Archives for posts with tag: journalism history

Presenting research in progress and sharing ideas on panels at the AJHA convention are great ways to sharpen your focus, expand your thinking, and cultivate connections with other scholars. But how do you write a successful panel or RIP proposal?

Advice about that is typically passed down informally from adviser to grad student or from senior scholar to junior scholar. Like so many aspects of academic culture, it tends to be shared orally. And those who lack such coaching may not even consider submitting a proposal for panels or research in progress because they don’t know where to start.

In the interest of encouraging those unfamiliar with the process, we considered the following question: “What does someone preparing a panel proposal for the first time need to do to compete with established scholars?” What follows is a starting point to answer that question. We welcome any pointers more established AJHA members would like to share. Look here for the AJHA Call for Papers, Panels, and Research in Progress for the 2017 annual convention in Little Rock, Arkansas.

How do I write a successful panel proposal?

  • Familiarize yourself with the AJHA panel sessions held in recent years, which can be found in programs from those conferences. This will help you avoid repetition and give you a sense of the type of panels that get accepted to the conference.
  • Make your proposal appealing to media historians working outside your particular field of research. Rather than focus on a narrow slice of media history, think about ways to broaden the scope. This might mean addressing some aspect of theory, method, teaching, or publication that applies to historians working in all areas.
  • Aim for diversity among your panelists, and get a commitment from them before you submit the proposal. The most persuasive proposals include panelists from diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and institutions who are well trained in the subject and open to discussion.
  • About commitments from panelists: Sometimes panel lineups shift after acceptance. That’s understandable if a medical or family emergency comes up just before the convention. However, the Research Committee expects all panel organizers to obtain firm commitments from members before they submit the proposal.
  • Panels that put participants and the audience in conversation with each other are among the most successful ones at the convention.
  • Most important, demonstrate your knowledge by briefly summarizing previous writing or commentary on the topic before suggesting a new avenue for discussion. A panel proposal should be written like a research proposal, with the same attention given to clarity, thoroughness, proper writing, and citations. Rather than propose questions to be answered through primary research, a panel puts forth ideas to be explored through compelling discussion. As with any proposal, your goal is to demonstrate two things: 1) that your idea is worth executing, and 2) that you are capable of executing it.

How do I write a successful research in progress proposal?

  • The research-in-progress submission should represent more than an idea, but far less than an almost completed paper. The proposal should include initial research questions, primary sources, and a justification for why your project is significant. Ideas for relevant theory and methods should be included, if known. In sum, the proposal should include a well-defined topic and demonstrate that the researcher has a compelling, significant, and executable research project.
  • That said, the research should be at a stage where suggestions for additional research questions, theory, sources (primary and secondary) and research methods would be useful and meaningful.
  • Explain what kind of primary sources you are looking for in the archives. Show that the proposal has gone beyond the initial phase by listing the primary sources you’re using or plan to use and how they are significant to the project.
  • Clearly state the purpose of your project. Though you don’t have to hit people over the head with it, there is no clearer way to begin your statement of purpose than to write, “The purpose of this project is to …”
  • Make a clear and compelling argument supporting the significance of your project. What have previous scholars done? How will your project advance the field?
  • Remember that Research in Progress is for scholars who have not completed a project and who are looking for feedback on how to take their projects to the next level.

MICHAEL FUHLHAGE, Wayne State University, is AJHA Research Chair, Coordinator of the Research Papers Competition and Administrator of the Joseph McKerns Research Grant.

MELITA GARZA, Texas Christian University, is AJHA Research in Progress Competition Coordinator.

TRACY LUCHT, Iowa State University, is AJHA Panels Competition Coordinator.

 

Posted without comment from the Daily Missouri Democrat (St. Louis), Saturday, December 22, 1860:

San Francisco Takes the Hat – The latest mention of the fertile Golden State is a plan to make white dogs useful. Your San Franciscan seizes up is white cur, and, with stencilplate and black ink, inscribes his business card on each side of the wretched pup, and sends him forth, a quadrupedal locomotive advertisement – a doggerotype of the fast people of a fast country in a fast age. It is reckoned that a lively dog will be worth at least five dollars a day, or equal to a quarter of a column in a newspaper.”

While doing research on journalism during the secession winter of 1860 to 1861, it occurred to me that in maintaining a continually updated list of South Carolina legislators’ stances on taking down the Confederate flag, the Post & Courier of Charleston is doing the same thing the Charleston Mercury did on the question of seceding.
Witness the following account, published as an exchange item in the Boston Journal on December 12, 1860:

“THE CHARLESTON ELECTION: There was evidently a screw loose in the election of the Charleston delegates to the State Convention of South Carolina. It was intended by the Rhett faction to be a completely one-sided affair, sending up a united delegation pledged to immediate secession. Accordingly, the Mercury had kept standing lists in its columns of the candidates known to be sound, from their explicit declarations, those who had not pledged themselves to instant secession, and those who had made no reply to interrogatories addressed to them.”

The piece went on to explain that a couple of uncommitted delegates were elected despite pressure from the Mercury. This should be a reminder that the press is powerful, but it is not all-powerful. The ultimate pressure comes from the people. Just as the battle then was not won by the Mercury, so the battle today is not won by the Post & Courier. Make your opinion known. Here’s mine: That flag has got to come down. That banner may be a symbol of heritage, but the deeper I get into the newspapers of the secession crisis, the more evidence piles up that the Civil War was about maintaining a system in which wealthy planters preserved their means of getting richer (cheap labor combined with a voracious appetite to expand the footprint of slavery) by co-opting poor Southern whites’ opinions via appeals to racial superiority. We are all equal regardless of color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national heritage, gender or sexual orientation.
So it’s nice to enjoy the irony of the press of today employing, for the purpose of removing an emblem of pride in racism, the same system that the press of yesteryear employed to put it up.

Change is not the new normal. Change has always been normal.  That applies to the ways we gather information, process it, disseminate it, and make sense of the information others have reported for us. Technologies change, and with them, so do we. That doesn’t mean we must betray our values as journalists. Journalism values endure.

Mike Szvetitz, sports editor for the Opelika-Auburn News and one of the news professionals who teaches in Auburn University’s journalism program, told the Auburn Society of Professional Journalists chapter tonight about his life as a sports journalist. He emphasized the enduring values of journalism, the need to be accurate and accountable, to report without fear or favor, and his belief that it is better to be second and right than first and wrong. Of course, he said, it’s best to be both first AND right. But you can’t have everything sometimes.

Szvetitz said these values hold up even amid rapid changes in the technologies of reporting and storytelling. It is vital for all reporters to be able to do multimedia reporting as well write stories for print. The demand for these competencies is a response to audience demand, and it’s a delicate balancing act.

Yes, he said, audiences still want long-form features. Yes, they want to hear sound bites from the players, at least to a degree. People will listen to as much of Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn as you put online, but not everybody is as interesting as he is. What online audiences really want, though, is to see what the quarterback looks like calling the play, taking the snap, fading back and passing the ball, and they will click on that 10-second clip again and again and again so they have ammunition with which to argue about the QB’s technique.

What’s going on with that? As I see it, the written report gives the audience knowledge and understanding and a good story. The multimedia clip gives them something to get involved with, something to get angry or overjoyed about, something to react to viscerally. Marshall McLuhan had it right when he wrote in the 1960s that these new media are extensions of the human nervous system that mimic the function of our senses.

New media inform us, they entertain us, and they can evoke emotional responses. They reach in through our eyes and ears and touch our emotions, conjuring joy, fear, jealousy, anger, compassion, satisfaction, and so on. The power of multimedia is the power to help us sense what it’s like to be where the news is, and to feel what the people in the story are feeling. What we feel in a story, we remember.

When multimedia and online systems emerged in newsrooms, many rank-and-file journalists regarded them as risky because they were unproven. There was no rulebook, and that was a problem to the risk-averse who had been steeped in a culture in which the best way to keep your job was to not risk surprising one’s editor and publisher. We’ve gotten over our aversion to this “new” medium after a decade and a half of dithering, and journalists are finally learning to love it. Perhaps we wouldn’t have dragged our feet if we just remembered that even if the field was different, we could still apply our journalism values to it.

The last great technological disruption before the Internet came from television, a risky medium in which Edward R. Murrow saw great potential. The previous great disruption came from radio, a medium Walter Cronkite embraced with gusto. Incidentally, why did he lose his job at KCMO-AM in Kansas City, Mo.? Journalism values. He was fired because he refused to follow his boss’s orders and air a story before he could check out the facts. He landed on his feet, joined United Press (which became UPI), became a star reporter during World War II, and was recruited to work for Murrow at CBS.

What does that historical antecedent teach the postmodern journalist? Though no rulebook exists for this newly invented game of online and multimedia journalism we now play, we can always fall back on principles and journalism values. In the long run, being right and second will serve you better than being first and wrong — regardless of the medium.

Melita Garza

Melita Garza’s work on Latin American culture in media

Rahul Mitra

Resilient Institutions and Sustainable Environments (R.I.S.E.)

Lit Bear

books and writing

Hemingway Run

Marc Hemingway: On The Road To Berlin Marathon

Auburn Baseball Blog

Auburn starts the year with a new coach and a new direction and focus to win.

Overriding Ordinary

"Society is unity in diversity." -George H. Mead

KennethJustice.com

The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

The Changing Newsroom

New Media. Enduring Values.

FiveThirtyEight

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about politics, sports, science, economics and culture.

Ed Mooney Photography

The home of Kildare based Photographer, Blogger and self proclaimed Ruinhunter.

In Flow

Creativity is within us all

Design and Writing for the World Wide Web SIUe

This site serves students in Poepsel's Design and Writing for the Web at SIUe

participation2011

NYU/Topics in Media Criticism

The Press and The Bench

Interaction between the media and the courts

MulinBlog: A digital journalism blog

with free online courses

The Buttry Diary

Steve Buttry, Dearly Departed Husband, Father and Grandfather. Former Director of Student Media, LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication

Theme Showcase

Find the perfect theme for your blog.

Counts on Cars

A student blog on the automotive world.

Auburn Campus Trends

The latest trends around Auburn, from fashion, to hot spots, to food.

Trending In Bama

All Things Happening In Alabama

Off the Vine

Life is too short to drink bad wine

AUact

What to do in Auburn after football season

Ripping Culture

Art by Derek Herscovici

Project Light to Life

A bucket list blog: exploring happiness, growth, and the world.

Amazing Prizzini

Mischief, Comedy and Grace

SSND Live

Updates from the College News Design Contest

Appetites in Auburn

Experiencing life one meal at a time

A Taste of the Plains

Taking a look at local restaurants in Auburn and Opelika.

A Foreigner on Your Own Soil

When "y'all" meets "youse guys:" An exploration of why Northerners and Southerners don't coexist in sweet tea bliss

Culture Crazed

Finding color in unexpected places

Derencz's Corner

A glimpse inside the mind of a college journalist

Joy Mayer

JOURNALISM + COMMUNITY

ACADEME BLOG

The blog of Academe magazine

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Spirit, Word, Art

Lectionary-based creative spiritual direction

Cash or Charge

Adventures in Retail's Front Line from one of america's underemployed