition to the meal charge. Again the actual meal selection will be done by the committee chair/administrator the prices are just a guide (don’t forget tax and tip will add a minimum of 27% -30% to the meal costs).

    5.       Nominating and securing the Local Journalist awardee.

    6.       Nominating and securing the Donna Allen Luncheon honoree and speaker.

    7.       Identifying and arranging the Local Panel that precedes the Thursday Reception.

    8.       Identifying a local printer for the printing of the conference program.

    9.       Arranging for the transfer of AJHA’s projectors to the next local host.


  • 10 Jul 2019 5:40 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    The American Journalism Historians Association is seeking nominations for three board positions and the office of second vice president. 

    Board members serve for three years and are expected to attend board meetings at the annual convention. The 2nd VP, under normal circumstances, rises to the presidency in two years, then serves on the board for an additional two years.

    A nominee to the Board of Directors or to any of the other Officer positions must have been a member of the AJHA for at least one calendar year immediately preceding the date of the election. No more than one person from an institution can serve on the board at one time. 

    To make nominations and to vote in an election, an individual must be a member of AJHA. Those who wish to nominate candidates may do so by sending an email with the nominee's name, contact information and affiliation to election and nominations committee chair Nick Hirshon,

    Please confirm the candidate's willingness to serve before sending the nomination to Nick, and if possible, you should send a brief bio of the candidate.

    Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m., Aug. 15. Nominations also may be made from the floor.
  • 10 Jul 2019 5:21 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    By Ross F. Collins, president, American Journalism Historians Association

    One of AJHA’s long-term goals from its founding in 1981 emphasizes raising awareness of journalism and mass media history as a significant and important field of research within the larger history discipline. In its efforts to showcase the work of American journalism history scholars, AJHA has I think raised scholarly awareness of media history, and certainly has raised the bar for high-quality research. But we are not alone in efforts to do that.

    In the last Intelligencer I introduced many of our members to work of our journalism history colleagues in France. Le Temps des Médias, the scholarly research journal of media historians writing in French, has appeared since 2003. According to Christian Delporte, its director, the journal’s founding rests on a goal similar to that of AJHA. In 2000, when the sponsoring Société pour l’histoire des médias (SPHM; Society for Media History) was founded, “the research area was still little recognized in the French academy,” says Delporte. “Even the expression ‘media history’ had not really acquired respectability.”

    Despite that, French scholars certainly had produced towering achievements in media history. The five-volume General History of the French Press from the 1970s is an immense reference far beyond anything ever produced for any other country’s journalism that I’m aware of. But since that time I thought media history research in France had seemed to lose some steam. In 1996 Jean-Noël Jeanneney published his one-volume A History of Media from Its Origins to Today. “We were familiar with historians of the press,” said Delporte. “We saw the appearance of historians of television, even of radio. By then the idea of a ‘historian of media’ was no longer surprising, and we were delighted.” But he and other French scholars deplored the absence of university structure or scholarly organization for media history study. “We never met without raising our incantation: ‘Something must be done!’”

    Jeanneney brought greater public awareness to French media history study as well-known Radio France director, politician, and from 2002 to 2007 president of the Bibliothèque Nationale (French National Library, equivalent of Library of Congress). In 2000 Delporte, along with prominent French media history scholars Gilles Feyel, Michael Palmer and Hélène Eck, met to formalize a plan. They proposed a group open to media history study of any aspect, economic, cultural, social or political, technical, industrial, and open to researchers of all disciplines, both French and international, who worked to advance interest in scholarship of mass media history. SPHM was born in 2000.

    Today, Delporte believes media history study has evolved. “It is no longer identified only as history of the press.” It has extended to questions of media culture and cultural exchange, has reached to studies of image and sound, and has led to exploitation of new archives. In sum, media history has moved to “the heart of the field of contemporary historical study.”

    But, Delporte admits, still, universities do not always recognize the vitality of what he calls a young discipline. He credits SPHM still for moving media history into the mainstream.

    I have been a member of SPHM since its inception, but I admit I’m still part of a small group of United States mass media scholars who are reaching out internationally. In fact, according to the SPHM directory, in this group we comprise three. One is Jeremy Popkin of the University in Kentucky, the monumental English-language scholar of French revolutionary-era journalism who was a founding member of SPHM. I like to keep good company.

    This group did not offer international research conventions until 2016—at which research papers in English were accepted. Despite a Ph.D. in French history, my ability to write French at a scholarly level is pathetic, so I jumped on the opportunity to present in English. The June conference in a Paris suburb turned out to be a delightful occasion to meet with media history scholars from around Europe, and to see how media history has grown from mostly a topic of interest to U.S. scholars to one of general appeal throughout Western culture and beyond. SPHM is on the verge of publishing a book based on this conference, Penser l’histoire des medias (Thinking of Media History, CNRS Editions), in which I have a modest contribution.

    Next year SPHM will be meeting in Switzerland. And in case you’re wondering—most of these international scholars can speak English. As unfair as that is, the language of global scholarship has become that annoying Anglo-Saxon tongue.

    In welcoming English-language presentations and meeting outside of France SPHM is trying to internationalize its reach, just as AJHA is making efforts to build interest in transnational journalism and international research. We have a lot in common, our efforts to build media history into a central and important historical discipline. You can check out SPHM (English language version available) at

  • 10 Jul 2019 5:09 PM | Melony Shemberger (Administrator)

    Arceneaux continues as interim director at SDSU

    Noah Arceneaux continues as the interim director for the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

    The university will be conducting a national search for a new director, looking for someone to take over the helm of this ACEJMC-accredited program. An official job posting will appear in the early fall semester.

    Hirshon recognized by SPJ for work on campus

    Dr. Nicholas Hirshon, assistant professor of communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, received the Society of Professional Journalists' inaugural New Jersey Journalism Educator of the Year Award at a ceremony in June.

    The judges cited Hirshon creating an SPJ chapter on his campus, leading a walking tour of historic journalism sites in Philadelphia with his students during a regional SPJ conference last year, and demonstrating "tireless work" to establishing the New Jersey Journalism Hall of Fame at William Paterson.

    Shemberger elected faculty regent on university board

    Dr. Melony Shemberger, associate professor of journalism and mass communications at Murray State University, was elected to represent the faculty on the university's board of regents.

    Shemberger officially began her three-year term on July 1. She defeated four other candidates, including the incumbent.

    A former vice president of Murray State's Faculty Senate, Shemberger will be sworn into office in August.

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