Betty H. Winfield

Curators' Professor Emeritus

Professor Emerita of Journalism

Missouri School of Journalism
Columbia, MO 65211-1200


BETTY HOUCHIN WINFIELD, PhD, a specialist in political communication and mass media history, has been a member of the Missouri School of Journalism faculty since 1990. She also holds appointments in the Department of Political Science and the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Before joining the Missouri Journalism faculty, Winfield was a professor of communication and American studies at Washington State University. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Washington and has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University (1991) and the Gannett Center for Media and Politics at Columbia University (1988-1989).

Among Winfield’s four books are Journalism, 1908: Birth of a Profession (University of Missouri Press, 2008) and the award-winning FDR and the News Media (University of Illinois Press, 1990, and Columbia University Press, 1994). Her other publications include two monographs, 12 book chapters, and more than 80 encyclopedia and journal articles. Winfield has given numerous scholarly lectures and competitive papers on mass media history and White House communication. Among them are analyses of the free expression conflicts with the Commander-in-Chief role of the President, the models of attorneys general during wartime, and first lady relationships with the public and the media. Her current vein of research involves how journalists use history in their stories.

Winfield’s awards have been national and local. In 2008, Winfield received the 24th annual Covert Award in Mass Communication History along with Janice Hume, BJ ’81, MA ’95, PhD ’97, for their article, “The Continuous Past: Historical Referents in Nineteenth-Century American Journalism,” which was published in Journalism & Communication Monographs in 2007. The award, sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), is given to the best history article or chapter published in the field of mass communication during the previous year, and the two winners were among 11 nominations. Also in 2008 Winfield received the American Journalism Historians Association’s inaugural teaching excellence award. In 2003 Winfield was honored as the first journalism professor to receive a system-wide University of Missouri Curators’ Professorship, which she will hold for the rest of her career at MU. In 2002 she received the MU Faculty-Alumni Award. The University of Missouri awarded Winfield its prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award in 1998 for an “academic career embodying the Jeffersonian principles and ideals in scholarship and teaching.”

Current Projects

  • Research on how journalists use history, why and with what outcomes, such as for attitude, credibility, knowledge, newsworthiness, understanding and perceived importance.
  • Winfield, B.H., Leshner, G. & Kononova, A. (2009). Historical References in Political News Stories: Credibility, Perceived Newsworthiness, and Understanding of News. This paper and article will be submitted to the International Communication Association.

Selected Publications

  • Books

    • Betty H. Winfield. FDR and the News Media, 1st Edition, Columbia University Press, 1994. Previously published by University of Illinois Press, 1990.
    • Betty H. Winfield. Bleep! Censoring Rock and Rap, 1st Edition, Greenwood Press, 1998.
    • Betty H. Winfield, Lois B. DeFleur. The Edward R. Murrow Heritage: Challenge for the Future, Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1986.
    • Betty H. Winfield. Journalism-1908: Birth of a Profession, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2008.

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