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.
The American Journalism Historians Association announced today that Dr. Mike Sweeney of Ohio University has won the organization’s 2018 National Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Sweeney has been on faculty at Ohio University since 2009, having previously worked from 1996-2009 at Utah State. He will receive his award at the AJHA National Convention, which will take place Oct. 4- 6 in Salt Lake City.
“I am honored to join the ranks of some truly great teachers of journalism history – the ‘Mount Rushmore’ of professors -- previously recognized with this award,” Sweeney said. “In accepting, I would like to say that an effective professor recognizes the rich, two-way nature of communication required for deep learning in the classroom, and so I would like to say ‘Thank you’ to my excellent students.”
AJHA’s education committee, the members of which judged all entries, noted Sweeney’s consistently strong course evaluations, creative course and project designs, and engagement with his students. Sweeney’s work with aspiring media historians has also translated into several of his doctoral students participating in annual AJHA national conventions. “The level of mentoring it takes to guide student research projects, and then to oversee the presentations of the projects at a major professional conference, seems to me to separate out Sweeney’s accomplishments," one of the judges’ ballots read.
Kaylene Armstrong, chair of the education committee, said the committee received excellent applications for the award, making the job of the judges particularly difficult this year. "I think we would have been comfortable awarding this honor to any of the applicants," she said.
Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression
November 8–10, 2018
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Deadline: August 27, 2018
The steering committee of the twenty-sixth annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression solicits papers dealing with US mass media of the 19th century, the Civil War in fiction and history, freedom of expression in the 19th century, presidents and the 19th century press, images of race and gender in the 19th century press, sensationalism and crime in 19th century newspapers, the press in the Gilded Age, and the antebellum press and the causes of the Civil War. Selected papers will be presented during the three-day conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 8–10, 2018. The top three papers and the top three student papers will be honored accordingly. Due to the generosity of the Walter and Leona Schmitt Family Foundation Research Fund, the winners of the student awards will receive $250 honoraria for delivering their papers at the conference.
The purpose of the November conference is to share current research and to develop a series of monographs. This year the steering committee will pay special attention to papers on the Civil War and the press, presidents and the 19th century press, and 19th century concepts of free expression. Papers from the first five conferences were published by Transaction Publishers in 2000 as a book of readings called The Civil War and the Press. Purdue University Press published papers from past conferences in three distinctly different books titled Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Cold Mountain (2007), Words at War: The Civil War and American Journalism (2008), and Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press (2009). In 2013, Transaction published Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting, and in 2014, it published A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War. In 2017, Transaction (now Routledge/Taylor & Francis) published After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900.
The symposium is sponsored by the George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga communication department, the Walter and Leona Schmitt Family Foundation Research Fund, and the Hazel Dicken-Garcia Fund for the Symposium, and because of this sponsorship, no registration fee will be charged.
Papers should be able to be presented within 20 minutes, at least 10–15 pages long. Please send your paper (including a 200–300 word abstract) as a Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 27, 2018. For more information, please contact:
Dr. David Sachsman
George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs, Dept. 3003
615 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403-2598
(423) 425-4219, email@example.com
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.”
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.”
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.
Linda J. Lumsden in May 2018 was promoted to full professor at the School of Journalism, University of Arizona.
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."
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).
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.
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.
The American Journalism Historians Association has announced Dr. Eugenia M. Palmegiano, emerita faculty in the St. Peter’s University Department of History, as the recipient of the 2018 Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History.
Palmegiano, a lifetime member of AJHA, was nominated by Dr. Wm. David Sloan with additional letters of support from 18 distinguished members of the American Journalism Historians Association, including former AJHA presidents and Kobre Award winners.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Kobre Award and shall do my best to live up to the high standards set by my predecessors,” Palmegiano said. “I see this award as an opportunity to publicize the fine work of my colleagues in the American Journalism Historians Association, especially at this critical moment in press history.”
The Kobre Award 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. Palmegiano’s accomplishments in the field of history are many and varied, as are her contributions to the organization. She’s written six books, one monograph, and dozens more refereed articles, books chapters, book reviews, and conference presentations.
Palmegiano has served as AJHA president and twice been a member of the AJHA board of directors. During her first term on the AJHA Board in 1996, Palmegiano worked with then AJHA president Tom Heuterman to establish AJHA as an affiliate society of the American Historical Association.
Since 2016, Palmegiano has funded the American Historical Association’s annual prize for best journalism history book. Palmegiano also funds the annual AJHA award for best research paper on international/transnational journalism history.
The Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History is the American Journalism Historians Association'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.
By Caitlin Cieslik-Miskimen
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Becoming a media historian was not part of my plan as an undergraduate. As a journalism major, I had my sights set on magazine writing, and pursued that dream with dogged determination until my senior year, when I decided somewhat on a whim to write an undergraduate honors thesis. The topic was celebrity gossip columns in the first half of the 20th century – a subject I had longed harbored an intense interest in. Given the freedom to spend my time reading about Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, I poured myself into the project. By the time I had finished, I knew that I needed to change course, and started the process of applying for graduate programs specializing in media history.
When I entered the graduate program at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I knew what to expect. My undergraduate mentor and graduate advisor, James L. Baughman, had encouraged me to reach out to many individuals in the field for their advice, and to get a sense of what it would take to be a successful media historian. Get ready for long hours in the library and sitting in front of a microfilm reader, they said. Make friends with archivists, they advised. Read the acknowledgment sections of books you like, they noted. Be ready to be surprised and challenged by what you find when researching, they warned. Go into your projects with open eyes, and be open to have your assumptions tested. And get ready for some curve balls.
They also warned me that media history – and the study of any historical field – can be a lonely pursuit. The long hours in the library, in front of books and in front of the microfilm reader, is isolating. Finding colleagues and collaborators that shared your love of history was key to success. During our check-ins, Prof. Baughman pushed me to maintain connections with others in the field. He was quick with contacts to reach out to based on my current interests or questions I had about the historiography of a topic. I leaned on this network for input and guidance that helped shape my research questions and projects and helped me grow as a scholar.
Several pointed me toward AJHA. The organization strongly supported graduate students and would be a great venue to present my research and ideas. Importantly, they noted, I could meet other graduate students and scholars like myself – individuals passionate about journalism and history, and ready with tips on archive collections, databases, and secondary reading. And I’d be able to find a group that could empathize with the arduous process of writing historical research and of being the lone historical wolf in a journalism and mass communication department. With this advice in hand, I steadily followed my expected path in graduate school. I wrote a thesis, finished coursework, and started prepping for my preliminary examinations.
But graduate school often comes with twists and turns that can be hard to navigate, no matter how prepared you are. It threw me a curve ball the spring before I was to begin prepping for my preliminary examinations, when Prof. Baughman passed away unexpectedly. As the dust began to settle, and I realized what I had lost in terms of an advisor and mentor, I realized how important the network of support I had been building would be. Without a media historian in the department, I would need to rely even more heavily on those outside my program.
At my first AJHA conference, I initially felt intimidated. Here was a room of scholars whose books and articles I had read, who taught media history courses at universities and colleges across the country, and had won awards for their research and teaching. And there I was, a graduate student and the lone representative from the University of Wisconsin, wondering how to go up and introduce myself. But within the first few moments I immediately felt at ease. Everyone I met was friendly and eager to chat about all topics related to media, journalism, and history. And more important for me as a graduate student, they were incredibly interested in what I was working on and ready to offer feedback.
AJHA has been incredibly valuable for me because it has helped find a network of individuals passionate about what I study. It has helped me connect with other graduate students in the field, and also provided a model of what to do as a professor. And at a time where I felt lost and untethered in my own program, it provided me with a number of new history mentors whose camaraderie has provided the support to drive me toward completing my dissertation.
Cieslik-Miskimen is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completing her dissertation examining the impact of modernity and progress on the conception of community and identity in a small city, via its print communication channels.
(Editor's Note: The Revolution was televised, but not this part..... Thanks to Mark Feldstein, University of Maryland--College Park, for bringing this to our attention.)
By Dianne Bragg
University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
My thoughts for this particular column were pretty straightforward.
It’s July, but it feels like August.
Soon, though, it will be October and we will be wearing jackets in Utah.
A quick reminder to check the AJHA website for convention details.
A hopeful note that some of us will be together in D.C. for AEJMC.
And, oh yes, best wishes for a happy 4th of July.
Just a usual mid-summer laundry list.
But, the usual this summer has changed.
When a man armed with a gun chose to murder five people at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., what has become usual hit really close to home for many of us.
The gun violence in our country has taken on surreal proportions, with no sign of it abating any time soon. It has become our usual.
The vilification of journalists has reached extraordinary heights.
The Oval Office historically has not always been pleased with the press, despite what is written in the Constitution. This is not the first time those who hold power have gone after journalists who try to hold them accountable.
At some point, though, in the 21st century, it would seem that our leadership would condemn violent rhetoric in no uncertain terms. But, they do not. This, too, has become our usual.
As a columnist I follow wrote last week, we seem to forget that words matter.
Might this murderer have picked up a gun no matter what? Maybe.
Or, did the constant barrage of words calling journalists evil, unpatriotic, criminal, and “fake,” along with encouragement for physical violence against them, possibly push him over the edge? This, too, is our usual.
What do we tell our students who are learning the journalism craft?
How do we teach them to do their jobs as they withstand such an environment?
I have a son whose first journalism job was with a Maryland newspaper and who now works for another paper in the area. We all have friends or family in the field. What do we say to them? How do we support them in this new usual?
As historians, we try to pay attention as we look to the past to help us navigate the present. And, for an example of what we hold dear, we need look no further than the Capital Gazette staff who, while in shock and grief, put out their paper.
I think no matter how bleak it may seem, our best journalists will continue to stand up, call out questions and speak the truth. That is our usual.
Because, in the end, the pen really is mightier than the sword.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 may also be made from the floor.
Dale L. Cressman, associate professor of communication at Brigham Young University, has won the first annual Michael S. Sweeney Award for his scholarly article in Journalism History, “News in Light: The Times Square Zipper and Newspaper Signs in an Age of Technological Enthusiasm.”
The award, which honors the best article published in the quarterly journal over the past year, was created by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to honor the outgoing editor.
Mike Sweeney, since 2012 editor of the independent peer-reviewed journal at Ohio University, announced two years ago that he wanted to turn over Journalism History to the Division and to a new editor. The reason was two-fold, he told the division with frankness: he was being treated for a Stage IV cancer and the journal’s self-publication was no longer financially sustainable.
Sweeney, who was also the incoming head of the History Division at the time, appointed an ad hoc task force to examine having the Division take over the journal. The mission that Sweeney initiated has now cleared the way for the Division to publish the journal for its nearly 300 members and institutional subscribers. The Division has also named the next editor, Gregory A. Borchard of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
In appreciation of Sweeney’s tenure as editor and his actions to ensure the journal’s future, the Division created the Michael S. Sweeney Award. The editor, in this case Sweeney himself, nominates four or five top articles from four issues over a recent 12-month period. The winner is selected from among the nominated articles by the Division’s three officers and is honored with a plaque at the AEJMC conference in August.
The other nominees for this first award were Juanita Darling, for “Jewish Values in the Journalism of Alberto Gerchunoff”; Michael Fuhlhage, for “To Limit the Spread of Slavery: A Boston Journal Correspondent’s Multiple Roles in the Kansas Free State Movement”; and Debra Reddin Van Tuyll, for “Protecting Press Freedom and Access to Government Information in Antebellum South Carolina.”
Cressman’s winning article, “News in Light,” traces the evolution of signs posted outside newspaper buildings, notably in New York City, feeding a public appetite for major news events. Electricity and technological advances, under competitive pressure among newspapers, led in 1928 to the “moving letter” sign around the New York Times building known as “The Zipper.” Cressman uses archives from The New York Times to document fights over the patent, but also theorizes that this history prefigured TV news consumption in the way it transformed readers into a collective audience.
The Division officers, Doug Cumming, Erika Pribanic-Smith and Teri Finneman, were impressed by the article’s insight, scholarship and readability.
Cressman, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Utah, was formerly a television news editor and producer in Salt Lake City, Green Bay, Wis., and Waco, Texas, and an editor at the Canadian Broadcasting System.
The American Journalism Historians Association Board of Directors has appointed Rich Shumate to the position of Web Editor.
Shumate will assist with the AJHA website over the summer and will take over the Web Editor position officially in October.
An award-winning journalist and media history scholar, Shumate is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University.
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