Journalism History Podcast Announces Milestone, Awards

The Journalism History podcast reached a new milestone this week by crossing 2,000 downloads.

As of today, the podcast has 2,027 downloads from 42 states and 32 countries, most recently picking up West Virginia and Saudi Arabia.

Show transcripts available at have been accessed 718 times. The podcast team released its 23rd episode Monday featuring Melita Garza discussing her book, “They Came to Toil: Newspaper Representations of Mexicans and Immigrants in the Great Depression.”

“It’s really been unbelievable to see how the podcast has taken off,” said Teri Finneman, vice chair of the History Division and executive producer of the podcast. “Since joining the leadership team, my goal has been to help increase the communication and community of our journalism historians. It’s been fantastic to get our work out to the general public in a new and accessible way.”

To date, eight guests have made it into the Podcast 100 Club for more than 100 downloads of their individual episodes. These are William David Sloan, Erin Coyle, James Farrell, Pamela Walck and Ashley Walter, Maurine Beasley, Mike Sweeney and Greg Borchard.

The Journalism History podcast team is also pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the Best Podcast Guest Award.

Taking into consideration the number of podcast downloads and other factors, the team selected Pamela Walck of Duquesne University and Ashley Walter of Penn State as the winners for Episode 13: The Flyin’ Jenny Comic Strip. The research partners were also finalists for the 2019 Michael S. Sweeney Award.

“I’m really thrilled that this research on Flyin’ Jenny continues to gain a wider audience—and that what started as a conference paper on a World War II comic strip with a graduate assistant can evolve into a publication and podcast episode with a co-author that expands our understanding of WWII and the shifting roles of women,” Walck said.

“I’m also very excited to be on the bleeding edge of the History Division’s efforts to get journalism history to wider audiences. Looking to the past remains critical to our understanding of today’s events. And one of the reasons scholars research and write is to inform others. This is truly an honor and a privilege,” she said.

Walck and Walter will each receive a snazzy trophy and a $50 cash prize during the History Division Awards Gala at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6.

“Good podcasts are all about the energy of the guests, and Pam and Ashley’s passion about Flyin’ Jenny translated into an easy conversation that clearly resonated with listeners,” said Nick Hirshon, who hosted the episode. “They also share a chemistry, with Pam as mentor and Ashley as mentee, that made this episode of the podcast particularly memorable. I’m grateful they came on the podcast to talk about their important research on a forgotten piece of media history, and I’m glad their work will be recognized with the inaugural podcast award.”

Journalism History podcast episodes are available on iTunes, Spotify and Podbean, as well as at New episodes release every other week. Upcoming summer episodes will feature Josh Shepperd, Pam Parry, Candi Carter Olson, Jason Lee Guthrie and Aaron Atkins.

The History Division Awards Gala will also feature a live podcast interview with Matthew Pressman, winner of the AEJMC History Division Book Award for his book “On Press: The Liberal Values that Shaped the News.”

Registration for the gala is $5 and now open via AEJMC conference registration at

Member News Round-up

Chris Daly (Boston University) participated in a screening and panel discussion of the new documentary “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” at the 2019 Power of Narrative Conference. The film will air nationwide at 9 p.m. April 12 PBS’s “American Masters” series.

Teri Finneman (University of Kansas) started an online news site this semester for a Kansas community that no longer had a newspaper. Students in her reporting and social media classes provided content for the site.

Rachel Grant (Xavier University of Louisiana) will be joining the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida as an assistant professor of journalism for underserved communities in fall 2019.

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In A League of Their Own: AEJMC History Division’s Mini-Profiles

Name: Tom Bivins

Where you work: I teach in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon where I hold the John Hulteng Chair in Media Ethics and Responsibility. I split my time between courses in media ethics and media history.

Where you earned your Ph.D.:  I received my Ph.D. at the University of Oregon in Telecommunication and Film (part of the Speech Department), and taught at the University of Delaware for four years before returning to Oregon.

Current favorite class: My favorite class currently is called Satire, Ethics, and Free Speech. It’s a wide-ranging, sometimes raucous, exploration of an often controversial subject.

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Generation of Scholars: Colin Kearney Chats with Bernell Tripp

When uncovering unanswered questions into journalism’s past, with notable interest towards the Black press in the nineteenth century, Dr. Bernell Tripp, Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Florida, has followed the advice of her mentor David Sloan: “when the puzzle pieces don’t fit together, you should question.”

We recently chatted by about the impetus of her work, her most recent research project, and how her research informs her teaching.

Q: How did you come to your area of scholarship?

A: I enrolled in a journalism history course at the University of Alabama under David Sloan. One of the key notions of the course was to ask “why do things happen?” I had a fascination with the nineteenth century during the Yellow Journalism era and started with the question of “where was the Black press?”

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Book Excerpt and Q&A with Julien Gorbach

Ben Hecht had seen his share of death-row psychopaths, crooked ward bosses, and Capone gun thugs by the time he had come of age as a crime reporter in gangland Chicago. His grim experience with what he called “the soul of man” gave him a kind of uncanny foresight a decade later, when a loose cannon named Adolf Hitler began to rise to power in central Europe.

In 1932, Hecht solidified his legend as “the Shakespeare of Hollywood” with his thriller Scarface, the Howard Hughes epic considered the gangster movie to end all gangster movies. But Hecht rebelled against his Jewish bosses at the movie studios when they refused to make films about the Nazi menace. Leveraging his talents and celebrity connections to orchestrate a spectacular one-man publicity campaign, he mobilized pressure on the Roosevelt administration for an Allied plan to rescue Europe’s Jews. Then after the war, Hecht became notorious, embracing the labels “gangster” and “terrorist” in partnering with the mobster Mickey Cohen to smuggle weapons to Palestine in the fight for a Jewish state.

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The American Journalism Historians Association seeks applications for its annual Joseph McKerns Research Grant Awards.

The research grant is intended to provide research assistance and to recognize and reward the winners. Up to four grants for up to $1,250 each will be rewarded upon review and recommendation of the Research Grant Committee. McKerns Research Grant Awards may be used for travel or other research related expenses, but not for salary.
Awardees must submit a brief article to the Intelligencer newsletter about their completed research by Sept. 1, 2020 discussing method, findings, complications, significance.


All current AJHA full members with a minimum of three years’ membership at the time of application are eligible.
The research must be related to mass media history.
Awardees are expected to continue their membership through the grant period. Members may apply for a McKerns Research Grant once every five years.

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The American Journalism Historians Association invites paper entries, panel proposals, and abstracts of research in progress on any facet of media history for its 38th annual convention to be held October 3-5, in Dallas, Texas. More information on the 2019 AJHA convention is available at

The deadline for all submissions is June 1, 2019.

The AJHA views journalism history broadly, embracing print, broadcasting, advertising, public relations, and other forms of mass communication that have been inextricably intertwined with the human past. Because the AJHA requires presentation of original material, research papers, research in progress, and panels submitted to the convention may not have been submitted to or accepted by another convention or publication. Research submitted for the conference must be significantly different than previous work, meaning the submitted research would represent new archival research, interviews, or content analysis that has not been presented before at a conference and represents a new departure from prior presented or published work. Research that previously was presented as a research in progress presentation at an AJHA convention or the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference, however, may be submitted as a research paper. Each author may submit at most one paper, one research in progress, and one panel.

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Journalism Historians Meet in New York

By Brian Creech, Temple University, Joint Journalism & Communication History Conference,

Photo Cutline: Elliot King with the top research-in-progress panelists (L to r): Juraj Kittler, Richard Lee, Oren Soffer, Elliot King, Ashley Walter, and Anne Lee

The annual Joint Journalism and Communication Historians Conference met at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute on Saturday, March 9, 2019. This year’s conference featured a number of first-time presenters: undergraduates, graduate students, and several international presenters.

The day was marked by collegiality and the exchange of ideas, and ended with a special screening of the documentary Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People, featuring a panel discussion, moderated by Wayne Dawkins of Morgan State University, about Pulitzer with both filmmakers and several expert historians featured in the film, including Andie Tucher of Columbia University and Chris Daly of Boston University.

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Teaching-contest Winners Prepare Mini-tutorials for Conference

By Kristin L. Gustafson, University of Washington Bothell, Teaching Standards Chair,

Five scholars will share their mini, hands-on teaching modules featuring original and tested transformative teaching ideas and practices that address pedagogies of diversity, collaboration, community, and/or justice in August. Come ready to learn more about how each teaching practice might be transferred to your institution or classes and what evidence points to marked changes for students.

I will moderate the panel at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Toronto, Canada. The session, held at 9:15–10:45 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, features these winners of the History Division’s inaugural Transformative Teaching of Media and Journalism History teaching-idea competition:

  • Nick Hirshon, William Paterson University
  • Gerry Lanosga, Indiana University
  • Kimberley Mangun, University of Utah
  • Shearon Roberts, Xavier University of Louisiana      
  • Amber Roessner, University of Tennessee

Here are a few details about the projects and practices taken from the winning entries.

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Southeast Colloquium/Civil Rights Symposium highlight historical research

Kenneth Campbell, chair of the Media & Civil Rights History Symposium, presents the Ronald T. and Gayle D. Farrar Award to Gwyneth Mellinger. (Photo by Lewis Zeigler, University of South Carolina)

The University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications hosted AEJMC’s 44th Southeast Colloquium March 7-9, in conjunction with the school’s Media & Civil Rights History Symposium.

The Colloquium program consisted of research paper sessions and panels from six AEJMC divisions, including History. Cayce Myers (Virginia Tech) chaired the research competition for the History Division, which had two paper sessions at the conference.

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