Department Chair Dr. Michael Stamm co-wins Covert Award

The Department of History is proud to announce that chair, Dr. Michael Stamm, won the Covert Award for his article: “The International Materiality of Domestic Information: The Geopolitics of Newsprint During World War II and the Cold War,published in The International History Review.   

The Covert Award is awarded annually by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) for the “best mass communication history article, essay, or book chapter published in the previous year.” 

“I am honored and grateful to be receiving this award,” Stamm said. “The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the premier organizations devoted to the study of media, and the scholarship produced by this community has been deeply important for me and shaped my work and thinking about journalism history.” 

Stamm co-won the award with Dr. Gerry Lanosga, associate professor in The Media School at Indiana University Bloomington (IU). 

The Covert award is given in memory of Catherine Covert, professor of journalism at Syracuse University, the first woman professor in Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Journalism, and the first woman to head the AEJMC History Division, in 1975. 

“This award is even more humbling and gratifying,” Stamm stated, “because of its connection to Catherine Covert, whose essay, “We May Hear Too Much,” in her Mass Media Between the Wars edited collection, was very important and influential for me some years ago when I was starting what became my dissertation.” 

The History Division will honor Drs. Stamm and Lanosga as part of the annual AEJMC convention in August 2023 in Washington, D.C. 

Abstract of The International Materiality of Domestic Information: In the first half of the twentieth century, as newspapers were the most important means of communicating information about current events, Canada became the world’s leading producer of newsprint. Its neighbor, the United States, was its leading consumer and the top global news- print consumer. European countries depended substantially on Scandinavian newsprint production, and many countries around the world lacked domestic resources to make paper. By 1940, some 60% of the newsprint used around the world crossed an international border as it moved from paper manufacturer to newspaper publisher, and more than 90% of that came from Canada. Even in peacetime, printing a newspaper in the mid-twentieth century was a geopolitical challenge. Once World War II broke out, outside of North America paper supplies were significantly constrained as import flows were disrupted. The U.S. and the Canadians partnered to distribute newsprint around the world to papers deemed “friendly” to Allied interests in Latin America, and this practice of strategically disbursing newsprint continued into the early Cold War period and extended to Europe. At the same time, the United Nations understood global newsprint shortages to be one of the primary impediments to promoting postwar democratization and development efforts, and the organization sought ways of encouraging both a more equitable global distribution of newsprint and projects that would enable countries in the Global South to manufacture paper from raw materials that were domestically available. In the World War II and Cold War era, newsprint was the material precondition for press freedom, and the U.S. and Canada held tremendous sway over regional and local public spheres as their policymakers decided where and to whom that newsprint was to be distributed.