Intelligencer is a blog featuring thoughtful essays on mass communication history teaching and research as well as highlighting the work of our members.

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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.

  • 11 Jul 2022 4:35 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    Anna E. Lindner (MA, Media Culture, and Communication, New York University) is a doctoral candidate in the Communication Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. A critical/cultural media historian, her dissertation focuses on how mediated discourses represent and are influenced by white supremacy, national/colonial identity, slavery, and resistance enacted by African descendants in mid-nineteenth-century Cuba. Her other research interests include formations of cultural identity, racialized linguistics and education, intersectional feminisms and queer studies, critical whiteness studies, and racial justice activism.

    Anna's paper "Race and Social Status: A Content Analysis of the Colonial Cuban Newspaper Gaceta de la Habana, 1849" is the top student paper in the History Division at this year's AEJMC conference.

    When and how did you first become involved in AJHA?

    In 2019, when I joined the Wayne State doctoral program, I started research with my advisor, Dr. Michael Fuhlhage, who has been an enthusiastic AJHA member for many years. After a year of looking at old Cuban newspapers, I presented our paper on William Walker’s filibustering campaign in Nicaragua at the 2020 AJHA convention, and I was able to meet several smart, supportive scholars who love what they do. In 2021, we presented our paper on representations of the Fugitive Slave Act in Detroit River borderlands newspapers, which won the Snorgrass minorities topic paper award and is currently under review for publication.

    How did you become interested in historical research?

    As a homeschooler, historical fiction was my favorite genre. This passion was solidified by the excellent history teachers I had in high school, especially when they encouraged civic engagement and framed history as a way to understand and pursue social justice, my other passion.

    Tell us about your award-winning paper for AEJMC History Division. What drew you to the topic? How does it fit in with your overall dissertation research?

    A history major in college who was involved in racial justice initiatives on campus, I focused on African diasporic and Latin American histories. My advisor, an Afro-Caribbeanist, encouraged me to study enslaved women in nineteenth-century Cuba—that was in 2015, and I’ve been studying African descendants in colonial diaspora ever since! I’m interested in how racial terms are deployed in colonial discourse, resulting in this project: a content analysis of 1849 issues of a Spanish colonial Cuban newspaper, Gaceta de la Habana. The paper feeds directly into my dissertation research on how the discourses of press stories, legal reports, and personal letters written by colonial authorities both construct the racialized “other” and reify institutional power and ideologies. 

    How does your historical knowledge inform your teaching of non-historical topics?

    I constantly (often unconsciously) ground phenomena, observations, examples, etc. in historical events. This impulse to contextualize, buttressed by attention to detail and the importance of making holistic arguments that try to account for as many factors as possible, makes me a better instructor and scholar.

    What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of academia?

    I’m still trying to determine what “life outside of work” might mean for me because I don’t have good work/life boundaries, but the main non-academic thing I do is exercise—I’m a certified personal trainer on the side and love being outside. Because I’m such an introvert, my attempts to be involved in activism have been more successful since I’ve been able to attend webinars and other events online and volunteer for tasks I can do remotely (and alone). I’m also very passionate about sleep and food, and enjoy music, gaming, and watching movies/TV shows (I only critique them as media objects about half of the time).
  • 15 Jun 2022 2:50 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    by Will Mari, Louisiana State University

    I wish I could say that I know what I’m doing when it comes to working with sources in media history. But that’s not entirely true—I’m still learning hard lessons about how to engage with challenging materials.

    Case in point: trade publications—including Editor & Publisher (recently digitized by, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Quill, and the UK-based Press Gazette—are rich and complex, sharing the values and beliefs of the journalism trade over the past century, but also its flaws and foibles. I’ve used them (among other sources, including memoirs, textbooks, correspondence, and archival material) to write two books for Routledge and one for the University of Missouri Press.

    They are problematic. Editor & Publisher, especially, represented the voices of owners (who were often publishers, as the name implies), as well as senior editors and other “newsroom bosses.” Rare is the presence of lower-level editors, women, and people of color until comparatively recently. As the comprehensive trade journal for the U.S. and arguably most of Canada, however, it is an important resource for any media historian, especially now that its contents are text-searchable from c. 1901 to 2015. What is important is thus not whether or not to use it, but how to use it. By itself, it tends to represent triumphant, majoritarian, anti-union, sometimes classist perspectives. And yet, it’s not quite that simple.

    Throughout the 1950s, for example, Editor & Publisher carried out a long crusade against government secrecy during the early Cold War and contained some of the first trenchant critiques of the handling of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist obsessions. Later on, the magazine was also interested, often critically, in coverage of newsroom integration efforts and the adoption of computers and later the internet in newsrooms. It’d be lazy to dismiss it, though perhaps too easy to embrace its managerial advocacy. Instead, it’s a messy, contingent source—in other words, the kind of historical record that reflects the reality of its time.

    This is true, too, of SPJ’s Quill, which retains a slightly scrappier, more rank-and-file orientation. Throughout the Great Depression, the publication was replete with how-to stories about how to leave journalism, and generally covered the unionization movement (led by the American Newspaper Guild) more fairly than Editor & Publisher. Many of its writers were college-educated, of course, but it was less worried about making powerful people happy and more interested in advocating for regular news workers.

    While it has not been digitized (though it should be!), many public libraries, especially university libraries (such as the University of Oregon) contain complete, bound-volume runs. I would encourage my colleagues to incorporate it in their projects. An added bonus—the tables of contents are fairly comprehensive, meaning that it’s relatively easy to skim. And beginning in the mid-1990s, it is at least partially online for those with university library access.

    Similarly, the UK Press Gazette, as well as the Columbia Journalism Review and the American Journalism Review, all have at least some online archives, especially from the 1990s and early 2000s onward, and often bound volumes can be found via interlibrary loan. I’d be happy to help you track down copies—please just reach out to me at my email address (members can find it in the AJHA directory).

    No one source is perfect, again, but trade publications tend to showcase the then-current thinking or best practices in journalism at certain points in time, and they can act as important meso-level sources for analyzing particular moments in media or journalism history, checking other, more regional sources, and tracing, perhaps more broadly, big trends in the field over time.

    I know from experience that they provide incomplete, or even clouded, pictures of journalism. However, for tracking the development of, for example, the use of radio cars in news coverage (something I talk about in my 2021 book), they are invaluable, and, in addition to stories, contain cartoons, photos, and illustrations. Editor & Publisher has been especially generous with allowing for re-publication of images in either books or articles—something that’s not always a guarantee.

    So, in sum, I would encourage folks to use trade publications early and often in their research, almost regardless of topical focus—they are complicated but rewarding sources.

    A former chair of the AEJMC History Division, Will Mari is an assistant professor of media history and media law at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. His book The American Newsroom: A History, 1920-1960 (2021) was a runner-up for this year's AJHA Book of Year Award.

    He also is the author of Newsrooms and the Disruption of the Internet: A Short History of Disruptive Technologies, 1990–2010 (2022) and A Short History of Disruptive Journalism Technologies (2019), covering the social-cultural history of the American newsroom during the interwar years and early Cold War.

  • 15 Jun 2022 2:32 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    Carolyn Kitch is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Journalism in the Department of Journalism and the Media and Communication Doctoral Program of Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication. She is this year's recipient of the Donald L. Shaw Senior Scholar Award, presented by the AEJMC History Division to honor a scholar who has a long record of excellence in media history. She has authored, co-authored, or co-edited five books as well as more than 70 journal articles, book chapters, and reviews--many of them focusing on memory studies.

    When and how did you first become involved with AJHA?

    When I began graduate school, I was in an American Studies master’s program, and I submitted a paper about Willa Cather’s journalism, not knowing if it – or I – would fit into this organization. My first conference was in London, Ontario and hosted by David Spencer, and when I met him, I knew that this was a special group. For 25 years that has remained true. The people in this organization are very supportive of each other’s research and very fun to be with. I now realize how lucky I was to find this kind of community early in my academic career, and I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made through AJHA.

    You are receiving AEJMC History's Shaw Senior Scholar award for your lengthy record of research excellence in the field. What drives you to remain active in media history research?

    We tend to think of historical research as documentary work, but it’s also a process of imagination, and that’s what keeps me invested. To me, historical media are portals to a sense of what it might have been like to live and work during a particular era. I’m also interested in longer-term questions of what media survive or disappear, and which people are remembered or forgotten. These are huge questions we can never fully answer, but they’re compelling. Fortunately, when I was starting out, my doctoral advisor, Patricia Bradley, not only allowed but encouraged me to ask broad questions about cultural history and to take interdisciplinary approaches to exploring them. Her work has been a valuable model for me. Don Shaw’s scholarship also was an inspiring example of wide-ranging curiosity.

    What do you believe is the importance of public memory as an area of historical inquiry?

    Public memory is a process through which people use ideas about the past in order to make sense of the present. Because this occurs in the present, it also affects the narratives we create to explain the present itself, including judgments about what is “newsworthy” now and should be retained for the future. And this process has occurred in every era, not just our own. So, over time, there is a layered relationship between memory construction and what survives as being seen as historically significant. That is a central concern of memory studies, but also deserves theoretical and methodological consideration in media history scholarship.

    How does your professional magazine background influence your research?

    I worked on staff at two magazines, McCall’s and Good Housekeeping, that were more than a century old. Among the office artwork were covers created by these magazines’ two most famous cover artists, Neysa McMein and Jessie Willcox Smith, both from the early-twentieth century. I liked those pictures because I liked history, and whenever there was some special feature or anniversary issue “looking back” on earlier eras, I was the one who happily headed down the hall to the room where all the bound volumes were. Those experiences ultimately led me to the subjects of my first two books, one about early-twentieth-century magazine illustration and the other about how current magazines construct historical memory. More generally, of course, my magazine experience inclined me to study magazines, a medium still under-represented in journalism history scholarship. 

    How do you incorporate your historical knowledge into your teaching of non-historical subjects?

    There are no non-historical subjects. Everything has a history, and we are in history. Whatever the subject, I try to ask “how” and “what if” and “why” questions to encourage students to think about how we ended up with the kinds of media we have, why certain people may have had more of a chance to shape those media, and what other options there might have been … and still could be. Usually those kinds of questions move the subject beyond media and into other aspects of life. With regard to recent events, we can’t help asking, “How could this have happened?” That question, seemingly about the pressing events of the present, opens the door for conversations about the past.

    What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of academia?

    Although this is no longer the case, for more than two decades I sang in choruses wherever I was living, and that experience shaped me in many ways. I also love theater, art, and travel, and after the past two years, I will never again take any of them for granted.
  • 15 Jun 2022 2:22 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    by Aimee Edmondson, President

    Noted media historian Hazel Dicken-Garcia mentored students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for 30 years.

    Now her name is attached to a new prize that the AJHA plans to award in perpetuity.

    This long-time AJHA member and friend bequeathed $22,664 to the organization upon her death in 2018, and the AJHA has been working to raise additional funds to get the total amount to at least $25,000 for the Hazel Dicken-Garcia Student Grant Award to be endowed and yield a fiduciary benefit of up to $1,000 annually. Donations toward the fund may be made here.

    With this plan, Dicken-Garcia's generous spirit will live on for generations of media historians. This financial goal is just a start. The AJHA leadership is now researching options for housing and growing the endowment. As more funds are raised, the annual prize money – and number of recipients – would increase along with it. 

    The Long-term Planning Committee developed a recommendation for the use of her gift, and the board approved that plan earlier this year. I then appointed an ad hoc Dicken-Garcia Award Committee to create specific language for the award criteria. This committee includes Amy Mattson Lauters, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jennifer E. Moore, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Kate Roberts Edenborg, University of Wisconsin-Stout; and Yong Volz, University of Missouri.

    Lauters knew Dicken-Garcia well as a long-time mentor and friend.

    “Hazel Dicken-Garcia mentored many graduate students in her career, and I think she would be happy to know the legacy she left to AJHA will assist young scholars with their research,” Lauters said. “She valued research that added to our understanding of media history, particularly as it relates to the wide variety of diverse cultures and people whose contributions to that history have been understudied. I’m thrilled that this grant will help support future research in her honor.” 

    The Dicken-Garcia Award Committee has generated a call that the AJHA leadership plans to release in 2023. Specifically, this research grant is intended to provide financial assistance to students whose work embodies Dicken-Garcia’s scholarly interests in media history. Preference will be given to scholars researching in the following areas: 19th and 20th century journalism standards, equity issues and the media, gender, identity and the media, media and journalism ethics, international communication, Civil War journalism, free expression/First Amendment.

    To be eligible for the grant, awardees must be a current AJHA member upon submitting their applications, and they must continue their membership through the grant period. The funds may be used any time during the subsequent 12 months for travel or other research-related expenses, but not for salary.

    Many thanks to the Long-Term Planning Committee and the Dicken-Garcia Award Committee for their work on this project. 

    Stay tuned to the Intelligencer for updates on this issue. Meanwhile please feel free to reach out to me at with any feedback regarding the use of the Dicken-Garcia gift.
  • 15 May 2022 4:28 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    The steering committee of the Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression invites papers that specifically explore spiritualism and other supernatural themes as they appeared in the 19th century press. Following the 2022 Symposium, we will begin pulling together work for a book, Telling Ghost Stories: Spiritualism and the Supernatural in the 19th Century Press. Conference papers on this theme will be considered for inclusion.

    Spiritualism, an important social and religious movement that saw great popularity between the 1840s and the 1920s, began after two young sisters in New York claimed spirits were trying to communicate with them. Their story caught on and so did spiritualism. A little more than decade later the Civil War and its eventual devastation and death increased spiritualism’s popularity among those seeking to reconnect with dead loved ones, including Mary Todd Lincoln. By the late 1890s, it had some 8 million followers between the U.S. and Europe, many of whom were wealthy women of a reform bent. The movement spawned specialty newspapers like The Light published by the London Spiritualist Alliance, the Banner of Light published in Boston, the Spiritualist of London, and others. It also spawned skeptical reactions from journalists and authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle and William T. Stead.

    Papers may be any methodology and deal with any period within the 19th century. They must keep their focus on how newspapers, magazines or other periodicals covered the spiritualist movement, journalists who were involved in the movement, spiritualist or other religious media that dealt with the subject, or any other topic that focuses on the press and the supernatural.

    This call is looking for 19th-century press research on spiritualism or any ghost stories found in the 19th century newspapers. As related topics, any press research on gothic themes where the setting is “desolate or remote” and where the macabre, mysterious, or violent” took place is welcome and encouraged.

    Debbie van Tuyll
    Professor Emerita
    Augusta University

    See the full call for the Symposium on the 19th Century Press below:

    The steering committee of the thirtieth 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, sensationalism and crime in 19th century newspapers, and the antebellum press and the causes of the Civil War. Selected papers will be presented during the conference Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 3–5, 2022. The top three papers and the top three student papers will be honored accordingly.

    The Symposium will be conducted via ZOOM (for both speakers and participants). If possible, it will also be conducted in person.

    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 and panel presentations on the Civil War and the press, presidents and the 19th century press, news reports of 19th century epidemics, coverage of immigrants, African Americans, and Native Americans, and 19th century spiritualism and ghost stories. Since 2000, the Symposium has produced eight distinctly different books of readings: The Civil War and the Press (2000); 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); Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press (2009); Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting (2013); A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War (2014); After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900 (2017); and The Antebellum Press: Setting the Stage for Civil War (2019). The panel presentations from the 2020 Symposium were recorded and aired on C-SPAN.

    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 by August 26, 2022.

    For more information, please contact:

    Dr. David Sachsman
    George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs, Dept. 3003
    The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

  • 15 May 2022 3:09 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    by Rob Wells, University of Maryland

    There are times when a research project finds you.

    That sense of inevitability has been ever present in my work on journalist Willard Kiplinger, creator of the iconic personal finance magazine and political newsletter. It began as a request to write a short entry in American National Biography. I thought a Kiplinger article would complement my existing research on the trade press, and so I contacted the journalist’s grandson and an heir to the publishing enterprise, Knight Kiplinger, to verify a few basic details. That call lasted one and one-half hours.

    Had anyone written a book about Willard Kiplinger’s career, I asked? Except for some internal histories, not really, Knight Kiplinger said.

    “I have a copy of my grandfather’s unpublished memoirs and an unpublished company history,” Knight Kiplinger told me. “Would you like to see them?”

    This story was ready to be told, and I was now in position to do it. Over the next few years, I obtained thousands of documents from the Kiplinger family files and supplemented that with research from the Hoover Institution at Stanford, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and other assorted university archives.

    I was the first outside historian to examine the inner workings of a publishing enterprise that set a standard for quality personal finance journalism and political reporting for business leaders. The Kiplinger business and personal archives, located in a 19th century farmhouse outside of Washington, D.C., is a treasure trove of primary source material. I viewed and copied original correspondence between Kiplinger and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Joseph Kennedy, Henry Morgenthau and many others. 

    The results of this project, The Insider: How the Kiplinger Newsletter Bridged Washington and Wall Street, will be published this fall by the University of Massachusetts Press. The book argues that Kiplinger was an influential player in journalism and politics during the New Deal, a link between the worlds of Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt. The McKerns Research Grant gave me the resources to help pull this project together, especially during the pandemic.

    Initially, I had planned to use the funds for research travel, but the Covid-19 pandemic made that difficult. The funds, however, provided me with the means to acquire documents from archives in other states. I soon realized my research problem was not one of document acquisition but instead one of document synthesis.

    I used the funds to hire a talented graduate assistant, Matthew Moore at the University of Arkansas, who helped organize and categorize a significant corpus of material from competing publications, such as Business Week, Fortune, and the business section of The New York Times. Moore helped categorize a fat scrapbook of Kiplinger’s public appearances in the 1920s and 1930s so I could create a data visualization demonstrating the journalist’s influence in the public sphere. The funds allowed me to hire researcher Julie Schapiro, who manages the Kiplinger archives, to conduct a series of highly specialized document searches for business leader correspondence.

    This process of synthesis, and discussions with my editor Kathy Roberts Forde, led to some important insights about the role business journalism can play in democracy. I found how Kiplinger helped advance democracy and the rise of modern capitalism by arguing that corporations needed new regulatory structures to curtail their power. Kiplinger’s influential commentary came during the depths of the Great Depression, when the very notion of free markets and the future of capitalism were being questioned. Rather than pander to his business audience, Kiplinger repeatedly told these senior corporate leaders that a new order was in place. Laissez-faire economics was dead, and regulation was necessary, he argued.

    I believe this book makes an important contribution to the field of journalism history, and I am very grateful to the American Journalism Historians Association for supporting this work.   


    • Willard Kiplinger at typewriter, circa 1930. Photo courtesy Knight Kiplinger.
    • A 1931 letter from then-New York Gov. Franklin Roosevelt to Willard Kiplinger. The Kiplinger archives holds original correspondence with political and business leaders. Photo by Rob Wells.
    • Willard Kiplinger’s well-used Underwood typewriter. This is one of the many artifacts in the Kiplinger family archives. Photo by Rob Wells.

    Rob Wells is a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Maryland. He received a Joseph McKerns Research Grant in 2020. Applications for 2022 McKerns Grants are due June 15; see the McKerns page for details.

  • 15 May 2022 2:54 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    by Mike Conway, First Vice-President

    Get ready to dig through your bookshelves and private archives because the AJHA Media History Auction is back! We are resurrecting one of the most popular parts of the AJHA experience for our Memphis conference this September. Just as before, all money raised from the auction goes directly to graduate student conference travel, a major part of the revenue needed for the new Michael S. Sweeney Graduate Student Travel Stipend.

    We are looking for your historic books, newspapers, magazines, and broadsheets. We want your newspaper, radio, television, online and political ephemera--including coffee cups, glasses, calendars, t-shirts, and whatever you are willing to donate to the AJHA auction.  But let’s not stop there. What else do you think someone would bid on to help our graduate students? How about gear from your university? How about products from your town that you can’t get anywhere else? At least one person is thinking about donating a bottle of whiskey from their part of the world.

    The new AJHA Auction will be a bit different from the old version, at least for the first year. We are going to list the auction items on an online bidding platform before and during the conference, much like a silent auction. We plan to have the items on display in Memphis (space permitting) and then turn them over to the winning bidders before the end of the conference. So instead of having the auction confined to a couple of hours at the conference, you will be able to look at the auction items online before you get to Memphis. Once you are at the conference, you can see the actual items and keep track of the bidding, finally paying online and receiving your prize at following the AJHA business meeting on Saturday.

    Even though we are using an online bidding platform, you do need to physically drop off and pick up all auction items at the AJHA Conference in Memphis. We will not be shipping any auction items.

    As soon as you have identified something for the AJHA auction, please take a photo of that item for the auction site. Go to the home page of the AJHA website and you will see a link for the auction. To fill out that form, you will need a photo of the item and a suggested starting bid. We will then create an entry on our online auction site.

    Please note that each item will have its own listing on the auction site, so please take a separate photo of each item you plan to donate and fill out a separate form for each item. Forms must be submitted by Aug. 1.

    To get you thinking about what you can donate for the AJHA auction, here are a few early entries. Jason Guthrie is offering up a 1976 New Times with Jimmy Carter and Gregg Allman on the cover. Gerry Lanosga is donating journalism media spanning four centuries, including a 1720 London Gazette (pictured), an 1858 Godey’s Lady Book, an 1877 Harper’s Weekly, a 1949 Quick News Weekly, and a 21st Century page of stamps honoring American journalists including Martha Gelhorn and Eric Sevareid.

    The AJHA Memphis Conference is Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2022. The deadline for paper and panel submissions is June 1, 2022. Looking for more reasons to join us in Memphis? Here are some of the highlights from AJHA President and former Memphis journalist Aimee Edmondson.

    If you can’t make it to Memphis this year, you can always support our graduate students through a donation to the Michael S. Sweeney Graduate Student Travel Stipend, which is located on the Donate page on the AJHA website. 

    This year, we are offering a $400 travel stipend for graduate students on the conference program for Memphis who plan to attend the duration of the conference and agree to work a set number of hours at the registration/auction table. This generous amount is possible because of the money raised from the donation suggestion in Dr. Sweeney’s obituary earlier this year. AJHA has agreed to make up whatever extra money may be needed for 2022. The amount of the travel stipend for 2023 will be dependent on how much money we raise through the auction and the Donate section of our website in Mike Sweeney’s name.

    Doctoral student Claire Rounkles of the University of Missouri is our Graduate Student Committee Chairperson, and she is always looking for more graduate students to help out on her committee. You can reach Claire at

    For more information on the AJHA Auction online site, contact Jason Guthrie at Other committee members are Gerry Lanosga, Michael Fuhlhage, Erin Coyle, and myself

  • 15 May 2022 2:27 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    AJHA Graduate Student Chair Claire Rounkles is a doctoral student studying media history at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she also earned her bachelor's degree. Rounkles received the AEJMC History Division's 2020 Hazel Dicken-Garcia Award for Outstanding Master's Thesis for her work completed at Ohio University under the direction of Aimee Edmondson and Mike Sweeney.

    When and how did you first become involved with AJHA?

    I became active with AJHA in 2017 at the national convention in Little Rock, Arkansas. As an undergrad at the time, it was my first academic conference. Earlier that year, I submitted my first research paper. It, unfortunately, was not accepted, but the conference was a great learning experience as a first-time scholar. At the conference, I was welcomed by the grad students and encouraged to volunteer at the conference where I met so many welcoming faculty, historians, and mentors. A couple of the grad students I met, Bailey Dick and Ken Ward, encouraged me to apply to Ohio University, which was the beginning of my academic journey.

    Why do you think AJHA is a good organization for students?

    As a young scholar, you often hear horror stories of entering academic spaces and not feeling welcomed. AJHA is exactly the opposite. I’ve attended many in-person and online conferences with AJHA and feel just as welcomed as I did as an undergraduate student during my first conference. Throughout my time in AJHA, I have also found many mentors and possible collaborators in research. There are also many opportunities to expand and grow with leadership opportunities.

    What is the importance of studying topics such as lynching and racial bias in the media?

    It is important to study hard topics such as lynching and racial bias in journalism because journalists are not objective bystanders but rather actors who are critical to the social voice regarding the coverage of these topics. Just as the profession of journalism has improved and grown, it’s crucial to address the wrongs of the past. By specifically focusing on the horrific nature of lynching coverage, I hope to restore the stories of these lynchings to our history and bring to light the faults of journalism's coverage of these murders. I also hope to shed light on the work of local Black journalists who actively worked in the anti-lynching movement.

    How does your emphasis on photojournalism and visual communication intersect with your historical research?

    Before I decided to have a career in academia and research, my original goal in life was to become a photojournalist. This background in photojournalism has encouraged me to expand my research to incorporate more visual components. Throughout my experience working as a photographer and photo editor, I learned about the disparities in covering minority communities and people of color. Because everything comes from a cultivated historical past, I wanted to know how these issues became so predominant in the practice of photojournalism.

    What can you tell us about any projects you're working on now?

    Currently, I am starting research for my dissertation. I have created a database of Black newspapers published in the American Midwest. There are around 702 Black newspapers found, and over 12,300 article hits were found concerning lynching. This database is the base of the data available for my dissertation research which will explore the timeline of the anti-lynching movement in the Midwest Black Press.

    What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of academia?

    Outside of academia, I still use my skills as a historian to help with community projects. In 2019 I started the groundwork for an initiative to restore two historically Black cemeteries in Chillicothe, Missouri. In the summer of 2020, this initiative took off with the Chillicothe high school and local volunteers. This passion project has led to a new project documenting Black veterans whose records have been lost. Besides working with community organizations, I enjoy gardening on my family’s farm and antiquing.

  • 15 May 2022 11:30 AM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    AJHA and the AEJMC History Division hosted a successful virtual Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference on Friday, May 13.

    Twenty-two scholars from universities on three continents participated in four research panels on Zoom. (See the full program.) Among the presenters was Jodi McFarland Friedman, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, whose paper "'Mystery People': Tri-Racial Isolate Newspaper Coverage and Conceptions of Race from 1880-1943" received the Elliot King Award for outstanding research presented at the conference.

    Additionally, Kathy Roberts Forde (pictured) and Sid Bedingfield, editors of the book Journalism and Jim Crow, joined with two of the book's contributors on a keynote panel. 

    Seventy people registered for the conference. According to conference co-coordinator A.J. Bauer, most sessions had at least 30 attendees at their peak.

    Bauer said that he and fellow coordinators Matthew Pressman and Rich Shumate appreciated moderators Forde, Erin Coyle, and Meg Heckman volunteering their time to help the event run smoothly.

    "Although virtual, JJCHC this year gave me an opportunity to share space with folks I'd only ever communicated with via email," Bauer said. "While I can't wait to meet these colleagues in person, it was a treat to be able to share virtual space with them."

    Pressman said it was terrific to see the high level of enthusiasm and high quality of work among the presenters and attendees.

    "That shows me that JJCHC is still thriving, despite having been canceled in 2021 and switching to virtual at the last minute in 2020," Pressman said. "I am eager to see it return to an in-person conference in New York City in 2023."

  • 18 Apr 2022 3:29 PM | Erika Pribanic-Smith (Administrator)

    AJHA Scholars Offer Advice to Graduate Students and Faculty on Media History Projects

    by Mike Conway (First Vice-President), Indiana University

    American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA) Research Chair Gerry Lanosga (Indiana University) said the project abstract is a good place to start to judge the clarity of your manuscript.

    "If you have trouble distilling your idea into an abstract,” said Lanosga, “if your abstract is muddled, your paper is going to be muddled.”

    Lanosga was one of the panelists for an online conference paper workshop AJHA offered to help graduate students and faculty who would like to submit manuscripts to the 41st annual AJHA Conference, which will be in Memphis, TN, Sept. 27 to Oct. 1. The submission deadline is June 1.

    Graduate Student Committee Chair Claire Rounkles (Missouri) produced and moderated the hour-long Zoom session on April 15.

    Previous Research Chair Erin Coyle (Temple University) told the workshop participants that AJHA seeks research that goes beyond what the organization's name might imply. Even though American Journalism is in the name, AJHA encourages international research.

    Coyle added, “We say AJHA defines journalism ‘broadly,’” meaning that your project could involve newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, cable, satellite and online platforms. AJHA also includes advertising and public relations under its overall attention to media.

    Panelist Michael Fuhlhage (Wayne State University), past AJHA research chair, said you want to think about your historical evidence and arguments. Fuhlhage said, “It’s a combination of what you’ve gathered and the ways you interpret that evidence.”

    He also said he tells his students that the purpose of a research project can easily get lost. “I’m not shy about telling them ‘I want you to hit the reviewer over the head with a statement of what your topic is.’”

    For students looking for examples of great historical research writing, the panelists mentioned five journalism history scholars with different, but effective, writing styles:  Jinx Broussard (LSU), Elisabeth Fondren (St. John’s), Patrick Washburn (Ohio), the late Michael S. Sweeney (Ohio), and Tom Mascaro (Bowling Green State University). They were encouraged to look for those scholars’ articles in American Journalism or Journalism History to see how they crafted their projects.

    The panelists told the workshop participants to pay attention to the specific rules for any conference paper competition because you don’t want to have your work rejected on a technicality. AJHA is unique among conferences because it allows up to 25 manuscript pages, not counting the endnotes.

    AJHA President Aimee Edmondson (Ohio) encouraged the students--and faculty--to submit research for our conference in Memphis, where she worked for almost a decade at the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. She said the workshop is “just one example of the spirit of AJHA that attracted me to it.” Edmondson recalled her first AJHA conference: “I really found my people because they were so kind and helpful.”

    Edmondson listed many historical and culinary reasons to attend the AJHA Memphis Conference in a recent Intelligencer article.

    This is the first year that students will be eligible for the Michael S. Sweeney Graduate Student Travel Stipend if their work selected for the AJHA Conference. The Sweeney Stipend for 2022 is $400.

    AJHA is also reviving the popular auction of media history items. We’ll have more details on that in the coming months.


    If you missed the AJHA Graduate Student Workshop, AJHA recorded the session.

    If you have a question about the conference paper competition, contact Gerry Lanosga (

    If you would like to get involved in the AJHA Graduate Student Committee, contact Claire Rounkles (

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