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Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

David Nord receives lifetime achievement award from the American Journalism Historians Association

Sept. 11, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The American Journalism Historians Association will present David P. Nord with its 2012 Sidney Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History. Nord, professor emeritus in the Indiana University School of Journalism, will receive the award at the AJHA annual conference Oct. 11 to 13 in Raleigh, N.C.

The Kobre Award is AJHA's highest honor, recognizing individuals with an exemplary record of sustained achievement in journalism history through research, teaching and professional activities.

Nord is the author or editor of four books and more than 40 journal articles and book chapters.

"The Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History is the American Journalism Historians Association's highest honor, and no one is more deserving of this award than Dave Nord," said Interim Journalism Dean Michael Evans. "His career as a journalism historian is exemplary and distinguished, and his record of excellent historical research will be valued far into the future. I am delighted that the association has recognized his outstanding contributions to journalism scholarship."

"Dave Nord established himself early in his career at Indiana University among the elite of journalism historians," added Indiana University Journalism Dean Emeritus Trevor Brown. "His publications and intellectual prowess have earned the admiration of academic historians nationally and internationally."

One of Nord's most important contributions to journalism history was his exploration of religious publishing in colonial America and its influence on the field of journalism. His 2004 book, "Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America, 1790-1860," was named the best book of the year by the American Journalism Historians Association.

Nord was one of the first historians to go beyond the content of newspapers and study how people used the newspaper in their daily lives. His collection of essays in this area was published in 2001 as "Communities of Journalism: A History of American Newspapers and Their Readers."

"I simply cannot teach my undergraduate journalism history class without frequent references to Dave's research," wrote James L. Baughman, Fetzer Bascom Professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Nord's work usually merits one or two weeks in my graduate seminar. And the students in the seminar, who can be quite exacting critics, always find themselves impressed with Dave's research."

Nord also works with the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society and edited "The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America," one of the society's "A History of the Book in America" volumes. Nord is also the editor of the History News Service, a syndicate of professional historians who connect scholarly history to popular journalism, in an attempt to provide historical context to current events.

"I can't think of a more deserving recipient of this award," said Owen Johnson, associate professor of journalism at IU, who nominated Nord for the award. "I am proud to have served together with him in the School of Journalism for more than 30 years."

Nord spent his entire professorial career at IU, from 1979 until his retirement in December 2011. In addition to the School of Journalism, Nord was also a professor of American studies and an adjunct professor of history. Over the years, he served as interim, acting and associate editor at the Journal of American History, the flagship journal of the Organization of American Historians.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Valparaiso University, followed by a Master of Arts in history at the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as a reporter for the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger and as a reporter, editor and writer for The Associated Press in Minnesota and North Dakota.

The AJHA award is named in honor of the late Sidney Kobre, a newspaperman, professor and author, best known for his book "The Development of American Journalism," first published in 1944.

Founded in 1981, the American Journalism Historians Association seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. Members work to raise historical standards and ensure that all the scholars and students recognize the vast importance of media history and apply this knowledge to the advancement of society.