38th Annual AJHA Convention
Dallas, TX   |   Oct. 3-5, 2019

Convention contacts

Convention Coordinator
Caryl Cooper
University of Alabama

Registration Coordinator
Ken Ward
Lamar University

Program Coordinator
Aimee Edmondson

Ohio University

Convention hosts

Erika Pribanic-Smith
University of Texas at Arlington

Melita Garza
Texas Christian University

James Mueller
University of North Texas

Panel Abstracts

Hail to the Chiefs: Presidential Studies in the Lone Star State

Moderator: Erika Pribanic-Smith (Texas-Arlington)
Panelists: Liza Talbot (LBJ Library), Warren Finch (George H.W. Bush Library), Patrick Mordente (George W. Bush Library), Krishna Shenoy (The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza)

Texas has the distinction of being the only state with three presidential libraries. Documents and artifacts related to Texas native Lyndon Baines Johnson, including Presidential records from the Johnson White House donated by LBJ, reside in an archive and museum at the University of Texas in Austin. Though native New Englanders, the Bush family came to call Texas home. The George H.W. Bush Library (Bush 41) sits on the Texas A & M University campus in College Station, while the George W. Bush Library (Bush 43) is located at Southern Methodist University—just a few miles from our conference hotel. Additionally, Dallas is the site of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Located in the former Texas School Book Depository, The Sixth Floor Museum's Reading Room explores Kennedy’s life, death, and legacy within the context of 1960s history and culture. Representatives from all four of these facilities will discuss their holdings, with a special focus on materials of interest to journalism and mass communication historians

From Dallas to Dallas: Thirty-seven Years of Journalism History

Moderator: Ross Collins (North Dakota State)
Panelists: Maurine Beasley (Maryland, emerita), David Copeland (Elon), Mike Murray (Missouri-St. Louis), William David Sloan (Alabama, emeritus)

The 2019 American Journalism Historians Association convention brings us full circle: we are back in Dallas, the site of the first AJHA convention in 1982. To commemorate that, this year’s president’s panel brings together a group of some of AJHA’s most experienced scholars who can give us insights on time and change at AJHA. The questions to be discussed by panelists are general, but critical: What has changed in journalism history research between that first conference 37 years ago and today? Have methods changed? Has scholarship changed? Has the discipline grown? And, perhaps, what challenges do we continue to face as journalism/mass media historians?

American Journalism
Best Article Award Winners from the Past

Moderator: Vanessa Murphree (Southern Mississippi)
Panelists: Mike Conway (Indiana), Thomas A. Mascaro (Bowling Green), Cynthia Meyers (Mount St. Vincent), Michael Socolow (Maine)

Each year, an American Journalism committee selects the best article for that year. This panel features three recent winners. Mike Conway will discuss his Winter 2014 article “The Origins of Television’s ‘Anchor Man’: Cronkite, Swayze, and Journalism Boundary Work,” which demonstrates John Cameron Swayze’s place as television’s original anchor man. Thomas Mascaro is the author of “The Blood of Others: Television Documentary Journalism as Literary Engagement” (2018); the article employed an historical-critical method to establish criteria for engaged literature and identify documentaries that could be classified as such. Socolow received the award in 2016 for “‘A Nation-Wide Chain Within 60 Days’: Radio Network Failure in Early American Broadcasting,” which includes a trio of exceptional cases demonstrating early attempts to develop national broadcasting companies. This year's winner, Cynthia Meyers, will discuss her article “The March of Time Radio Docudrama: Time Magazine, BBDO, and Radio Sponsors, 1931-39.”

Unconventional History: Expanding Epistemologies, Digging into Data, and Crossing Disciplines in an Effort to Broaden the Field

Moderator: Patricia Piburn (Arizona State)
Panelists: Melissa Greene-Blye (Tennessee), Darryl Frazier (Wayne State), Rachael E. Vacanti (Ohio)

While an understanding of media history can provide context for many other areas of research, we must also recognize that other disciplines and the sources they use, can, in turn, provide context for our historical niche. This panel seeks to examine ways to broaden the spectrum of journalism history by pointing scholars toward sources that are currently overlooked or dismissed as not relevant to our particular field. Panelists will highlight some of the unique sources and perspectives they have incorporated into their research as a way of giving voice to otherwise marginalized groups with the hope of encouraging our discipline to continue to challenge itself to grow and evolve by embracing new approaches and perspectives within the field of journalism history.

The Media and Race: Representations and Imagery in War and Conflict

Moderator: Patrick Washburn (Ohio)
Panelists: Steve Hallcock (Point Park), Jinx Coleman Broussard (Louisiana State), Pamela E. Walck (Duquesne), Kathleen Wickham (Mississippi)

Four scholars will discuss media coverage and representation of race issues over the course of a century. Kathleen Wickham will explore the significance of symbols in the Southern United States since the Civil War, contrasting early 20th century efforts to memorialize Confederate veterans and redeem their loss through the prism of the “Lost Cause” with recent attempts to remove, contextualize, and replace such memorials throughout the South. Pamela Walck will discuss how the Pittsburgh Courier covered several major civil rights issues in the years leading up to America’s involvement in World War II—and how that set the stage for the black newspaper’s wildly popular Double Victory campaign. Jinx Broussard will demonstrate how the black press was one of the most effective forces in American society during World War II, reporting on one of the greatest stories from a racial perspective that sought to correct misrepresentation of black troops and tell the true story of their loyalty and valor. Steve Hallcock will examine how twelve major daily mainstream newspapers in the South, the North, and the West covered the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing—finding some striking differences in framing.

Start Spreading the (History of) News: Creative Strategies for Publicizing Media History Books

Moderator: Jane Marcellus (Middle Tennessee State)
Panelists: Nicholas Hirshon (William Paterson), Amber Roessner (Tennessee), Matthew Pressman (Seton Hall), Anne Farris Rosen (Maryland)

An author’s work does not end when their book hits the shelves. With university presses rarely spending much to promote new releases, media historians have turned to creative techniques to publicize their books in the academy and beyond through social media campaigns, news media coverage, and lectures to niche audiences. This panel will describe how authors can reach new readers and gain a higher profile by adopting proactive publicity methods. Panelists are the author of the following books: Nicholas Hirshon, We Want Fish Sticks: The Bizarre and Infamous Rebranding of the New York Islanders (University of Nebraska Press, 2018); Amber Roessner, Inventing Baseball Heroes: Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and the Sporting Press in America (LSU Press, 2014); Matthew Pressman, On Press: The Liberal Values That Shaped the News (Harvard University Press, 2018); Anne Farris Rosen, Deep South Dispatch: Memoir of a Civil Rights Journalist (University Press of Mississippi, 2018).

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