The city’s new civil right museum opened today, as you probably saw. The center is located on the other side of Centennial Olympic Park from the music/arts edge of our campus and on the other side of the park from the Ferris wheel. You may not have yet heard that Elizabeth Strickler has been working to coordinate a DAEL graduate student team working with Bark Bark (the Atlanta-based social media and branding company) to develop further exhibitions that will document the LGBTQ experience.
Carol Winkler was an invited guest at the basic course director’s conference held last weekend in Dayton, Ohio, and hosted by the department’s doctoral alum Joe Valenzano. Jason Edwards was also there – both are doing exceptionally well as they move through the academic ranks at their respective universities. The conference was successful, a tribute in part to Joe’s careful planning.
A recent and happy case study of how doctoral research can end up in wider circulation and influencing public debates: In 2010, Matt Duffy defended his dissertation in Communication under the direction of Greg Lisby (Leonard Teel, Ann Williams, Carrie Freeman and Barry Hollander also served on the review committee). The project undertook an analysis of unnamed sources in journalism (the full dissertation title: “Unnamed Sources: A Longitudinal Review of the Practice and Its Merits”). As many of you know, Matt has been building his faculty career here in Georgia in the years since (with a well publicized detour through the Gulf States as well). This month, one of the research outcomes of the dissertation appears inAmerican Journalism (31.2; 2014; pgs. 236-261, “Anonymous Sources: A Historical Review of the Norms Surrounding Their Use”), which is also terrific. Then, last Monday, the Reuters journalist and columnist Jack Shafer circulated a strongly critical opinion piece focused on what he considers a marked overreliance on anonymous sourcing. Shafer was writing about two recent instances of New York Timesanonymous source blunders that had to be taken back almost immediately: one incorrectly claimed Phil Mickelson was targeted in an insider trading investigation and the other inaccurately said Bowe Bergdahl left a note behind admitting to desertion when he wandered off and ended up kidnapped. Shafer’s op-ed heavily cites Matt’s research on anonymous sourcing. One quote: “How did anonymous sourcing become the rule rather than the exception in American journalism? Journalism professor Matt J. Duffy informs us in a new paper that anonymous sourcing was sufficiently rare in the first three decades of the 20th century that none of the journalism textbooks and guides he examined made mention of the practice.” The Shafer op-ed was taken seriously enough by the New York Times that the very next day (6/17/14), Margaret Sullivan (the NYT Public Editor) devoted a full essay to a defense of how the paper handles sourcing. Her conclusion: “When sources are nameless, they are also unaccountable. There is no price for them to pay when they get it wrong. But readers — and The Times’s credibility — do suffer. And in some cases, so do the reputations of those The Times is writing about. No ‘walk-back story’ can fix any of that.”