A note from the Journalism History editor

Journalism History earlier this year joined the ranks of academic publications distributed by Taylor & Francis’ highly professional production team. With a full volume in this arrangement nearing completion, Journalism History still features the articles, essays, and reviews that have drawn writers and readers to it in previous decades.

As a reminder to long-time readers as well as those new to the journal, changes in our submission process now requires use of the Editorial Manager site (https://journalism-history.org/submissions). Melita M. Garza still administers book review materials at melita.garza@tcu.edu.

By way of other updates, I can share a few noteworthy observations:

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Summary of AEJMC History Division Business Meeting and Minutes

By Will Mari, Louisiana State University, Vice Chair/Program Chair, wtmari@gmail.com

Voting to continue the digital version of “Clio,” creating a more extensive and resilient archive of its back issues, updates to the division’s constitution, podcast funding, and the formation of a finance committee were among the highlights of the 2019 business meeting held at the AEJMC conference in Toronto in early August. More details, including review of the meeting minutes, follow below. 

End-of-year status report

After calling the meeting to order at 6:39 p.m., the outgoing chair, Dr. Erika Pribanic-Smith, of UT-Arlington, gave the 2018-19 year-in-review report, with research, Professional Freedom and Responsibility (PF&R) and teaching as the main themes. Dr. Teri Finneman of Kansas, vice-chair/program chair and the incoming division president, also released a list of conferences. The diversity award is new this year, Dr. Pribanic-Smith announced, and the Toronto ArQuives (https://arquives.ca/) visit was discussed. The membership program and the thesis award were also outlined by Dr. Pribanic-Smith. 

The new diversity award was given to Michelle Rotuno-Johnson, a student at Ohio University.

All three themes came together in the Journalism History Podcast, “Journalism History” website (https://journalism-history.org/), “Clio” and PF&R panels, along with Diversity in the Digital Archives, along with social-media outlets. Teaching will be a focus next year under Finneman, said Dr. Pribanic-Smith. 

Membership last year was 268, but is now up to 289, placing the division at fifth in size at AEJMC, but we’re likely now actually fourth, counting members who joined during or immediately before the conference. 

Overall membership for AEJMC is about 3,434, down from last year, with 702 student members (considered high) and 234 international members; paper submissions were down somewhat this year, from 1,584 last year to 1,458 this year, with 713 papers accepted, or 48.9 percent. Border-crossing issues may be a factor, especially for international students and scholars. 

Dr. Pribanic-Smith also reviewed non-conference activity; nine people worked on JH, 16 people on division leadership, with 16 additional committee members, inc. PF&R and a new publication committee, 18 people were enrolled in the mentorship program; 82 were featured in various ways in our division publications/projects, and probably up to 100 members were named. There was lots of membership engagement, with a focus on representation and diversity, said Dr. Pribanic-Smith. 

Dr. Pribanic-Smith then thanked Dr. Nancy Roberts, with the Covert competition, Colin Kearney as grad-student representative, for their service, and Dr. Melita Garza as PF&R committee chair (note that Dr. Garza was a finalist for the AEJMC Tankard Book Award).

Continuing with the e-“Clio,” and other changes/updates

Dr. Pribanic-Smith then reviewed member action items, including “Clio,” constitution/bylaw amendments, podcast funding, future-award presentations, the selection of the 2024 conference site, and second vice-chair (i.e. research chair) election. 

With “Clio,” Dr. Pribanic-Smith reviewed the advantages of the digital “Clio,” including more frequent publication and engagement, with better tracking of metrics and the use of e-newsletters as more common (and it can be downloaded offline as needed—more on that below). 

Dr. Pribanic-Smith addressed some of the concerns raised at least year’s business meeting; a greater focus has been on Division business, she said,, and also longer articles including in-depth interviews via the podcasts, for examples; Pribanic-Smith showed an example of the new format. An example of the new format includes Q&A’s with the authors on their books versus long excerpts. 

Dr. Pribanic-Smith then opened the floor to discussion; Dr. Doug Cumming complimented the new “Clio,” Dr. Lillie Fears asked if there was a cost (none), Dr. Paulette Kilmer then commented that it was good to take advantage of the affordances provided by newsletter technology. 

Dr. Kristin Gustafson asked about the longevity of links online; Dr. Pribanic-Smith said that screenshots and the WordPress blog could function as an archive (the images can be made into a PDF for later). 

Dr. David Mindich also asked about archiving of previous, older paper “Clio’s;” he said he might start the process, with c. mid-1990s, and reaching out to previous “Clio” editors. Dr. Carolyn Kitch asked if there is a way for “Clio” to be in scholarly databases, citing a couple of examples, including other academic newsletters, to help enhance what she referred to as the seriousness of contributions.

Dr. Kilmer then added that the archiving of the newsletters could be important to helping preserving the history of the organization. She then moved that an archive be established, going back to as far as possible. The motion was approved. Dr. Candi Carter Olson moved that the electronic format be continued. And the motion was also approved. No “nays” were noted from the floor. Dr. Kitch said that that the University of Wisconsin-Madison might have a partial archive, and Dr. Finneman noted that Dr. Keith Greenwood might have some records as well. Dr. Mindich affirmed his desire to start working on the project, and that it might take the form of a digital dropbox.

Next, Dr. Pribanic-Smith reviewed the changes to the constitution, with the formation of committees vs. chairs, in some places. Also references to “by mail” and to “by phone,” to be made more agnostic, in terms of the medium, specifically for polling, to account for future tech, and some grammatical and spelling fixes. 

The main change would be to article the structure of the membership committee, with five members and two chairs, with two members being graduate students as part of it. This would clarify the previous structure, which had been more undefined in terms of size and length of term. 

Dr. Gustafson thanked Dr. Pribanic-Smith and Dr. Finneman for their attention to detail on this issue. Dr. Pribanic-Smith thanked Dr. Lisa Burns, the current chair of the book committee, for her help, specifically. A motion was made by Gustafson to accept changes, with Dr. Therese Lueck seconding, with approval by voice vote from the floor with no “nays.”

Podcast funding

Dr. Finneman then talked about the podcast funding, including a description of finances with AEJMC and the attempt to use ads from the University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri, and other universities to help offset costs. 

She asked the division to give $500 toward the podcast, to help circumvent that cumbersome process. The university of our guests would get a free ad instead, she said, with the funds drawn from the journal funding. The division will have up to $10,000 by the end of the calendar year. Dr. Finneman explained that about $5,000 a year will be going into our budget (which is about $70,000 total); the total budget would then be $1,500, with $1,000 from Taylor & Francis, our publisher, for use for transcription and promotion, along with hosting. Dr. Finneman asked for questions; none were asked; a voice vote approved with no noted “nays.”

Awards-ceremony timing

Dr. Pribanic-Smith then introduced the vote-able items for the membership present, including the timing of award presentations (versus the general business meeting, which is the default choice), along with city choices for the 2024 conference (the next, in 2020, being in San Francisco, then 2021 in New Orleans, then 2022, in Detroit; more below). 

Taylor & Francis provides $1,000 for funding; $250 was used, with $750 leftover. The $5 fee helped to defray the costs, but is not necessarily necessary, she explained. 

Dr. Pribanic-Smith then opened the floor to discussion; Dr. Lueck commented on the lunches with other divisions being in conflict, and asked if breakfasts were a way to avoid programming conflicts, perhaps. Dr. Kilmer asked about the social, and if that could be used instead, post meeting. Dr. Liz Atwood asked if the podcast could be done over the meal. Dr. Smith said that yes, that would be still possible, with our official one-hour slot.  

Dr. Cumming asked if the attendance goes down at the business meeting, and made the point that narrowing the conference would make it less expensive for some members. 

Convention-site choice

Dr. Pribanic-Smith next introduced the convention-site options, inc. Nashville ($249 for the conference hotel, Aug. 5-8), Philadelphia ($214 or $234, Aug. 7-10) or NYC ($259 with no grad rate, Aug. 5-8), for 2024, with areas determining where to go next. 

Members then discussed the merits of various options. [Secretary’s note: Philadelphia was the provisional choice of the conference, it was announced on Saturday].

Dr. Pribanic-Smith discussed the nomination of the second vice-chair, as the final of the three main action items for the ballot, and reviewed his various qualifications, especially with the Southeast colloquium, and with legal issues during the journal transfer. 

No further nominations from the floor for research chair were given, with Dr. Cayce Myers of Virginia Tech nominated previously by the executive committee. The membership then voted him in by acclamation, with no objections. 

Incoming chair’s remarks

Dr. Finneman next gave some short remarks in her role as the new division chair, including an overview of her goals. These include the launch of a new senior-scholar award recognizing post-tenure scholars, establishing a virtual conference as an option for those with limited travel funds, beginning with four short webinars over zoom throughout the academic year, with a call for panels, after a sample/example. to take place on Thursday, Oct. 17, featuring the podcast/podcasting. A virtual-conference committee will be formed, with Dr. Jennifer Moore, Dr. Kim Voss, Dr. Will Mari, Dr. Finneman and Dr. Shemberger.  

Dr. Finneman then discussed including growing the podcast and making it more shared and useable, and establishing a finance committee with the goal of investing the division’s funds well and using it long-term, with ideas to be voted on by the membership, and with a chance to comment on any proposals to be voted on next year at the business meeting in San Francisco. She also announced that increasing diversity and inclusion for the division is one of her goals, with the PF&R chair to engage on that mission, along with the membership chairs. A student essay contest on why media history matters, will be due in Nov., with gift cards to be given to the top three undergraduate submissions, with an overall focus on teaching. 

Miscellaneous items

Before dismissing for the social, a request was made for any announcements from the floor; Dr. Burns had one on the book award, with the October deadline and an encouragement to get publishers involved. She also announced that there were two openings on the book-award committee, and overviewed the the approved changes to the structure of the book-prize committee. 

Dr. Finneman then introduced full leadership team. 

Dr. Finneman than moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:54 p.m.; with Dr. Cumming seconding, and members approved. Meeting adjourned. 

Respectfully submitted,

Will Mari, 2018-18 secretary and research chair, 2019-2020 incoming vice-chair/program chair

Call for AEJMC 2020 History Division Panel Proposals

By Will Mari, Louisiana State University, Vice Chair/Program Chair, wtmari@gmail.com

It’s already time to start submitting AEJMC 2020 conference panel proposals. If you have an idea for a panel, please send Will Mari an email at wtmari@gmail.com with:

1.     The title of the proposal

2.     Whether the panel is teaching, research or PF&R

3.     A brief summary of what the panel is about

4.     The potential co-sponsor (another AEJMC division/interest group/commission)

5.     Whom you propose to be on the panel, including a short bio of each panelist and a short description of what each panelist would discuss.

The deadline for panel proposals is noon Central Time on Friday, Sept. 20. The final selection of panels and panelists will be determined after negotiations with the other AEJ divisions/interest groups/commissions. 

Member News Round-Up

By Rachel Grant, University of Florida, Membership Co-Chair, rgrant@jou.ufl.edu

Erin Coyle

Erin Coyle (Louisiana State University) published an article in Communication Law & Policy with Stephanie L. Whitenack. The article uses legal analysis to explore how states assess relational privacy rights and public rights to access 911 recordings involving death. The article is now available online via Taylor & Francis. Here is the citation and link to the abstract: Erin K. Coyle & Stephanie L. Whitenack (2019) Access to 911 Recordings: Balancing Privacy Interests and the Public’s Right to Know about Deaths, Communication Law and Policy, 24:3, 307-345, DOI: 10.1080/10811680.2019.1627796

Kristin Gustafson

Kristin Gustafson (University of Washington-Bothell) and Amy Lambertwere awarded one of the top three out of about 60 posters presented at the University of Washington’s 15th Annual Teaching & Learning Symposium in SeattleThe Gustafson-Lambert poster, “Team Teaching Models for Professional Development and Peer Learning,” was judged one of three winners based on appearance, content and presentation. The poster shared two outcomes of their team-teaching experience with first-year students. They identified how the experience functioned as faculty development, and shared a new peer-observation model that builds on the expertise and insight gained through team teaching. 

Nick Hirshon

Nick Hirshon (William Paterson University) was selected for one of the highest honors that can be afforded to a journalism educator in the United States, the 2019 David Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award as the nation’s top adviser of a campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Hirshon’s students nominated him for the award. In its 41-year history, the award has almost exclusively been granted to advisers at universities with enrollments at least double William Paterson’s, and largely to the nation’s most prestigious journalism programs, such as Columbia University, the University of Missouri, Ohio University, the University of Maryland, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Iowa. No educator from the New York metropolitan area has received the award since a professor at Columbia University in 1998. The award will be presented at SPJ’s annual Excellence in Journalism conference in September in San Antonio, Texas.

Will Mari

Will Mari (Louisiana State University) has signed a contract with Routledge for a sequel to “A Short History of Disruptive Journalism Technologies 1960-1990,” part of Routledge’s “Disruptions” series. The follow-up project will be titled, “Newsrooms and the Disruption of the Internet,” covering the period from c. 1990-2010, with an expected release date in late 2021 or early 2022.

Cayce Myers

Cayce Myers (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at Virginia Tech’s Department of Communication.

History Division Launches New Virtual Conference

By Teri Finneman, University of Kansas, History Division Chair, teri.finneman@ku.edu

Teri Finneman
History Division Chair

Creating a greater sense of community among the History Division throughout the year has been a priority of mine since I joined the leadership team as a membership chair four years ago.

Initiatives like #MediaHistoryEngagementWeek, e-Clio and the Journalism History podcast have aimed to bring more multimedia to the division, to have more frequent communication and connections among members, and to open our work to a broader audience to illustrate the importance of media history.

Therefore, one of my first initiatives as your chair this year also fits this theme with the launch of a new virtual conference consisting of a series of History Division webinars throughout the school year.

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

Madeleine Liseblad, Middle Tennessee State University, Membership Co-Chair, Madeleine.Liseblad@mtsu.edu

Mark Arbuckle

Where you work: I’m a Professor in the Department of Communication at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Where you got your Ph.D.: I earned my Ph.D. (2001) from the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Current favorite class: A tie between History of Mass Communication and Law of Mass Communication. I also greatly enjoy teaching my Free Speech graduate seminar class.

Current research project: I have a manuscript under review at a law journal that chronicles the numerous warnings from lawmakers, FCC commissioners, and the courts, over the decades, against excessive media ownership consolidation. The manuscript concludes that current-day regulators should heed the warnings from the past and return to a regulatory philosophy that promotes ownership diversity and, thus, protects the public interest, journalism and democracy.

Fun fact about yourself: I was a Maytag repairman for 10 years in my parents’ appliance business before going back to school to complete my B.S. in journalism at the University of Central Missouri. I’m also a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and have been writing and recording songs in my home studio, playing all the instruments myself, for 35 years.

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Book Q&A With Patrick C. File

By Rachel Grant, University of Florida, Membership Co-Chair, rgrant@jou.ufl.edu

Dr. Patrick C. File, an assistant professor of media law at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, recently wrote a book titled “Bad News Travels Fast: The Telegraph, Libel, and Press Freedom in the Progressive Era.”

Q: Please describe the focus of your book. 

A: The book demonstrates how law and technology intertwined at the turn of the twentieth century to influence debates about reputation, privacy, and the acceptable limits of journalism. It does this by examining a series of fascinating libel cases by a handful of plaintiffs—including socialites, businessmen, and Annie Oakley—who sued newspapers across the country for republishing false newswire reports.

Q: How did you come across this subject? Why did it interest you?

A: When digging through journalism trade publications of the 1880s and 1890s as a Ph.D. student, I found coverage of the infamous Tyndale Palmer and Annie Oakley libel crusades, and wondered why I hadn’t read about them in journalism history scholarship since they seemed like a really big deal to journalists at the time. There appeared to be an interesting parallel to present day issues related to mass communication technology, the careless or wanton spreading of false, harmful information, and questions about how the law should try to keep up. I got to thinking about the relationship among professional practices and ethics, communication technology, and the social construction of the concept of press freedom, and a dissertation and book were born.

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Generation of Scholars–AJHA President Ross Collins Offers Sage Advice

As the current president of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA), Ross Collins of North Dakota State University has long dedicated himself to the advancement of journalism history and stressed its importance to university journalism and communications programs. In his position as president, he has worked to raise the profile of AJHA and encourage more journalism history scholarship.

Recently, Ross provided insight into his approach to journalism history, offered advice for junior faculty members, and explained why all journalism historians need to think internationally.

Q: What is the most recent historical research project you have worked on?

A: I took a look at American volunteers during World War I who served in France before the United States joined the war. Because I’m a journalism historian I was particularly interested in how the French press used these Americans as a propaganda tool to boost morale.

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

A: I began as many of our members did—I was a professional journalist. But I also had a minor in French and a master’s in European cultural history, emphasizing French and German history at the beginning of the last century. When I decided to try for a Ph.D., I thought, why not combine all those? My Ph.D. was in French history, emphasizing journalism.

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