Tracy Lucht, associate professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, was installed as the president of the American Journalism Historians Association at the organization’s convention in September.
“I’m thrilled to be in this role and happy to serve my colleagues in this way,” Lucht said.
Founded in 1981, the AJHA seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. In addition to advancing research in media history, the organization works to promote the inclusion of media history in journalism programs’ curriculum and support colleagues all throughout their careers through mentorship, Lucht said.
Lucht has been involved with the AJHA for 15 years. Her first experience with the organization was being awarded runner-up for the Margaret A. Blanchard Dissertation Prize in 2008. Lucht presented her dissertation findings and received the award at an AJHA conference that year. With the organization’s focus being on media and journalism history and her great experience at the conference, she knew the organization would be a great fit.
Since 2008, Lucht has attended many AJHA conferences, presented her research, and received a number of awards for her papers. She’s also had the opportunity to work with mentors outside of Iowa State and now mentors scholars earlier in their careers at other institutions. Lucht was elected to the AJHA Board of Directors in 2015 and decided to run for office in 2021.
“I decided to run for office, in part, because they’ve provided so many great opportunities for me and other emerging scholars,” Lucht said.
Lucht served as second vice president of the AJHA in 2021 and has moved through their leadership track to her current role as president, where she’ll serve for a year.
As president, Lucht will set the agenda for the board for the coming year. One of her priorities is to grow membership, particularly by reaching out to graduate students and junior scholars in a way that supports and provides services to them. She hopes to host workshops on topics like preparing research for publication and presenting papers, as well as continue the AJHA’s focus on mentorship.
The president of the AJHA also serves as the face of the organization.
“I think it’s really important for organizations like us to be vocal about efforts to censor the teaching of history,” Lucht said. “That’s something that we’re seeing in various states right now, and I think we really need to be a strong advocate for the teaching of accurate and complete history.”
Lucht said the AJHA is partnering with other organizations to be a part of efforts to share why history is important and shouldn’t be censored, why it’s important that students gain an accurate understanding of the past and why teachers need to have the academic freedom to teach it. Lucht said she recently got board approval to join Learn from History, a coalition of historical organizations and educators that speak out against efforts to censor history in the classroom. The partnering organizations include the American Historical Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
Lucht was officially installed as president of the AJHA at the 42nd annual AJHA convention in Columbus, Ohio. At the conference, she also facilitated a panel titled “From Talk to Action: Making Journalism History More Inclusive.”
The panel covered the book she co-edited with Melita Garza and Michael Fuhlhage, “The Routledge Companion to American Journalism History.” Lucht said the book works to help fill the gaps in journalism history. It takes the approach of exploring history across multiple fault lines like socioeconomic class, gender, and race, looking at where history was light and lifting up voices that have previously been minimized.
Lucht looks forward to serving her colleagues as the president of the AJHA in the year ahead. “It’s an organization that’s dear to my heart, and it serves an important purpose and has an important voice. And I think that’s true now more than ever.”
For more information on the AJHA, visit http://www.ajhaonline.org.