34th Annual AJHA Convention
Oklahoma City   |   Oct. 8-10, 2015

Panel Abstracts

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Origin Stories: Long-time Members Recall the Early Years of AJHA
Moderator: Erika Pribanic-Smith (Texas-Arlington)
Panelists: Mike Murray (Missouri-St. Louis), Alf Pratte (Brigham Young, retired), David Sloan (Alabama, retired), Leonard Teel (Georgia State, retired)

As a history organization, it is important to recall (or learn about) our own roots. To that end, President Erika Pribanic-Smith has invited individuals who became involved with AJHA in its infancy to share their recollections of the organization’s birth and development. Join them to hear stories about AJHA’s origins, and feel free to share your own memories of the early years of AJHA.

Journalist and Scholar Insights on the Oklahoma City Bombing
Moderator: Fred Blevens (Florida International)
Panelists: Jody Madeira (Indiana), Gwin Faulconer-Lippert (Oklahoma Broadcast Education Association), Kevin Johnson (USA Today)

At the spring meeting of the Council of Communication Associations, representatives agreed to start a program that would help member organizations collaborate more closely. Toward that end, we proposed to start the program with a panel proposal for the AJHA convention in Oklahoma City. The purpose of the panel is to explore the OKC bombing 20 years later, through the eyes of those who covered the event or who have studied it extensively.

The Challenges in Writing Recent History

Moderator: Terry Lueck (Akron, retired)
Panelists: Dave Davies (Southern Mississippi), Jim McPherson (Whitworth), Donna Lampkin Stephens (Central Arkansas)

Many historians have a strong interest in recent media history — but studying recent history presents issues that are not typical of most historical study, such as gaining access to privately held documents and separating the past from one’s concerns about contemporary events. This session addresses the variety of issues historians face when dealing with the recent past. The panelists will provide suggestions, based on their experiences and knowledge of historical research, about how to handle issues involved in studying recent history.

Crisis in the Discipline: Preserving our Research (and maybe AJHA) in the New JMC Environment
Moderator: Aimee Edmondson (Ohio)
Panelists: Sid Bedingfield (South Carolina), Janice Hume (Georgia), Earnest Perry (Missouri), Ford Risley (Penn State)

This panel considers the future of historical research in journalism and mass communication. Look around the room at any AJHA or AEJMC History Division event, and what do you see? A room filled with fiftysomethings, sixtysomethings, and seventysomethings. What will the state of media history scholarship be in 20 years? Will AJHA exist? The panelists hope to start a conversation that might provide insight and solutions to what they perceive is a crisis in the discipline.

Diverse Voices on the Plains
Moderator: Bill Huntzicker (St. Cloud State)
Panelists: Peggy Goertzen (Tabor), Amy Mattson Lauters (Minnesota-Mankato), Aleen Ratzlaff (Tabor)

Through specialized newspapers in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, writers from diverse backgrounds on the Plains addressed issues that were important to themselves and to their communities. This panel will focus on the unique perspectives of writers in three kinds of specialized newspapers: the farm press, German-language newspapers, and the black press. The panelists will explore the historical concept of parallel development, which challenges common understandings and mythologies regarding the American West.

‘If I Could Do It All Again’: Advice for New and Rising Journalism History Scholars
Moderator: Katie Beardsley (Temple)
Panelists: Meg Lamme (Alabama), Will Mari (Washington), Carrie Teresa (Niagara), Ken Ward (Ohio)

Researchers who study higher education have long noted that doctoral students and new faculty occupy “liminal spaces” in academic communities as they begin to develop professional identities and prepare to take on the social roles of researcher and educator. This panel provides an opportunity for discussion among junior and senior scholars regarding professional issues. What goals should graduate students and new faculty set for themselves with regard to research and teaching? How can those who are interested in media history strategically market themselves and their research for future academic positions? How should new faculty begin carving a niche for themselves as members of a particular campus community?

Toward a Standard for Evaluating Documentary Journalism History
Moderator: Mike Sweeney (Ohio)
Panelists: Mike Conway (Indiana), Raluca Cozma (Iowa State), Tom Mascaro (Bowling Green)

What makes a good documentary? What makes for good history about documentaries? This session addresses the need for consistent standards in judging the significance of journalistic documentaries and the histories written about them. The panel of three documentary historians will discuss possible standards for analyzing which of the thousands of network television documentaries merit historical attention and for evaluating historical studies of this important—but often neglected--genre.

Twenty Years Later: The Oklahoma City Bombing and Its Impact on Media Law
Moderator: Brett Johnson (Missouri)
Panelists: Jonathan Peters (Kansas); Stephen Jones, Jones, Otjen, & Davis; Robert Nelon (Hall & Estill); Paul Watler (Jackson & Walker)

This panel will explore the Dallas Morning News’ historic decision in 1997 to publish the alleged confession of Timothy McVeigh online before putting it in print because of concerns a judge might issue a restraining order to stop publication. The panel will consider the impact that decision has had on prior restraint of the press and on news organizations’ strategies for combating prior restraint orders. Taking up these issues will be a professionally diverse panel of scholars and practitioners with expertise in journalism history and media law.

Women in American Political History: Insights from a New Book Series
Moderator: Pam Parry (Eastern Kentucky)
Panelists: Maurine Beasley (Maryland, retired), Teri Finneman (South Dakota State), Wendy Melillo (American), Amber Roessner (Tennessee)

This panel seeks to advance the dialogue concerning the role of women in U.S. politics while also offering a look at the process of proposing and publishing a cohesive book series. The moderator is co-editor of a new book series that examines the contributions of influential women throughout the history of American politics. The panelists are authors in that series. Together, they hope to engage the audience in a historical discussion about women in politics, including first ladies, journalists, activists, and public relations practitioners.

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