By Joan Niesen
Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 30, 2009) — Missouri School of Journalism Professor Betty Houchin Winfield will receive the American Journalism Historians Association‘s (AJHA) Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History.
The award, the highest honor given out by the organization, recognizes Winfield’s career as an accomplished mass media historian.
The AJHA was founded in 1981 and works to increase and encourage journalism history. The research-oriented association also serves as a forum and resource for journalism historians and strives to encompass a wide range of mass communications studies.
Winfield will receive the award at the AJHA’s 28th annual convention, which will be held on Oct. 7-10 in Birmingham, Ala. At the convention, she will give the luncheon speech about her work and the role of journalism historians in the modern media.
“The award is a public recognition by her peers of her outstanding research and contributions to scholarship in her field,” Eugenia Palmegiano, the AJHA awards committee chair, said.
Winfield, who has written 13 book chapters and two monographs, has also published four books, including “Journalism, 1908: Birth of a Profession.” She is the first journalism professor at the University of Missouri to receive a system-wide University of Missouri Curators’ Professorship and the second to receive the Thomas Jefferson Award. In 2008 she was honored with the AJHA’s inaugural teaching excellence award.
“I’m happy for Betty, and I think that she’s deserving of the award,” Earnest Perry, the president of the AJHA who is also a professor at the School, said. “She’s done a lot for journalism history; her research speaks for itself. It is a prestigious honor not only for her, but also for Missouri Journalism.”
Winfield’s background reflects her varied interests in journalism, politics and history. In addition to her position at the School of Journalism, Winfield is also an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri‘s Department of Political Science and is affiliated with the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs.
Winfield believes that her work strives to get to the roots of historical events, and she’s studied the role of historical referents in journalism throughout history. She hopes that her work and its worth will help to underscore the need for a historical context within the world of journalism.
“I’m making a plea that there’s a place for journalism historians,” Winfield said. “We know media history, we know American history. When the mass media make these historical references we can silently compliment them, or we can say that they’re wrong.”
Updated: May 6, 2020