Kathy Roberts Forde
U.S. Journalism History, African American Freedom Struggle and the Press, Longform Narrative, Literary Journalism
Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Equity & Inclusion, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
S471 Integrative Learning Center
Kathy Roberts Forde is an American journalism historian with research interests in democracy and the public sphere, the African American freedom struggle, the First Amendment, literary journalism, and the history of the book and print culture. She is the Associate Dean of Equity & Inclusion in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. 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.
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. She is the co-editor with Sid Bedingfield of Journalism & Jim Crow: The Making of White Supremacy in the New South, is forthcoming in fall 2021 with the University of Illinois Press. The book documents the active role white newspaper publishers and editors played in building and sustaining white supremacist political economies and social orders across the South from 1875-1920.
Kathy is also co-editor of the new book series Journalism & Democracy at the University of Massachusetts Press with Sid Bedingfield (University of Minnesota).
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 (UMass Journalism '18) received the 2018 UMass Rising Researcher Award for their work on Standard Oil tycoon Henry Flagler's control of the white press to manipulate public opinion about his use of convict labor and debt peonage to build his Florida railroad, hotel, and business empire. They published the reults of this research in The Conversation and Washington Post Made by History; their chapter on this subject will appear in the book-in-progress Journalism and Jim Crow. She and undergraduate research partners Ethan Bakuli (UMass Journalism '19) and Natalie DiDomenico (UMass Journalism '20) received a UMass Faculty Research Grant to work in archives in Georgia in January 2019. Their research on Henry Grady, New South spokesman and editor of the Atlanta Constitution, was published in The Conversation and will also appear in Journalism and Jim Crow.
Kathy's newsletter Letter from a Region (subscribe here) discusses issues of race, journalism, history, and politics, often tying these topics to current events.
Kathy 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 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
- "Afterword: Women's Suffrage, the Press, and the Enduring Problem of White Supremacy," book chapter, Front Pages, Front Lines: Media and the Fight for Women's Suffrage (University of Illinois Press, 2020).
- “Theorizing American Literary Journalism: Literary Journalism and Book History,” book chapter, The Routledge Companion to American Literary Journalism. (Routledge: December 2019).
- “‘To End the Racial Nightmare, and Achieve Our Country’: James Baldwin and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement,” in Of Latitudes Unknown: James Baldwin’s Radical Imagination, eds. Alice Mikal Craven, William E. Dow, and Yoko Nakamura (New York: Bloomsbury, 2019).
- “Afterword: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the ‘Racist Cover-Up,’” in Political Pioneer of the Press: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her Transnational Crusade for Social Justice, eds. Lori Amber Roessner and Jodi L. Rightler-McDaniels (Lanham, MD: 2018): 175-183.
- “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.