From left: Annette Masterson; Elisabeth Fondren, Ph.D.; and Erin K. Coyle, Ph.D., at the 2023 AJHA Annual Conference in Columbus, OH (photo credit: Tom Mascaro)
Elisabeth Fondren, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Journalism in The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS), was honored by the American Journalism Historians Association with the Jean Palmegiano Award for Outstanding Paper on International/Transnational History at its annual convention in Columbus, OH, on September 30.
“I am grateful to the American Journalism Historians Association for recognizing our research on the history of advocacy to promote press freedom and chronicle threats to journalists in Cuba during 1959–62, which is an important moment in political history and Cold War journalism studies,” Dr. Fondren said.
Dr. Fondren was recognized alongside her two coauthors from Temple University, Erin K. Coyle, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, and Annette Masterson, a doctoral candidate at Temple University’s Klein College.
The research group’s original paper, “‘The Throttling of the Free Press in Cuba’: Exploring Transnational Journalism and Sigma Delta Chi’s Advocacy for Press Freedom in Cuba (1959–1962),” explores institutional views on threats to press freedom in Cuba and transnational information flows. As Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro solidified his political and military grip over Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s, US editors and newsmakers engaged in their institutional watchdog role and chronicled the detention and harassment of journalists in Cuba, communist propaganda, and threats on press freedom.
The paper’s findings are based on extensive archival research of unpublished documents and correspondence of US editors, journalists, and government sources, including the US State Department and Central Intelligence Agency.
“This paper chronicles how members of a leading journalism institution chronicled threats to press freedom and hopes for greater free flows of information between Cuba and the United States,” Dr. Coyle explained. “I hope this research inspires news leaders to continue advocating for greater global protection of journalists and greater international free flows of information.”
“For me, winning the AJHA Palmegiano Award is a validation of this type of work and a testament to the mentorship of Dr. Coyle and Dr. Fondren,” Masterson said.
Dr. Fondren joined St. John’s University in 2019 as an Assistant Professor of Journalism in the Division of Mass Communication. Her research focuses on the history of journalism and media institutions, propaganda, media and war, and international communication. She teaches classes in CCPS in international reporting, print/online news, feature writing, journalism history, and political communication.