Introducing: Saving Community Journalism book and website

In addition to the book, which is available now in hardcover and ebook, there are online resources for learning more, staying up to date, and continuing the conversation. Visit to find lessons for publishers and editors, helpful videos, links to social media communities, and blog posts about how to build sustainable community journalism for the 21st century.

50 Years Ago: Historians on the Legacies of JFK

Blair L. M. Kelley and Kathryn Cramer Brownell consider the assassination of JFK in the contexts of the civil rights movement, media spectacle, and shifting political structures.

Sarah E. Ruble: The Newsroom and American Exceptionalism

American exceptionalism, or the idea that the United States is somehow both different and better from all other nations, has a long history. From the decision to put novus ordo seclorum (a new order for the ages) on the back of the Great Seal of the United States to President Barack Obama’s claim during his 2008 inaugural that “we are ready to lead once more,” many Americans have believed that their country is something different from anything that has come before or that has arisen since. A leader. A new order.

Miles Orvell: From Mayberry to Dogville: The Small Town as Microcosm

Mayberry, Lake Wobegon, Hadleyburg, Dogville—these are extreme representations of the small town and they are in direct conflict with one another. Taken together, they reveal the contradictions of the American twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Karen L. Cox: Black Domestic in a Can: A South Carolina Ad Agency “Helps” Glory Foods

Who is the company trying to reach with these commercials except, perhaps, all those white women who read ‘The Help’ and are looking to recapture some of that for themselves? It’s certainly an interesting marketing ploy. Perhaps that is the point.

Karen L. Cox: Republican Candidates in the South: A Confederacy of Dunces. So, too, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir & Co.

[This article is cross-posted from Pop South.] Oh, for goodness sake! The Republican candidates for president went South and the next thing you know Mitt Romney touted “cheesy grits” and practiced saying “ya’ll,” and Rick Santorum adopted a hick accent and told people “I got kin here in Mississippi. I’m not sure. . . (don’t say “what …

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Joseph Genetin-Pilawa: “Documented Rights” & Representations of Indigenous History in the Archive

The virtual exhibit “Documented Rights” raises some interesting challenges for scholars and museum professionals alike. It also reminds us that the struggle “for personal rights and freedoms” means something different for Indigenous people. While NARA should be congratulated for its attempt to do some justice to representing the Native experience, “Documented Rights” sheds light on the difficulty of doing so without replicating settler-colonial/archival patterns of organizing, categorizing, and flattening those histories.

Interview: Alice Fahs on the roles and work of early female journalists

An interview with Alice Fahs, author of ‘Out on Assignment: Newspaper Women and the Making of Modern Public Space.’

Learn about and learn from Loving v Virginia

As a new documentary film about the Loving v. Virginia case appears, we look back to Fay Botham’s book for some of the religious and legal aspects of the case. Includes an excerpt from the book.

Marvin McAllister: Idris Elba ‘Multi-Levels’ THOR: Norse Mythology Meets Yoruba Cosmology

Historian Marvin McAllister explores the racial and mythical dimensions of casting a black British actor in the role of a Norse god in the recent film THOR.


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Karen L. Cox: For Whom the Belle Tolls

No sooner had I written the last blog post about representations of the South on reality television than another show made it to the air—TLC’s Bama Belles.  It seems unlikely that “belle” is an appellation anyone would apply to women who don camouflage to hunt or are ready to start a bar fight. Still, the …

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Highlights from First Amendment Day 2010

UNC celebrated its second annual First Amendment Day yesterday, and as predicted, it was an absolute smasheroo. The day began with the weather exercising its freedom of expression with sheets of rain, but only a few of the events were shifted inside before the drizzling tapered off. The events kicked off with a planting of …

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Behind the Scenes of Reality Radio

As Elvis Costello said about describing sound with written word, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. It’s a really stupid thing to want to do.” While we don’t think it’s stupid, we certainly recognize the difficulty of the task (on a side note, if anyone wants to dance about architecture, please YouTube it …

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Reality Radio: the song!

Over the last few decades, the radio documentary has developed into a strikingly vibrant form of creative expression. Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound celebrates today’s best audio documentary work by bringing together some of the most influential and innovative practitioners from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. In these 19 essays, documentary …

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