Intelligencer is a blog featuring thoughtful essays on mass communication history teaching and research as well as highlighting the work of our members.
To suggest an essay, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
"Jim Leonhirth, Jhistory's longtime moderator, is stepping down. He's done an amazing job over the years and was one of the early members of the list; we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his years of service.
"We are looking for another moderator (or two) to help manage the list. You'd be moderating the list about three or four months a year (we take turns) and the workload is about an hour or two a week when you're on."
American Journalism, the flagship journal of the American Journalism Historians Association, seeks applications for its Rising Scholar Award. The application deadline is Thursday, June 1, 2017.
The award provides research assistance of up to $2,000 for a junior, untenured faculty member or a media professional who has transitioned within the last four years to full-time work in the academy. The proposed research project must be related to media history, and all methodological approaches are welcomed.
Applicants must be current AJHA members at the time the proposal is submitted. Proposals may be for sole authored or co-authored work (award amount will be shared).
Applicants must submit the following to Jinx C. Broussard, Manship School of Mass Communications, 205 Hodges Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, or via e-mail to email@example.com:
Founded in 1981, the American Journalism Historians Association seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. Members work to raise historical standards and ensure that all scholars and students recognize the vast importance of media history and apply this knowledge to the advancement of society. For more information on AJHA, visit ajhaonline.org.
The American Journalism Historians Association invites paper entries, panel proposals, and abstracts of research in progress on any facet of media history for its 36th annual convention to be held October 12-14, 2017, in Little Rock, Arkansas. More information on the 2017 AJHA convention is available at ajhaonline.org.
The deadline for all submissions is June 1, 2017.
The AJHA views journalism history broadly, embracing print, broadcasting, advertising, public relations, and other forms of mass communication that have been inextricably intertwined with the human past. Because the AJHA requires presentation of original material, research papers and panels submitted to the convention should not have been submitted to or accepted by another convention or publication.
Authors may submit only one research paper. They also may submit one Research in Progress abstract but only on a significantly different topic. Research entries must be no longer than 25 pages of text, double-spaced, in 12-point type, not including notes. The Chicago Manual of Style is recommended but not required.
Papers must be submitted electronically as PDF or Word attachments. Please send the following:
• An email with the attached paper, saved with author identification only in the file name and not in the paper.
• A separate 150-word abstract as a Word attachment (no PDFs) with no author identification.
• Author’s info (email address, telephone number, institutional affiliation, and student or faculty status) in the text of the email.
Send papers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authors of accepted papers must register for the convention and attend in order to present their research.
Accepted papers are eligible for several awards, including the following:
*David Sloan Award for the outstanding faculty research paper ($250 prize).
*Robert Lance Award for outstanding student research paper ($100 prize).
*Jean Palmegiano Award for outstanding international/transnational journalism history research paper ($150 prize)
*J. William Snorgrass Award for outstanding minority-journalism research paper.
*Maurine Beasley Award for outstanding women’s-history research paper.
*Wally Eberhard Award for outstanding research in media and war.
Research Chair Michael Fuhlhage (email@example.com) of Wayne State University is coordinating paper submissions. Authors will be notified in mid-July whether their papers have been accepted.
Preference will be given to proposals that involve the audience and panelists in meaningful discussion or debate on original topics relevant to journalism history. Preference also will be given to panels that present diverse perspectives on their topics. Entries must be no longer than three pages of text, double-spaced, in 12-point type, with one-inch margins. Panel participants must register for and attend the convention.
Panel proposals must be submitted electronically as PDF or Word attachments. Please include the following:
• A title and brief description of the topic.
• The moderator and participants’ info (name, institutional affiliation, student or faculty status).
• A brief summary of each participant’s presentation.
Send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No individual may be on more than one panel. Panel organizers must make sure panelists have not agreed to serve on multiple panels. Panel organizers also must secure commitment from panelists to participate before submitting the proposal. Moderators are discussion facilitators and may not serve as panelists. Failure to adhere to the guidelines will lead to rejection of the proposal.
Panelists may submit a research paper and/or research in progress abstract.
Tracy Lucht (email@example.com) of Iowa State University is coordinating the panel competition. Authors of panel proposals will be notified in mid-July whether their panels have been accepted.
RESEARCH IN PROGRESS
The Research in Progress category is for work that will NOT be completed before the conference. Participants will give an overview of their research purpose and progress, not a paper presentation, as the category’s purpose is to allow for discussion and feedback on work in progress. RIP authors may also submit a research paper on a significantly different topic.
For research in progress submissions, send a blind abstract of your study. Include the proposal title in the abstract. The abstract should include a clear purpose statement as well as a brief description of your primary sources. Abstracts must be no longer than two pages of text, double-spaced, in 12-point type, with 1-inch margins, excluding notes.
Primary sources should be described in detail in another double-spaced page.
Entries that do not follow these guidelines will be rejected.
The AJHA Research in Progress competition is administered electronically.
• Proposals must be submitted as PDF or Word attachments, saved with author identification ONLY in the file names and NOT in the text of the proposal.
• Each proposal must be submitted as an attachment, with author’s info (name, project title, telephone number, email address, institutional affiliation, and student or faculty status) in the text of the email.
Send research in progress proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors will be notified in mid-July whether their proposals have been accepted.
Authors whose work is accepted must register for and attend the convention.
Melita Garza (email@example.com) of Texas Christian University is coordinating the Research in Progress competition.
The Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History
The organization's highest honor recognizes individuals with an exemplary record of sustained achievement in journalism history through teaching, research, professional activities, or other contributions to the field of journalism history. Award winners need not be members of the AJHA. Nominations for the award are solicited annually, but the award need not be given every year. Those making nominations for the award should present, at the minimum, a cover letter that explains the nominee's contributions to the field as well as a vita or brief biography of the nominee. Supporting letters for the nomination are also encouraged.
Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award
The Distinguished Service to Journalism History Award recognizes contributions by an individual outside our discipline who has made an extraordinary effort to further significantly our understanding of, or our ability to explore, media history. Nominations are solicited annually, but the award is given only in exceptional situations. Thus, it is not given every year. Those making nominations for the award should present, at the minimum, a cover letter that explains the nominee's contributions to the field as well as a vita or brief biography of the nominee. Supporting letters for the nomination are also encouraged.
The deadline for both awards is Saturday, May 13, 2017. Please send all material via email to:
Indiana University Media School
On Thursday, the executive leadership of the American Journalism Historians Association released an official statement regarding the organization’s stance on the policies, positions and statements of the administration of President Donald J. Trump in relation to journalism, democracy and history.
The statement reads:
The American Journalism Historians Association, as the nation’s largest organization dedicated to the study of journalism history, is particularly well suited to consider the centuries-old American struggle for free press, truth, and transparency, both in its principles of democracy and of journalism.
In the past, efforts to limit that freedom have moved the United States away from its ideals of liberty and equality. AJHA believes that assaults on journalists and free speech from the highest levels of U.S. government constitute a dangerous attack on this country’s fundamental democratic principles and traditions, while simultaneously undermining the very basis of historical truth.
AJHA affirms its position that facts, truth, integrity, and respect for the importance of journalists have been a hallmark of American law and custom for more than two centuries, and must continue to be a bedrock principle of American democracy.
David Vergobbi, AJHA President, University of Utah
Dianne Bragg, AJHA 1st Vice-President, University of Alabama
Ross Collins, AJHA 2nd Vice-President, North Dakota State University
Founded in 1981, the American Journalism Historians Association seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. Members work to raise historical standards and ensure that all scholars and students recognize the vast importance of media history and apply this knowledge to the advancement of society. For more information on AJHA, visit http://www.ajhaonline.org.
(Editor's Note: Kate McQueen presented her paper, “Zeppelin in the Arctic: How Mass Publishing Influenced Early Twentieth Century Scientific Exploration” during a Research-in-Progress session at the 2016 AJHA Convention. The Intelligencer asked McQueen to tell us more about why she is researching this topic, what it means and why it's important.)
By Kate McQueen
University of Illinois—Urbana/Champaign
As a scholar of literary journalism, I'm fascinated by borders. Those heavily policed edges of disciplines, which, though controversial, regularly inspire innovative and meaningful bodies of work.
Literature and journalism share a famously contended border. So do journalism and science. The place where these three disciplines meet, however, is an under-charted territory.(1) I'm particularly interested in how the literary has been harnessed for science writing historically, and in what sort of journalistic platforms such innovation can thrive.
This topic provides a rather nebulous context for the research-in-progress paper I presented at the 2016 AJHA Conference, titled “Zeppelin in the Arctic: How Mass Publishing Influenced Early Twentieth-Century Scientific Exploration.”
As far as narratives go, few plots have been more valuable to publishers—of novels or newspapers— than the “exploratory voyage.” This was particularly true in the 19th century, when the mass press sponsored all kinds of exploration, from Henry Morton Stanley's search for David Livingstone in Africa to Frederick Cook and Robert Peary's race to the North Pole.
These trips were more sport than science. But in the early 20th century, the emphasis shifted, away from easily sensationalized exploration-for-exploration’s-sake and towards scientific inquiry. The basic question driving my paper is: Did mass newspaper publishers continue to play a supporting role in scientific exploration, and if so, in what ways?
I chose as a case study the airship Graf Zeppelin's only Arctic flight of 1931, which was conceived and funded in large part by two mass publishers, William Randolph Hearst and the German Ullstein Verlag.(2)
The Graf Zeppelin made the seven-day round trip from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to the North Pole, carrying a group of scientists and explorers from Germany, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and the USA. The goals of the trip were threefold: to map the poorly charted Arctic areas, to take meteorological measurements, and to monitor the earth’s magnetic field in the Arctic region.
What makes this particular trip interesting is that scientific inquiry was such an intentional goal. It didn’t have to be. This was not the case for any other Zeppelin voyage, or for any other contemporaneous attempts to cross the Arctic by airplane, airship, or by boat. The flight alone would have attracted intense interest, for the Arctic was one of the few remaining unexplored corners of the earth. In fact, Hearst’s original vision for the voyage was a highly fantastic, less science-centered plan that involved the rendezvous of the Zeppelin with a submarine carrying Jules Verne’s grandson.
When the polar retrofit of his decommissioned navy submarine proved impossible, Hearst abandoned the Arctic voyage altogether, leaving Ullstein Verlag to fill the gap. The Ullsteins bought the exclusive coverage rights, and placed on board the writer Arthur Koestler, then the science editor for the their flagship newspaper, the Vossische Zeitung.
In many ways Ullstein’s role was no different than Hearst’s; they supplied financial backing, and they promoted the event across a wide spectrum of papers. With their choice of Koestler as the sole onboard reporter, however, they also guaranteed an usually explicit coverage of the actual science underway. Koestler’s importance to the scientific impact of this trip cannot be overstated. He was a 26-year-old, university-trained engineer who had acquired one of the most prestigious journalism positions in Germany, due to his ability to combine lucid scientific explanation with imaginative narrative prose. Koestler’s talent was also his mission. He actively cultivated a poetic vision of science, and ran his news section with the near spiritual desire to
“shift the emphasis in popular education from stale humanities to a lively comprehension of the mysteries of the universe and life.”(3)
Based on my survey of the relevant clips from The New York Times and the Vossische Zeitung, Koestler delivered on his literary skills here too.(4) In addition to a great sense of drama and an eye for detail, Koestler put the science fully on display. He humanized the on-board professors and shared details of their experiments. Little was known about the weather conditions of the North Pole, whether magnetic or gyro compasses would work in the area, or how accurate existing maps actually were. Koestler provided context that allowed a lay reader to understand what was at stake in—for example— the otherwise unstimulating collection of data from atmospheric balloons. Koestler’s narrative also captured the utopian vision that drove the exploration— the sense that through human innovation all things are knowable.
The initial reception of the voyage was powerful. Massive crowds greeted the Zeppelin at its layovers in Leningrad and Berlin. Across the Atlantic, the New York Times praised the voyage, for its science in particular. Their editorial team wrote, “the world learns little after reading the old tale of mists that obscure the ocean and make its crossing something like a miracle.” But “the German scientific mission... in a few hours discovered more than could be expected from years of painful footwork.”(5)
The lingering impact of this coverage, at least in Europe, was equally substantial. The expedition’s physician, Dr. Ludwig Kohl-Larsen, wrote a popular narrative account of the trip, in 1931, called Die Arktisfahrt des Graf Zeppelin (The Arctic Voyage of the Graf Zeppelin), which explained the science of the trip in much greater detail. And Koestler became an overnight celebrity. For months he gave speaking tours about the trip all over Europe, and upon his return was promoted to assistant editor-in-chief for the Ullstein’s largest paper, B.Z. am Mittag. Koestler’s own account of the Zeppelin tour, called Von weißen Nächten und roten Tagen (Of White Nights and Red Days), was published in 1933.
My tentative conclusion about the role of the mass press in promoting scientific exploration, like the Zeppelin Arctic voyage, is this: such voyages would not have been possible without the commercial support of mass publishers. But the most important factor for success was the ability to sell the story of the science. Here specifically, the work was done by a writer who was uniquely able to synthesize the literary with the science. This pairing made atmospheric science —for one— accessible as it had never been before. It also placed upon the science the heavy burden of symbolic meaning. Citizens of many countries cheered the triumph of the Zeppelin's scientific exploration, but Germans identified deeply with this German-funded, German-operated, and German-narrated mission. The technological achievement of the airship in particular was taken as a representation "of the measure of the German soul.”(6)
I don't think it would be wrong to see in the Zeppelin the lingering shadow of the geopolitical ambition that drove the exploration of the Imperial era. Which leads me to the question whether scientifically motivated exploration is much different from the exploration of earlier centuries.
As wildly successful as the Zeppelin’s scientific voyage had been, it remained a solitary enterprise. Economic crisis was in full swing by the early 1930s, closing newspapers and stripping funding for scientific research. The rise of the Nazi Party caused further disruption to the media and the scientific establishment. The Zeppelin was coopted as a political machine, and after the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937, fell out of fashion completely, its full potential as a tool for scientific inquiry never to be fully realized.
The partnership between the Ullstein Verlag and Koestler followed a similar course. The mass publisher took a risk by promoting a form of science writing that departed radically from the conventions of the day, with the best possible outcome. It seems that Koestler’s lyricism and poetic vision played an important role popularizing scientific discovery in Germany in the early 1930s.
This poetic approach did, however, pose a challenge to the accepted dichotomies of science/art, secularism/mysticism, even specialist/layperson, and ultimately prevented Koestler from gaining acceptance within the established journalistic and scientific communities. Koestler wrote in his memoir, in spite of the fact “that I was competent in my work... In spite of my outward success, nobody took me really seriously... My colleagues felt there was something false and basically unsound about me…”(7)
Koestler quit his position at Ullstein Verlag in 1932 to work for the Communist Party, an experience he creatively mined in his bestselling political novel, Darkness at Noon, published in 1940. He never returned to science journalism, although his postwar work takes up similar strategies and themes. His book-length studies, such as The Sleep Walkers (1955), are genre-bending works of speculative science that were simultaneously praised and denounced by scientific professionals.
Going forward with this project, I hope to discern whether the pushback Koestler received was in response to his personal style, or if it signaled a discomfort with poetic science writing generally. One possible approach to addressing this issue was suggested by the research of another participant on my AJHA panel. Prof. Susan E. Swanberg of University of Arizona presented on The New York Times’ William L. ‘Atomic Bill’ Laurence, another popular and controversial mid-century science reporter who wrote outside the traditional boundaries of objective science writing. While Laurence and Koestler seem to have very different styles, a comparison of the reception of these writers’ works could provide insight into not only the strengths but also the limitations of the literary approach for science journalism. One of the most promising outcomes of the conference, for me, was the opportunity to meet Prof. Swanberg and discuss possible collaboration in the future.
(1) See Andreas W. Daum, “Varieties of Popular Science and the Transformations of Public Knowledge. Some Historical Reflections,” Isis 2009 v. 100: 319-332.
(2) My account of the voyage has been pieced together from first-hand accounts, Arthur Koestler, Von weißen Nächten und roten Tagen (Vienna: Promedia Verlag, 2013), and Ludwig Kohl-Larsen, Die Arktisfahrt des “Graf Zeppelin” (Berlin: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1931) and from secondary sources, Michael Scammell, Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Critic (New York: Random House, 2009) and Guillaume De Syon, Zeppelin! Germany and the Airship, 1900-1939 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2002).
(3) Arthur Koestler, Arrow in the Blue (London: Hutchinson, 1969), 284.
(4) The New York Times ran 13 articles and Vossische Zeitung ran 16 articles during 24-31 July 1931. All Vossische Zeitung articles were written by Koestler. The New York Times coverage was a mix of Koestler’s reports in translation and in-house commentary.
(5) “An Aerial Contrast,” The New York Times, 31 July 1931, 16.
(6) De Syon, Zeppelin!, 168.
(7) Koestler, Arrow in the Blue, 284.
Kate McQueen is a master’s degree student in journalism at Illinois, where she is studying literary journalism, and an instructor in Illinois’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in German Studies from Stanford University, where she specialized in Central European literary and press history.
From James O'Donnell's posting at Jhistory:
The Irish Bibliography of Press History (IBPH) is a searchable, open access resource. It can be accessed at http://newspapersperiodicals.org/bibliography/.
The scope of the IBPH is to provide a bibliography of secondary literature on the history of print media in Ireland, or by scholars based in, or closely associated with, Ireland on the history of print media generally. Updated three times a year (January, May, September) it is primarily focussed on published scholarly, academic work. Having just passed its first brthday the IBPH now contains over 1,000 individual entries and continues to grow as new works are added. Suggestions for forthcoming publications that should be included or previously published works that have been accidentally omitted are most gratefully received, contact details are available on the IBPH page.
Thought is being given to how the IBPH can be improved and developed. To assist this process it would be greatly apprecaited if anyone with an interest in, or who has previously used, the IBPH could provide some brief feedback (only five short questions) via this survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BBLMB3N.
The IBPH is an initiative of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland (NPHFI).
The Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize in the History of Journalism will be awarded again at the 2018 convention of the American Historical Association (AHA), to be held January 4-7, in Washington, D.C.
The Palmegiano Prize is awarded annually to the author of the most outstanding book published in English on any aspect of the history of journalism, concerning any area of the world, and any period. Books that focus on the recent past should have a significant historical component. Books that deal with journalism in relation to other forms of mass communication are eligible for consideration.
Books with a copyright of 2016 are eligible for the 2017 award.
Nominators must complete an online prize submission form for each book submitted.
One copy of each entry must be sent to each committee member and clearly labeled “Palmegiano Prize Entry.” Electronic copies may be sent only to committee members who have indicated they will accept them.
Entries must be received by May 15, 2017, to be eligible for the 2017 competition. Entries will not be returned. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2017 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2018 AHA annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Other specific submission instructions will be posted on the AHA website on or before March 31, 2017, according to that website. This Intelligencer post also will be updated when that information is available.
By Candi Carter Olsen, Katherine Edenborg, Will Mari and the membership committee
AJHA fulfills a unique role for many of us, encouraging our ongoing and future research, supporting our teaching and generally connecting us to each other across campuses (and associations!). We have strong ties to AEJMC’s and ICA’s History Divisions.
But in order to grow and remain strong, we need to recruit and retain graduate students and junior faculty in journalism, media studies and communication departments across the country and world.
Here’s a list of the top 10 reasons you can give to someone who might be interested in joining AJHA:
1) Getting early-stage graduate students to older colleagues offers immense opportunities for emotional and mental support during the long dissertation stage. Media history is hard. It involves deep dives into primary sources, balancing expectations from committee members who might have backgrounds as diverse as traditional history, sociology, communication studies and journalism, and teaching.
Getting to know older members and hearing their hard-earned words of wisdom can go a long way toward helping students succeed and start healthy careers. In Will Mari’s case, meeting and being mentored by folks like Jim McPherson and Betty Winfield helped get him across the finish line in May 2016 with his dissertation
2) Connections with fellow graduate students, newer faculty and more established faculty can lead directly to great new ideas for teaching and course development.
3) Meeting other media-history scholars can spark collaboration across continents and disciplines. Need help tackling a long-term project? AJHA might be just the place to get pointers for how to make the best use of archives and other sources.
4) AJHA helps you get a foothold in the academic world, experiencing the norms and give-and-take of a conference, and learn how to make the most of feedback from peers.
5) Presenting at AJHA looks good on a younger scholar’s CV
6) AJHA’s practice of only holding two sessions at a time means participants have an audience of engaged peers and senior scholars at their session, no matter what time it’s held.
7) AJHA’s history tour provides participants with an opportunity to learn about new places while also relaxing with fellow scholars.
8) Feedback that you get at AJHA can help presenters move an article to publication, which helps graduate students get competitive jobs.
9) AJHA has several committees that provide graduate students with an opportunity to get involved, network with other scholars, and put a national service line on their CV. AJHA’s size means that there are several opportunities to participate in various roles.
10) On a less serious note, the food at AJHA is amazing. The conference organizers always make sure that attendees are well-fed and caffeinated throughout the day. Food is an important draw for both grad students and fulltime faculty.
Please ask a grad student in your life, or a colleague in your department, or allied department, to consider visiting AJHA’s next conference and then joining it. It’s up to all of us to find great new colleagues for the future of our fine organization. Let’s get to it!
If you have questions or suggestions for the membership committee, please email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org, Candi at email@example.com or Will Mari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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