Series Introduction: Broadcast Media History

In July 2022, we placed a call for our fifth annual essay series, exploring the history and importance of television over the last 60 years. 

The impetus for this essay series is the 60th anniversary of CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite informing the nation of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination (Nov. 22, 1963). We welcomed all topics exploring broadcasting or television since that iconic moment, including essays focused on TV and intersectionality, children, political or public broadcasting, cable news, and advertising.

This year, Journalism History will publish 12 of those essays, selected by a panel of five judges. The top two essays will be published in our journal. Those essays are by Michael Socolow and Raymond McCaffrey; Socolow, the first-place winner, received a $100 prize.

Additionally, one installment in the broadcast media history essay series will be posted on the website each month throughout 2023, beginning in February:

  • February: Laura Meadows, “The Joint Evolution of Conservatism and Television”
  • March: Steve Biene-Aime and David Thomson, “Broadcast Deregulation Contributes to Decline in News Media Trust”
  • April: Paulette Kilmer, “TV Cigar-Store Indians: Test Patterns, Ads, and ‘Whiting Out’ History”
  • May: Jonathan Bullinger and Steve Voorhees, “The Intersectionality of Race and Power in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”
  • June: Joe Saltzman, “How Live Breaking News Changed Television”
  • July: Melony Shemberger, “The Pedagogy of Public Broadcasting”
  • August: Aaron Chimbel, “How an ‘Old Fat, White, Bald’ Texas Sportscaster Became a Viral Moral Compass”
  • September: Dean Cummings, “Can’t Unsee It — Iconic Images Remain Lodged in Our Memory”
  • October: Patrick Johnson, “The Legacy of Tom Brokaw”
  • November: Peter Morello, “TV News and Documentary Coverage of JFK, 1963-1969”

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