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 Dane Claussen.

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.

  • 14 Feb 2018 8:32 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    Editor's Note: Dr. Amber Roessner of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville received AJHA's annual teaching award at the AJHA convention in Little Rock in October 2017. Reprinted below are her remarks at the time:

    I am truly honored to receive the American Journalism Historians Association’s National Award for Excellence in Teaching. To be mentioned in the same breath as past recipients, whom I hold in high esteem and count as my pedagogical mentors, is a mark of distinction that I will always treasure. 

    In many respects, I have developed my style of teaching based upon the models of the individuals, whom I encountered here at AJHA and as a student at the University of Georgia. They all share one thing in common—they all seek to passionately impart to every student that they encounter the influence of the histories of journalism, media, and mass communication on our ways of life by creating authentic communities of learning. 

    My mentors taught me to create authentic community by sharing their passions, and that’s one goal that I always have sought to emulate. Many of our students have missed the boat when it comes to developing a desire to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners. We must, of course, meet our students where they are, but we should greet them with enthusiasm. We all know that journalists and all mass communications professionals play instrumental roles in our culture—as watchdogs, as storytellers, as keepers of memory, as liaisons between various publics, and as media historians and educators, we perform a crucial role in sharing with our students how our pasts inform our present circumstances and our future prospects. As my mentor, Janice Hume, puts it in her undergraduate history of mass communications’ syllabus: “understanding [past] challenges will help us face our own.” 

    It seems that we are faced with a great many challenges in our world today, and it would be easy to ourselves become indifferent or apathetic. I urge you today to reject that impulse and to instead take advantage of the opportunities that have been afforded to you as educators, such as the one that was afford to me in 2012 when Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s great granddaughter reached out to the University of Tennessee for help in honoring the pioneer social justice crusader. That plea for help spurred myself and my students at the University of Tennessee to launch the Ida Initiative, an interdisciplinary project to foster research about the life, work, and legacy of Wells-Barnett and other like-minded social justice crusaders by scholars and students of communication and history, and served as the inspiration and foundation for a forthcoming edited volume from Lexington Books about Wells-Barnett. 

    I also would encourage you to achieve excellence in teaching by heeding some basic advice: Never stop learning, even from your students. This lesson became manifest to me just this summer when I learned that one of my former graduate students, who has a little girl about the age of my son Joseph, was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer. Over the last few months, I have watched with what can only be described as a profound sense of agony and admiration as Josh has battled his illness. Agony for the pain that he and his family have continued to endure and admiration for his determination to finish his research at the University of Tennessee—to share the histories that have moved him with a new generation. So today, I leave you with perhaps the most important lesson that I’ve learned as a professor—strike that—as a human: may we all be a bit more like Josh, may we, in the words of Gandhi: “Live as if [we] were to die tomorrow. Learn [and, in turn teach] as if [we] were to live forever.” Thank you, Josh, for teaching me this lesson, and thank you, AJHA, for this award that I will always hold near and dear to my heart.

    Final Note: If you would like to contribute funds toward this graduate student’s medical expenses as he battles brain cancer, consider donating through

  • 14 Feb 2018 8:27 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    History in the Making

    By Dianne Bragg

    Like most of you, which is why we are members of AJHA, my mind often turns to the historical importance that might be attached to current events. By nature, historians notice places and dates and ponder their historical significance. It is virtually impossible for us not to consider the past when we are perusing the present. We are not alone, though, in our predilection for doing so. It even happens in popular culture. 

    Recently, when Britain’s Prince Henry of Wales, affectionately known as Harry, and his bride-to-be, Meghan Markle, announced that their marriage would occur on May 19, 2018, Twitter went into a flutter over the significance of the date. Was it just coincidence that May 19 also happened to be the date that Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, lost her head in 1536? Did anyone tell the couple about the historical significance of the day? Should they change the date? If they ever had a daughter, would they dare name her Anne? The questions flew. 

    We find ourselves, for whatever reason, looking to the past to offer some possible explanation or significance for the present. Events do not happen in a vacuum and historians often find themselves in the position of answering questions of how and why we have come to a particular point politically, socially, or culturally. Although those answers are not always clearly defined, we make it our life’s work to do our part in mining the fields of history and seeking context for today.

    On December 20, 2017, AJHA member Jon Marshall of Northwestern University wrote a column that appeared on the site as part of its “Made by History” project. Marshall’s piece about the Post’s Watergate investigation examines links between the Trump administration’s hostility toward the press and the Nixon administration’s similar behavior. Marshall details an error made by the Post’s Bernstein and Woodward team and highlights errors that have made recent headlines. Marshall notes the process the Post and its editors used to ensure the accuracy of their reporting and how today’s journalists should emulate that work, despite the intense time pressures that now exist in today’s news cycle.

    We look to the past in order to move forward into the future. Likewise, as I begin my tenure as president of AJHA, I look to the past for my inspiration and guidance. AJHA has been fortunate to have had so many esteemed leaders who have given so much to make this organization the beacon of journalism history this it is today. I am both honored and daunted to follow in their footsteps. As we closed out 2017 and embark on 2018, I wish for you all a Happy New Year and great success in whatever historical sleuthing endeavors you might undertake in the coming months. And, as always, I am excited to see what AJHA members have to offer in helping us to explain the historical implications of the world around us. 

  • 14 Feb 2018 1:38 AM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    (Editor's Note: Debra Hale-Shelton of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was one of two recipients of AJHA's Local Journalist award at the AJHA's annual convention in Little Rock in October 2017. She was gracious enough to share her prepared remarks with the Intelligencer's readers.)

    Thank you, Donna. And thank you to the American Journalism Historians Association. I am truly grateful and honored by this award.

    I want to thank a few other people, too.

    —Like Dorothy Stuck. She gave me my first job as a teenager at the weekly Marked Tree Tribune in northeast Arkansas. She was one of the few editors I’ve ever known who actually did stop the presses. That was on June 6, 1968, the day Robert Kennedy died from an assassin’s bullet. Mrs. Stuck quickly typed an editorial. I still remember the headline, “As a Nation Thinketh….”

    —A few years later, a legendary and often combative Arkansas journalist gave me my first full-time job at The Associated Press in Little Rock. His name was John Robert Starr. And if he were here today, he might take credit for my being an aggressive reporter. I shall not forget the time he called me into his office in the '70s. I was in my 20s, naive and totally unaware of anything remotely amiss in Mr. Starr’s life. He told me I was not being aggressive enough when I questioned newsmakers. I disagreed. He said, “OK, ask me a tough question.” Out of nowhere, I said, “Have you ever had an affair?” He stared at me, was silent a few seconds and then said I could leave. He never answered my question.

    My AP job later took me to Atlanta, Louisville and Chicago, where I spent most of my adult career. That’s where I interviewed a young Donald Trump when he and other USFL team owners were trying to save the dying league. The most remarkable thing about that interview is that an AP editor even saw fit to send me to cover a USFL meeting. I’m not a sports buff. I mean I get the Cubs and the Bears mixed up. The next most interesting thing is that I forgot about meeting Trump until a sports writer reminded me a few years later.

    For some reason, I’ve never been easily intimidated by the rich or the powerful. In the early '80s, I was working the desk at the Little Rock AP on a Friday night. If you know anything about Arkansas, you know that newsrooms are incredibly busy during football season.

    Earlier that day, I had called a young Bill Clinton who was trying to regain Arkansans’ favor and return to the governor’s mansion. I was working on a story about him and the death penalty, a topic almost as controversial in Arkansas as prep football. About 9:30 that night, Clinton called me back.

    “I can’t talk to you now,” I told him. “It’s prep football night.”

    “That’s OK,” he said. “You can call me later.” 

    “Well, it’s going to be late,” I said. Maybe 11or 12.”

    About midnight, I called him back. He answered the phone and my questions.

    Yes, I’ve been around long enough to remember when Clinton sported an Afro hairdo, Hillary wore UFO-style glasses and Clinton’s first PR man was the only one he could afford then — his younger brother Roger, Arkansas’ version of the late Billy Carter.

    When I look back on my decades in journalism, a few events stand out. Among them were my interviews with former President Carter, an incredibly humble man; a bizarre conservation I had with the late Ann Landers when she endorsed masturbation as safe sex; and Michael Jackson’s breaking into a song as he testified during a plagiarism trial in Chicago in the 1980s.

    But the story that lingers with me the most was among my first. It happened in 1972 when a young Air Force lieutenant was shot down over North Vietnam. I interviewed his family by phone. For years, Steve Musselman of Texarkana was listed as missing in action. Not long ago I began thinking about the people I’ve written about and sometimes forgotten about. So, I did a Google search of Musselman’s name. On July 7, 1981, Hanoi returned his and two other servicemen’s remains, incomplete and packed in separate, small wooden boxes. 

    So, to you my colleagues, I want to stress that our stories, no matter how serious, controversial or humorous, are about real people. We may forget many of the people we write about. But they will always matter. And their stories may well go on long after we are done with them.

    I also want to say thank you to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and its readers. Without them, I would have no job. Without good editors, I would have not had the guidance or editing I often needed. I specifically thank Walter Hussman, Nat Lea, David Bailey, Danny Shameer, Steve Goff and former editor Heidi White. I offer a special thank you to the late Bill Simmons, who more than once put me in my place when I was starting out at the AP and who recommended me for this job.

    Finally, I want to thank my wonderful parents Al and Dorothy Hale, my husband Huey and my daughter Annie for their support and understanding of the words, “I’m working late. We’ll fend for ourselves tonight.”

  • 27 Jan 2018 9:00 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    Greetings! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michael Green, and I'm the new executive director of the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA and an associate professor of history at UNLV (where years ago I was a student of Barbara Cloud, and now I'm a friend of Greg Borchard!). The PCB-AHA is the branch for everybody west of the Mississippi, in 22 states and four Canadian provinces--if you have members who live out this way and belong to the AHA, they are also members of the PCB, so, just as you're an affiliated society with the AHA, we're part of the same family. We wanted to reach out to you to say hello, let you know we're here, and offer an opportunity for collaboration.

    The PCB-AHA holds an annual conference. This year it's at Santa Clara University, August 2-4. We would like to invite you to submit a panel or two for inclusion in our program. We especially welcome involvement by junior and non-tenure-track faculty, and graduate students. Anyone can participate as long as s/he is an AHA member at the time of our conference, regardless of affiliation or location.

    We hope this will interest you, and that it marks the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership. If you have any questions, please email back. Either way, please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to be part of our conference program--time flies! We hope to see you and/or members of your organization in Santa Clara. Thanks!


    Michael Green, Department of History,

    University of Nevada-Las Vegas

  • 23 Jan 2018 4:28 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    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.

    For a list of previous winners, see the AJHA website,

    The deadline for both awards is Sunday, May 13, 2018. Please send all material via email to:

    Mike Conway

    Indiana University Media School

  • 21 Jan 2018 11:08 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    The deadline for submitting nominees for the 2018 AJHA Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Prize is Feb. 1.

    Eligible works shall include both quantitative and qualitative historical dissertations, written in English, which have been completed between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017. For the purposes of this award, a "completed" work is defined as one which has not only been submitted and defended but also revised and filed in final form at the applicable doctoral-degree-granting university by Dec. 31, 2017.

    To be considered, please submit the following materials in a single e-mail to the address below:

    • A cover letter from the applicant containing complete (home and work) contact information (postal addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses). The letter should express a willingness, should the dissertation be selected for a prize, both to attend the awarding ceremony and to deliver a public presentation based on the dissertation at the 2018 American Journalism Historians Association Annual Convention 4-6 October 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
    • A letter of nomination from the dissertation chair/director or the chair of the university department in which the dissertation was written.
    • A single PDF containing the following (with no identifying information):
    • A 200-word abstract.
    • The dissertation table of contents.
    • A single chapter from the dissertation, preferably not exceeding 50 manuscript pages (not including notes, charts or photographs). The chapter should, if possible, highlight the work’s strengths as a piece of primary-sourced original research.
    • In a separate PDF but in the same e-mail, a blind copy of the complete dissertation.
    • To be considered, all identifying information—including author, school, and dissertation committee members’ names—must be deleted from items 3 and 4 above.

    Nominations, along with all the supporting materials, should be sent to

    More information about the Blanchard Prize can be found on the AJHA website.

  • 15 Jan 2018 12:02 AM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    50 Years in Agenda Setting Research: Past and Future Perspectives Conference
    July 18-21, 2018
    University of Colorado Boulder — College of Media Communication and Information

    2018 marks the 50-year anniversary of the hallmark 1968 Chapel Hill study where agenda-setting research as we know it was born. This initial study, a collaboration between Max McCombs and Donald Shaw, has given birth to thousands of subsequent inquiries spanning a wide array of academic disciplines and media contexts.

    To celebrate agenda setting’s important role in mass communication theory, the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder invites graduate students and faculty alike to attend a three-day conference focused on past, present, and future applications of the theory.

    Join us as we celebrate the original theorists and trace the development of agenda setting. All scholars conducting contemporary research rooted in agenda setting are encouraged to attend. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: need for orientation, network agenda setting, agenda building and agenda melding. New media applications of agenda setting, such as studies of fake news and computational propaganda, are also encouraged.

    Honored guests include the seminal theorists: Dr. Maxwell McCombs, Dr. Donald Shaw and Dr. David Weaver. In addition, the conference will be chronicled by The Agenda-Setting Journal, with editor Dr. Salma Ghanem attending. All presenters will be encouraged to complete their work and submit it to a special issue of The Agenda Setting Journal dedicated to the conference. Top work from the conference will receive expedited consideration for publication in the journal. The conference will be highlighted by a plenary panel led by McCombs, Shaw, Weaver and Ghanem.

    The conference will include a refereed paper session. To be considered, authors should submit an extended abstract of no more than 750 words (not including references) detailing the proposed study. Works in progress will be considered, but preference will be given to abstracts with a clear path to completion (e.g., data, clear research questions, initial analyses). Abstracts should include background information on the author(s), including an abbreviated bio that describes research that relates to agenda setting. Please submit your proposal as a PDF to the e-mail address no later than Monday, February 1, 2018. Drs. McCombs, Shaw and Weaver will review the submitted abstracts.

    This conference provides an intimate opportunity for all participants to engage in conversation and debate. Events scheduled include: paper presentations, panel sessions, brainstorming (future research) sessions and round-table discussions. Conference admission fee includes breakfasts, lunches, and welcome dinner.

    To register, visit:

    For questions contact:

    Important dates

    • Deadline to submit abstracts: February 1, 2018
    • Acceptance Notification: March 1, 2018
    • Deadline to register with a presentation: May 1, 2018
    • Conference: July 18-21, 2018

    Cost of Attendance

    • Faculty – $225,Present & Attend; $175 Attend Only
    • Students - $150, Present & Attend; $75 Attend Only
  • 15 Nov 2017 12:47 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    The American Historical Association has announced its first winner of the Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize, which honors the best book about journalism history. The first award will be presented in January to Amelia Bonea, author of “The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism, and the Politics of Reporting in Colonial India, c. 1830-1900.”

    Last year, the AHA announced it would begin recognizing outstanding scholarship in the area of journalism history and chose to name this newly minted prize after Palmegiano. Palmegiano served as president of the American Journalism Historians Association from 1998-99 and worked for many years to have journalism history recognized within the AHA, one of the world’s largest and most recognizable academic organizations.

    The AHA will award the Palmegiano Prize each January. Submissions for the 2019 Palmegiano Prize are due in May. For more information on submissions, visit the Palmegiano Prize page on the AHA website. 

  • 15 Nov 2017 12:43 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

    Scholars representing universities from across North America were recognized for their work on research papers at the American Journalism Historian’s Association’s annual convention in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Teri Finneman of South Dakota State, won the Wm. David Sloan Award for Outstanding Faculty Research Paper for “‘The Greatest of Its Kind Ever Witnessed in America’: The Press and the 1913 Women’s March on Washington.” The runners-up in that category were Charles Lewis of Minnesota State University for “This Means War: A Case Study of Caustic Political Copy in the Frontier Press of Minnesota, 1857-1861”; John Coward of the University of Tulsa for “Indian Ideology in The Warpath: Lehman Brightman’s Red Power Journalism”; and Candi Carter Olson and Erin Cox of Utah State University for “A Mighty Power: The Defenses Employed by Utah’s Women Against Disenfranchisement by the EdmundsTucker Act of 1887.”

    The Robert Lance Award for Outstanding Student Research Paper went to Vicki Knasel Brown of the University of Missouri-Columbia for “Commercial and Religious Press Coverage of the Mormon Struggle in Missouri, 1831-1838.” The runners-up were Bailey Dick of Ohio University for “Faith as the Basis for Radical Vision: The Reporting of Dorothy Day as a Catalyst for Social Movement"; Thomas Schmidt of the University of Oregon for “The Narrative Turn in American News Writing: How Newspapers Adopted Narrative Journalism in the Late 20th Century”; and Patti Piburn of Arizona State University for “Discovering the Arizona Republican Newspaper, 1896-1898: Yellow Journalism in America’s Territorial Press.”

    Finneman also won the Maurine Beasley Award for Oustanding Paper on a Women’s History Topic with runner-up honors to Carter Olson and Cox as well as Dick. Erika Pribanic-Smith of the University of Texas-Arlington and Jared Shroeder of Southern Methodist University also received runner-up honors in this category for “Manifestos, Meetings, and Mother Earth: Emma Goldman's No-Conscription League and the First Amendment in 1917.”

    Lewis won the J. William Snorgrass Award for Outstanding Research on a Minorities Topic. Coward earned a runner-up as did Jason Peterson of Charleston Southern University “Mississippi’s Forgotten Son: Billy Barton and his Journalistic Battle for Redemption in the Closed Society” and Felecia Jones Ross of The Ohio State University for “In Plain Sight: How the African-American Covered Extraordinary Women as Figures in the Community.”

    The Wally Eberhard Award for Outstanding Research Paper in Media and War went to Pat Washburn and Mike Sweeney of Ohio University for “Grand Jury Transcripts in the Chicago Tribune’s 1942 Espionage Act Case: What Is Missing Is Significant.” The runners-up were Dominique Trudel of University of Montreal for “Revisiting the Origins of Communication Research: Walter Lippmann’s WWII Adventure in Propaganda and Psychological Warfare”; Pamela Walck and Ashley Walter of Duquesne University for “Soaring Out of the Private Sphere: How Flyin’ Jenny and Her Comic Strip Helped Pioneer a New Path for Women’s Work During World War II”; and Scott Morton of Catawba College for “Hanoi Hannah and the Anti-War Movement: How the American Print Media Covered a Female Enemy Radio Propagandist Who Exploited U.S. Societal Unrest During the Vietnam War.”

    Elisabeth Fondren of Louisiana State University won the Jean Palmegiano Award for the Outstanding Research Paper on International/Transnational Journalism for “Publicizing Tragedy: The Sinking of the Lusitania As an International News Story.” Brendon Floyd of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville received the runner-up for “The Worst Kind of Democrats This Side of Hell”: John Daly Burk, the United Irishmen, the Federalist Party, and American Identity in the Early Republic.”

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