Kathy Roberts Forde
History of Journalism, Literary Journalism
Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
S471 Integrative Learning Center | 413-545-7077
Kathy Roberts Forde is a twentieth century American journalism historian with research interests in the First Amendment, democracy and public sphere, the African American freedom struggle, literary journalism, and the history of the book and print culture. She served as Chair of UMass Journalism from 2014-2017. She is past chair of the AEJMC History Division and past associate editor of American Journalism. She was the founding director of the Media & Civil Rights History Symposium at the University of South Carolina, a biennial scholarly gathering.
Her book Literary Journalism on Trial: Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008) received the Frank Luther Mott-KTA book award and the AEJMC History Division book award.
Forde is working on a second book, under contract with UMass Press, that attempts to build bridges among three subfields of historical inquiry into the American twentieth century: journalism history, civil rights history, and the history of the book and print culture. A publication and reading history of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, the project examines the role of black cultural expression in shaping U.S. social thought and public policy.
She has published articles in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Book History, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Communication Law & Policy, American Journalism, Journalism Practice, and other venues. She has mentored many junior scholars through publication of scholarly books and peer-reviewed journal articles. She enjoys mentoring undergraduate research, too. Her undergraduate research partner Bryan Bowman received the 2018 UMass Rising Researcher Award.
Forde has taught undergraduate courses in American journalism history, American media and civil rights history, media law, literary journalism, and information gathering and evaluation. She has also taught graduate seminars in mass communication history and qualitative methods in communication research.
- Covert Award in Mass Communication History (2013) for the best mass communication history article or essay published in 2012."'The Facts—the Color!—the Facts': The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910," co-authored with Katherine A. Foss, Book History, vol. 15 (2012): 123-151.
- James W. Carey Media Research Award (2012) for a book or article of the highest quality that employs Carey's theories to focus on communication and public life, journalism, or popular culture. "'The Facts—the Color!—the Facts': The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910," co-authored with Katherine A. Foss, Book History, vol. 15 (2012): 123-151.
- Covert Award in Mass Communication History (2012) for the best mass communication history article or essay published in 2011. “Profit and Public Interest: A Publication History of John Hersey's ‘Hiroshima,’” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 88:3 (Autumn 2011): 562-579.
- Pioneer Award, highest award given by the National Scholastic Press Association for substantial service contributions to high school journalism in the United States, 2011.
- Summer Scholar, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “African American Civil Rights Struggles in the Twentieth Century,” W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, 2011.
- Frank Luther Mott-Kappa Tau Alpha Book Award (2009) for Best Research-Based Book on Mass Communication and Journalism published in 2008. Literary Journalism on Trial: Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment, University of Massachusetts Press.
- AEJMC History Division Book Award (2009) for the Best Book on Journalism & Mass Communication History published in 2008. Literary Journalism on Trial: Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment, University of Massachusetts Press.
- Nafziger-White Dissertation Award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), 2006.
New & Selected Publications
- “Communication and the Civil Sphere: Discovering Civil Society in Journalism Studies.” Journal of Communication Inquiry, special issue on civil sphere theory in media history and communication, vol. 39, no. 2 (April 2015): 114-125.
- Guest editor, special issue of Journal of Communication Inquiry, civil sphere theory in media history and communication, vol. 39, no. 2 (April 2015).
- “The Fire Next Time in the Civil Sphere: Literary Journalism and Justice in America 1963.” Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, special issue on ethics and literary journalism, vol. 15, no. 5 (Spring 2014): 570-585.
- “Writing Literary History: Isabel Wilkerson and The Warmth of Other Suns” (interview). Literary Journalism Studies, vol. 5, no. 2 (Fall 2013): 111-123. Special issue on African American literary journalists.
- Andrea Tanner, Kathy Roberts Forde, John Besley, & Tom Weir. “Broadcast Journalism Education and the Capstone Course Experience.” Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, vol. 67, no. 3 (Autumn 2012): 219-233.
- With co-author Katie Foss. “‘The Facts—the Color!—the Facts’: The Idea of the News Report in America, 1885-1910.” Book History, vol. 15 (2012): 123-151. Winner of the 2012 James Carey Media Research Award.
- “The Enduring Problem of Journalism: Telling the Truth.” Journal of Magazine & New Media Research, vol. 13, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 1-9.
- “Profit and Public Interest: A Publication History of John Hersey’s Hiroshima.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, vol. 88, no. 3 (Autumn 2011): 562-79. Winner of the 2012 Covert Award, History Division, AEJMC.
- With co-author Matthew W. Ross. “Radio and Civic Courage in the Communications Circuit of John Hersey’s ‘Hiroshima.’” Literary Journalism Studies, vol. 3, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 31-53.