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



Panel Abstracts

President’s Panel

This session brings together a diverse group of noted scholars to discuss incorporating theory and interdisciplinary insights into the study of media history, offering concrete examples of how we might look outside of our field for ways to better understand our own research questions and help formulate new ones. This panel is designed to help attendees think more about the bigger “so what” in their research and how it fits into a broader body of knowledge beyond media history. This could include social and cultural history, legal history, and book history as well as a wide range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks to aid our study of communication and journalism in democratic societies. Panelists’ work suggests other historical forces and conceptual frameworks that help provide fuller, more viable explanations to substantive questions throughout American history.


Panelists:

Carolyn Kitch is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Journalism in the Department of Journalism and the Media and Communication Doctoral Program of Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication. 

 

She will discuss cultural history and the arts as well as new kinds of interpretation in public history. Today and in the past, artistic representation and commentary have been able to “say” things about social problems in ways that are often more powerful and truthful than journalism. These other histories offer inspiration for how media historians could ask new kinds of questions about the past and how we might think about evidence and historical truth differently.

 

The author of The Girl on the Magazine Cover, Kitch has explored visual stereotypes in mass media through a feminist lens, revealing the origins of gender stereotypes in early twentieth century American culture and how magazines created a visual vocabulary for understanding femininity and masculinity, as well as class status. She also has connected memory studies to media and social change in a variety of ways. Her work in this area has expanded in recent years to explore public memory in places like memorials and museums.

 

Michael Stamm is the professor and chair of the department of History, Michigan State University.

This political and cultural historian specializes in media and journalism history. He has published on such topics as the political economy of news, the materiality of media, the relationship between sound and print, grassroots media reform campaigns, the intellectual history of communication theory, and religious broadcasting. His work is international in scope and, notably, incorporates insights from environmental history. 

 

His book, Dead Tree Media: Manufacturing the Newspaper in  Twentieth-Century North America, for example, is a history of the rise and fall of both the mass circulation printed newspaper and the particular kind of corporation in the newspaper business that shaped many aspects of the cultural, political, and even physical landscape of North America. It is a history of the printed newspaper tracing its production from the forest to the reader. Popular assessments of printed newspapers have become so grim that some have taken to calling them “dead tree media” as a way of invoking an idea of the medium’s demise. Dead Tree Media explores the literal truth hidden in this dismissive expression: printed newspapers really are material goods made from trees. And, in the twentieth century, the overwhelming majority the trees cut down in the service of printing newspapers in the United States were in Canada. Dead Tree Media is an international history of these commodity chains connecting Canadian trees and US readers. 

 

Melissa Greene-Blye (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma), is an assistant professor University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Jared Nally (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma) is a graduate student at Miami University (Ohio). 

 

These two scholars worked together to offer a particular example of interdisciplinary work through their study of American Indian boarding school newspapers’ significant role in the overall historiography of such institutions. Greene-Blye and Nally’s research focuses on the literary traditions that American Indian boarding school assimilation narratives draw from. They situate such assimilation narratives among America’s literary history and illustrate a connection to components found in both assimilation narratives and American captivity narratives. They further scholars’ understanding of these key sources about America’s era of off-reservation boarding schools through a propagandist narrative lens contextualized as part of early American literature as well as the lens of transnational conflict.

Panel Session: Historical “Scoops’’: How Reporters Use the Archive to Avoid Ahistorical Journalism (and Why Journalism Students Should Care)    

Moderator: Denise Hill, Elon University

Panelists:

  • Lorraine Ahearn, Elon University    

  • John Archibald, Alabama Media Group

  • Roy S. Johnson, Alabama Media Group

Even as American journalism’s 24/7 news cycle tends to race past historical context and perspective, the flip side is that digitization, database reporting, and dogged, low-tech archival research has enabled reporters to break historical scoops—including from news organizations’ own morgues. Ahearn will discuss how journalists use archives to reveal history hidden by the mainstream, and why historical methods are fundamental to journalism education. The panelists from Alabama media group will explain how they used archival research, both from the Birmingham News archive and public records, to report the series “Unjustifiable,” which won the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism. Produced in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and amid the Black Lives Matter movement, the investigative series and podcast revisited not only the 1979 police killing of Bonita Carter, 20, an event that led to sweeping change in Birmingham; Archibald’s reporting also documented some 500 police killings in Birmingham and its surrounding county during the twentieth century. 

Panel Session: Teaching History that Matters, Outside of the Box   

Moderator: Jason Lee Guthrie, Clayton State University

Panelists:

  • Janice Hume, University of Georgia

  • Amber Roessner, University of Tennessee

  • Michael Fuhlhage, Wayne State University

  • Bailey Dick, Bowling Green State University   

"Experiential" and "active" have become academic buzzwords, and media history professors must think outside the box when developing courses. These panelists will share unique projects that bring journalism history to life for students in and out of the classroom. Panel attendees will be invited to do the same in the Q&A. Topics to be discussed include using “reacting games” as teaching tools in media history; using social media at research products; and in-depth analysis using primary sources.

Panel discussion: Hollering in the Broadcast Wilderness: Black Radio in the Deep, Deep South, 1940-1979    

Moderator: Caryl Cooper (emerita), University of Alabama

Panelists:

  • Earnest Perry, University of Missouri

  • Cathy M. Jackson, Norfolk State University

  • Marquita Smith, University of Mississippi

  • Lillie Mae Fears, Arkansas State University    

The 100th anniversary of Black radio (1920-2022) has come and gone. The industry’s history is replete with its key role as a lightning rod for equality and freedom from discrimination, and as a conduit for African American culture. But research remains undone, especially of how such radio stations and its personnel functioned in an environment steeped in the promise of the Civil Rights Movement yet mired in overt racism. This faculty panel will explore research designed to provide a more in-depth look at subjects not fully explored by previous scholarship. Topics include how HBCU covered Civil Rights issues and pivotal events occurring on their campuses, the stories aired, and whether there was administration naysaying or encouragement; Black part-time deejays who played R&B music on white-owned radio stations; and role of Black radio in religious programming in the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. 

President's Panel: Details to come. 

Local Panel: The Teen Appeal: How the Commercial Appeal, the University of Memphis, and Memphis City Schools Partnered to Publish a Citywide High School Newspaper

Moderator: Dianne Bragg, University of Alabama, former Teen Appeal coordinator

Panelists:

  • Otis Sanford, University of Memphis, Daily Memphian columnist

  • April Thompson, Grizzlies Prep Charter School, former Teen Appeal student staff member 

  • Tyrone (Tony) Reed, podcast host, producer, and author, former Teen Appeal student staff member

  • Marcus Matthews, Memphis City Schools, former Teen Appeal student staff member

  • Caleb Calhoun, USA Today and FanSided, former Teen Appeal student staff member 

In 1997, University of Memphis Professor Elinor Grusin’s dream of a citywide high school newspaper was realized with The Teen Appeal. With support from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the University of Memphis, the Commercial Appeal, and Memphis City Schools, the first group of students from across the city came to the U of M for a summer journalism camp and kicked off the monthly publication. This panel features several people who were involved in this extraordinary effort to ensure that every Memphis City high school had access to a local school newspaper. Fun Fact: AJHA’s current president, Aimee Edmondson, was one of the first to work on this project while she pursued her master’s degree in journalism.

Panel discussion: American Journalism: Special Issue on Investigative Reporting    

Moderator: Nicholas Hirshon, William Paterson University    

Panelists:

  • W. Joseph Campbell, American University    

  • Dwight Chapin, appointments secretary for President Richard Nixon    

  • Mark Feldstein, University of Maryland   

  • Gerry Lanosga, Indiana University    

American Journalism is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Watergate break-in with a special issue this fall on the history of investigative reporting in the United States. The special issue’s editor, Nicholas Hirshon, will lead the contributors in conversation about topics ranging from reporters for abolitionist publications to a columnist who blackmailed Douglas MacArthur. The panel will also feature Dwight Chapin, the appointments secretary for President Richard Nixon, who became the first Watergate defendant to go on trial and served nine months in federal prison for lying to a grand jury.

Roundtable Discussion: Meet Us at the Corner Where Journalism, Race, and Gender Intersect

Moderator: Brooke Kroeger (emerita), New York University  

Panelists:

  • Jinx Broussard, Louisiana State University

  • Nathaniel Frederick, Winthrop University

  • Rachel Grant, University of Florida

  • Ben LaPoe, Ohio University

  • Cristina Mislán, University of Missouri

  • Gheni Platenburg, Auburn University 

This moderated roundtable discussion will start with a brief summary of each panelist’s research into various aspects of the intersection of journalism, race, and gender from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Topics include Amy Jacques Garvey’s work alongside husband Marcus Garvey, including her involvement with the publishing of the Negro World newspaper in Harlem; the role of W.E.B. DuBois and The Crisis in constructing counternarratives of race, class, and gender; the role of radical Black women journalists of the Cold War era; Feminist Standpoint and Indigenous Standpoint theories as they emerge, and converge, when telling contextual stories of missing women in the non-ethnic, Indigenous and Black presses; Ethel Payne’s contributions to both gender and race politics through Payne’s coverage of the women’s liberation movement for the Chicago Defender; and the experiences of Black journalists of all genders in the integrated mainstream press, both the early pioneers and those who’ve worked in the more contemporary context.

Panel discussion: Validating the Value of HBCU Newspapers in Journalism History and Media Industry Diversity: Four Perspectives    

Moderator: Chalise Macklin, University of Memphis

Panelists:

  • Will Sites, Lincoln University of Missouri

  • Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Loyola University New Orleans

  • Pamela E. Foster, Georgia State University

  • George L. Daniels, University of Alabama

As is evident from at least three journal articles published in American Journalism and Journalism History in the last 18 months, the Black Collegiate Press is a great source of information about the experiences of Black college students. But, these outlets also play a key role in the development of media professionals of color. This panel features four different perspectives on the way the Black Collegiate Press can be the starting point for research. One panelist shows how he’s involved his students in this research while other panelists will demonstrate other ways to assess and analyze these student produced outlets.

Panel discussion: Graduate Student Panel: How to Get Your Research to Work for You

Moderator: Cory MacNeil, University of Missouri

Panelists:

  • Claire Rounkles, University of Missouri

  • Jason Lee Guthrie, Clayton State University

  • Dana Dabek, Temple University

This graduate student panel will focus on the multiple ways in which early career and practiced scholars can develop sustainable practices to create and advance their research agendas. Panelists will share their personal experiences and offer insight, tips, and suggestions on what developing scholars can do. This panel also invites panel attendees to participate in this discussion to share ideas on how scholars can get their research to work for them. Topics include how developing scholars can implement social media and networking to advance scholarship pursuits; different ways scholars can develop a sustainable research agenda; the many economic, political, and social forces that impact how public historians tell stories; and how to navigate balancing interpretations and collective memory of the past with centering voices that have previously been devalued.



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