Molly Thacker, 2023 winner of the Margaret A. Blanchard Dissertation Prize

Margaret A. Blanchard Dissertation Prize

Submission Deadline: Feb. 15, 2024

The AJHA Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Prize, given for the first time in 1997, is awarded annually for the best doctoral dissertation dealing with mass communication history. An honorarium of $500 accompanies the prize, and a $200 honorarium is awarded to each honorable mention.

Eligible works shall include both quantitative and qualitative historical dissertations, written in English, which have been completed between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023. 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 December 31, 2023.

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

1. 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 2024 American Journalism Historians Association Annual Convention Oct. 3-5 in Pittsburgh, PA. 

2. A letter of nomination from the dissertation chair/director or the chair of the university department in which the dissertation was written.

3. 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.

    4. 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

    Direct any questions to Blanchard Prize Chair Pete Smith at

    Past Winners

    Click the year to view the program containing information on the winning dissertation and that year's honorable mentions.

    2023 Molly Thacker (Director: Katherine Benton-Cohen, Georgetown University)

    2022 Megan Menard McCune (Director: John Maxwell Hamilton, Louisiana State University)

    2021 David Stephen Bennett (Director: Michael Stamm, Michigan State University)

    2020 Amie Marsh Jones (Director: Janice Hume, University of Georgia)

    2019 Rich Shumate (Director: Huan Chen, Florida)

    2018 Kathryn McGarr (Director: Julian Zelizer, Princeton)

    2017 Matthew Pressman (Director: Bruce Schulman, Boston)

    2016 Vanessa Freije (Director: Jocelyn Olcott, Duke)

    2015 Carrie Teresa (Director: Carolyn Kitch, Temple)

    2014 Beth Kaszuba (Director: Ford Risley, Pennsylvania State)

    2013 Melita Marie Garza (Director: Barbara Friedman, North Carolina)

    2012 Brian Dolber (Director: Robert McChesney, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

    2011 Ira Chinoy (Director: Maurine Beasley, Maryland)

    2010 J. Duane Meeks (Director: Maurine Beasley, Maryland)

    2009 Richard K. Popp (Director: Carolyn Kitch, Temple)

    2008 Noah Arceneaux (Director: James Hamilton, Georgia)

    2007 Michael Stamm (Director: Neil Harris, Chicago)

    2006 Stacy Spaulding (Director: Maurine Beasley, Maryland)

    2005 Pete Smith (Director: Arthur Kaul, Southern Mississippi)

    2004 Guy Reel (Director: Patrick Washburn, Ohio)

    2003 Mark Feldstein (Director: Margaret Blanchard, North Carolina)

    2002 Marc Edge (Director: Patrick Washburn, Ohio)

    2001 Aleen J. Ratzleff (Director: Bernell Tripp, Florida)

    2000 Dale Zacher (Director: Patrick Washburn, Ohio)

    1999 Nora Hall (Director: Hazel Dicken Garcia, Minnesota)

    1998 David R. Davies (Director: David Sloan, Alabama)

    1997 Julie Hedgepeth Williams (Director: David Sloan, Alabama)

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