Borchard named editor

By Doug Cumming (AEJMC History Division Head, 2017-2018)

A new editor has been named for Journalism History, the peer-reviewed quarterly that the History Division is adopting later this year.

The executive committee of the AEJMC History Division is excited to announce the selection of Gregory Borchard, Ph.D., a highly productive media historian at the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“What a thrilling and humbling opportunity!” Greg emailed back as soon as he got the news. “I gratefully accept the appointment and look very much forward to working with the History Division and Michael Sweeney on transition details.”

Borchard is praised for his organizational skills, his clear writing, his work with editors, and as an editor, for example helping with the editing of the forthcoming The Antebellum Press: Setting the Stage for Civil War.

Mike Sweeney, the editor of Journalism History at Ohio University since August 2012, got the ball rolling two years ago as incoming head of the History Division. At the business meeting in 2016, he announced that he was dealing with terminal cancer and wanted to put this important publication on firm ground for the future. He appointed an ad hoc committee, chaired by Frank Fee, to look into having the division adopt the journal (surprise: it has been self-published since it launched in 1974) and to find a new editor.

Last year, the membership voted overwhelmingly to adopt the journal and raise dues by $20 to cover the cost of every member getting a subscription. Last December, the AEJMC board accepted our proposal to adopt the journal and raise our dues from $10 to $30 to cover members getting the journal. The next step was inviting applications for editor.

Greg Borchard won unanimous approval from Vice Chair Erika Pribanic-Smith, Second Vice Chair Teri Finneman and me. He was also given full support after careful vetting by an editor-selection committee chaired by Frank Fee and including Jean Folkerts, David Nord, Gwyn Mellinger, David Mindich, and Cristina Mislan. (In contrast, editors in the past were selected by their predecessors, according to Sweeney.)

We are thrilled to have such a highly qualified and energized editor at a time when Journalism History still faces a number of challenges: the transition from individual subscribers to membership, financing, the continuing search for a possible academic publisher, and the need to establish copyright of archives that such a publisher would want.

It would take too much space to describe Greg’s qualifications for these challenges and his vision for growing the journal with social media, adding more viz comm history, and engaging graduate-student research (he’s a former graduate director at the school at UNLV). I’ll end with a few brief points of why Greg Borchard seems a perfect fit for JH.

  • The journal is returning to a former home, UNLV, where it was edited by Barbara Cloud until Patrick Washburn became the editor at Ohio University in the late 1990s. (Cloud passed away in 2009.)
  • The new director at UNLV’s school of journalism and media studies, Kevin Stoker, is a media historian from Texas Tech, and a colleague there is media historian Stephen Bates, winner of our division’s top faculty paper two years ago.
  • He majored in history at Minnesota, earned a master’s there in mass comm with a thesis on the Southern Press and the 15th Amendment, and wrote his dissertation at Florida on “New York Partisanship and the Press, 1840-1860.”
  • Now a full professor, Borchard has led graduate and undergraduate journalism history classes since he came to UNLV in 2003. His lectures in these classes, transcribed, have evolved into a textbook of some 400 pages, A Narrative History of the American Press, forthcoming from Routledge.

This post appeared on the AEJMC History Division site in May 2018. See the original post.

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