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.

  • 14 Feb 2018 9:01 PM | Dane Claussen

    By Elisabeth Fondren
    Ph.D. Candidate in Media & Public Affairs, Louisiana State University 

    Who would have thought? On a late August night, I was chasing run-off chickens that were supposed to be sleeping in the front yard of my Airbnb cottage. Someone had left the gate open and the chickens had wandered off into the street. Thankfully, the Palo Alto moon was a bright one that night. I caught them all, feeling thrilled.  

    This year has also been thrilling in other ways. While I am working on my dissertation – an institutional history of German wartime media governance – I often reflect on the places I was able to visit for my research, and the memories I made. 

    Funding for travel, conference participation and research trips can be a headache, especially for mass communication graduate students. In fact, the participation in national conventions, let alone archival research, often depends on whether our departments and universities will support these trips. I know that AJHA’s support of graduate students’ work – through peer-reviewed comments, encouragement, research paper awards, and helping to pay for travel costs – has been instrumental in my professional development and research.

    At LSU, Dr. Erin Coyle first told me about AJHA and the warm, collegial atmosphere that especially welcomes graduate students and young scholars. After my participation in two conferences in Little Rock and St. Petersburg, I completely agree with her. And I am already looking forward to presenting my paper on “the laws of propaganda” with my committee chair John Maxwell Hamilton at the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference in New York City in March 2018.

    This last fall, I taught an undergraduate class in American media history. Throughout the semester, we explored how a historical perspective can help to provide context for the current state of media, the pressures on free speech (from government, industry, economy, culture) and the ethical challenges of journalists. Both Dr. Coyle and Dr. Broussard guided me when it came time to write my syllabus, conceptualize assignments, and they shared their expertise with my students in class. One of my favorite days was introducing the students to working with primary sources and historical artifacts. The vast collection at LSU’s Hill Memorial Library allowed us to take a first-hand look at Louisiana’s diverse press during the American Civil War. The students analyzed personal letters, advertisements, Louisiana partisan editorials, stories written on the Union occupation of New Orleans, news printed on ornate wallpaper, and French and German immigrant papers.

    For my dissertation research, I was fortunate to spend three months in Germany to work at various political and diplomatic archives in Berlin, Potsdam and Freiburg. The archival sources on government plans for propaganda and censorship in Germany between 1914 and 1918 were overwhelming. One highlight was finding an unopened letter from 1917, sent by a German correspondent in China who was writing to the German foreign office about the “success” of their propaganda strategies abroad. “These are the fun moments,” said the friendly man at the Foreign Office Archive’s reference desk. I watched him cut through the wax stamp, and he let me open the 100-year old brown letter. 

    I also had the opportunity to work at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Library and Archives this summer. This archive is a terrific resource for scholars researching political history, war, propaganda, and peace in the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection features international and U.S. records from both World Wars as well as the Cold War period. During my time at the Hoover Archives, I reviewed papers by U.S. diplomats and journalists working for the government as well as materials of the Captured German Records.

    January, for a final trip for my dissertation, took me to the Library of Congress and the National Archives in Washington D.C. where I worked on U.S. World War I records. I would like to encourage other graduate students to seek funding opportunities and fellowships (many organizations advertise these up to a year in advance) through their institutions, doctoral summer schools, national organizations and archives.

    I have been fortunate that LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and other institutions have provided me with these opportunities. Thank you very much to the American Journalism Historians Association and all members for your sincere support, interest, encouragement, and review of graduate students’ research and their teaching development. 


    Fondren won the Jean Palmegiano Award for Outstanding International/Transnational Journalism History Research at the AJHA annual convention in Little Rock in 2017. She was awarded the Wally Eberhard Award for Outstanding Research in Media and War, and the Robert Lance Memorial Award for the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper at the AJHA annual convention in St. Petersburg in 2016.

  • 14 Feb 2018 8:51 PM | Dane Claussen

    This story is the first in a series of three oral histories conducted by the Oral History Committee in 2017.

    By Teri Finneman

    Kathleen Endres once received one of the greatest Christmas gifts ever for a journalism historian.

    Concerned about how late she was staying at the library, her parents bought her a microfilm machine to have at home.

    “What a thoughtful gift,” she said.

    Since then, she’s added to her home collection a microfiche machine no longer wanted by a library, thereby creating a true historian haven.

    Endres, who won AJHA’s Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2017, is a distinguished professor at the University of Akron and one of three members chosen in 2017 by the Oral History Committee for in-depth interviews.

    Endres has a special fondness for AJHA, of which she’s been a member for 35 years. The academic conference was her first, and she still recalls her excitement when she learned such an organization existed.

    “I thought that was really cool because that [being a journalism historian] was what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. “I mean, truly, that’s all I wanted to be when I grew up.”

    She submitted a paper on abortion advertising, received an acceptance and “the rest is history.” She’s attended almost every convention since and served in various leadership positions within the organization. This includes serving on the board and committees and organizing auctions and historic tours.

    She thinks AJHA plays an important role in supporting media history.

    “I think it’s a really important forum for people to discuss ideas and cooperate with each other, give each other support, bring a new generation of journalism historians in, support these new people, support journalism history in general,” Endres said.

    Endres is originally from Toledo, Ohio, and attended college at the University of Toledo. She received her master’s degree from the University of Maryland and her Ph.D. from Kent State.

    Her journalism career focused on business reporting for publications such as Datamation magazine and Rubber & Plastics News

    She made the transition from industry to academia due to her love of research. Throughout her career, she has written or edited six books and one monograph, as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles. 

    “I love history, and it’s really interesting because when I was working on my Ph.D., which is in history, I had always planned on being a journalism historian – much to the chagrin of my adviser and many of my teachers. They thought I’d be better off in history,” Endres said.

    Endres started out studying the history of business journalism and trade publications, but also has conducted research related to women and to magazine history. Recently, she’s focused on the release of her documentary, “BLIMP! Sports, Broadcasting and the Goodyear Airship.”

    She thinks there’s been a recent renewal of interest in history by the public and has been pleased to see the level of enthusiasm among her students. From her own days as a student until now, she’s come to appreciate the amount of concentration and time required to do history well.

    For Endres, winning AJHA’s lifetime achievement award was a tremendous honor from a group of peers who have become like family.

    “This is my academic home,” she said, adding a touch of humor: “I know where all the skeletons are here, or many of them.”

    Stay tuned for the next interviews in this year’s series with Bernell Tripp and Jinx Broussard.

  • 14 Feb 2018 8:32 PM | Dane Claussen

    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

    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

    (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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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