41st Annual AJHA Convention
Memphis, Tennessee   |   Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2022

Convention contacts

Convention Coordinator
Caryl Cooper
University of Alabama

Registration Coordinator

Patti Piburn

California Polytechnic State University

Program Coordinator
Tracy Lucht
Iowa State University

Convention hosts

Dianne Bragg

University of Alabama 

Robby Byrd
University of Memphis

Joe Hayden

University of Memphis

Jane Marcellus

Former professor at Middle Tennessee State University

Conference Sponsor

Special Events

  McEwen's Memphis is the site of the closing gala dinner. 

AJHA Awards Reception| Donna Allen Roundtable Luncheon| Gala Dinner

Sidney Kobre & Teaching Awards Luncheon ♦ Thursday, Sept. 29 
Included with registration

Attendees enjoy a plated, table service lunch as AJHA honors the winners of the Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History and the National Award for Excellence in Teaching.

AJHA's highest honor, the Kobre Award 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.

The Award for Excellence in Teaching honors a college or university teacher who excels at teaching in the areas of journalism and mass communication history, makes a positive impact on student learning, and offers an outstanding example for other educators.

Here is a link to the Awards page with information about this year's honorees.

Local Journalist Award Reception ♦ Thursday, Sept. 29
Included with registration
(sponsored by the University of Memphis Department of Journalism and Strategic Media)

AJHA annually bestows its Outstanding Local Journalist Award for Substantial Contribution to the Public Interest to a journalist local to the convention city whose work has had a positive impact on the community. The recipient serves as a featured speaker at the Thursday evening reception. Reception attendees enjoy hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar at this event.

This year's honoree is Otis Sanford.

Sanford holds the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, and is the author of the critically acclaimed book, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics,”  and co-author of “In A Colorful Place: Seasoned Opinion About Memphis, About Home, About Life. Sanford also serves as political analyst and commentator for WATN-TV Channel 24 News, writes a weekly political column for The Daily Memphian online news site and serves as political analyst for WKNO-FM, the National Public Radio in Memphis. Before joining the U of M in 2011, Sanford was editorial page editor and Viewpoint columnist for The Commercial Appeal, and formerly served as the paper’s managing editor.

A Mississippi native, Sanford is a 1975 journalism graduate of the University of Mississippi, and has more than 45 years of professional journalism experience, starting in 1975 at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. He joined The Commercial Appeal as a staff reporter in 1977, and moved to The Pittsburgh Press in 1987 as an assistant city editor. In 1992, he was named deputy city editor of the Detroit Free Press, and returned to The Commercial Appeal in 1994 as deputy managing editor.

In his current role at the University of Memphis, Sanford is a full-time faculty member and conducts various lectures and workshops both on and off campus on journalism, politics, the First Amendment and public policy. He also is a regular panelist for “ABC24 This Week,” a Sunday public affairs show on WATN-TV.

Sanford is past president of Associated Press Media Editors and past board chairman of the Mid-America Press Institute. He currently serves on the board of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and is immediate past president of the Memphis Rotary Club. Sanford is a nationally-recognized leader in newsroom management, diversity and journalism ethics. In 2014, he was inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. He is married to Rev. Dr. Elaine Sanford, founder and executive director of Her Faith Ministries and pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church.  

Donna Allen Roundtable Luncheon ♦ Friday, Sept. 30
Additional charge

The annual Donna Allen Luncheon celebrates contributions of women to the field of journalism. American Journalism Historians Association invites a woman journalist local to the convention city as its honored guest and featured speaker for the luncheon. Attendees enjoy a plated, table service lunch at this event.

This year's featured speaker is Wendi Thomas. She is the founding editor and publisher of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom in Memphis focused on poverty, power and public policy. 

In just five years, MLK50 has gone from a project staffed by scrappy freelancers to a full-fledged, award-winning newsroom committed to dismantling the status quo.

Previously Thomas was a metro columnist and assistant managing editor at The Commercial Appeal. She’s also been an editor at The Charlotte Observer, a reporter and editor at The (Nashville) Tennessean and a reporter at The Indianapolis Star. Thomas was a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

As part of ProPublica’s 2019 Local Reporting Network, she investigated a nonprofit hospital’s aggressive debt collection practices, which led the hospital to erase nearly $12 million in hospital debt for more than 5,300 defendants. The “Profiting from the Poor” series earned her the 2020 Selden Ring Award, first place in the 2019 Association of Health Care Journalists’ contest for business reporting, a first-place tie in the Investigative Reporters & Editors 2019 award and a 2020 Gerald Loeb Award, among other honors.

Other recent accolades include Memphis Theological Seminary’s Logan Stark legacy award, Butler University’s Alumni Achievement award, the National Association of Black Journalists’ Best Practices award and Journalism and Women Symposium’s Journalist of the Year. 

She’s a graduate of Butler University and a proud product of public schools.

Gala Dinner ♦ Sat., Oct. 1 ♦ McEwen's ♦ Departing from hotel lobby at 5:40 p.m.
Additional charge

The closing event for the annual AJHA convention enables attendees to network and reminisce over the convention's activities in a social setting. The Gala will be hosted by McEwen’s at 120 Monroe, a 10-minute walk from the conference hotel. With a restaurant, bar, and wine cellar, McEwen’s aims for a relaxed atmosphere and charming personality.

The menu features an eclectic blend of styles with the largest emphasis on Southern food raised to new and unusual heights. 

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