AEJMC Memories

These are some of the most memorable experiences AEJMC members have had with us! They have shared stories about people they’ve met at AEJMC, first conferences they’ve attended and special memories from AEJMC events.

A View from the Cafeteria, 1979

“My first AEJ conference was in 1979, at the University of Houston. I was a newly minted Ph.D. – and also a little pregnant (although my mother reminds me how this is all-or-none, so one cannot be “a little” pregnant). The sessions were great: As someone teaching in a tiny department where I was the only one interested in journalism, I was thrilled to be there, to learn from people I had read or read about. What was intimidating, however, was going to the cafeteria for meals, since in those university-based days of conventions, we lived in dormitories and we ate our meals, at designated times, in cafeterias. I entered the cafeteria and faced what seemed like a sea of men, mostly white-haired, seemingly all wearing identical white or blue short-sleeved shirts. I felt, and probably was, quite conspicuous. At first I was surprised that, as soon as I sat down with my tray, people asked me whose wife I was. Then I realized that the assumption was that I was there as “wife.” To my relief, I soon found Renee Hobbs – another woman not there as “wife.”

No long after, the number of women seemed to increase exponentially. Meanwhile, people were always friendly and helpful. And going to AEJMC meetings continues to be gratifying and satisfying. I also learn.”

shared by Linda Steiner

My First Convention

“The memory that sticks out in my mind is my first AEJMC convention as a first-year doctoral student in 1993. Two students, Kristie S. and Anne O., and I decided to go to Kansas City even though we didn’t have papers to present. Our University of Florida faculty members encouraged us to go nonetheless for the experience. We had no money for flights or hotels. We went in my car, an Accord with a manual transmission. One small problem: I was the only one who could drive it and it was an 18-hour trip each way from Gainesville to Kansas City. We crashed for the night in my parents’ house in St. Louis the first night but made it, exhausted, to the Hyatt Regency by noon of Day 1 of the convention. The whole process was a bit overwhelming at first, with us frantically highlighting dozens of papers that we HAD to see presented. Some kind, more senior grad students showed us the tricks, like where to find free food (nighttime socials and breaks in the exhibit hall).

My first night, I was chatting in a hallway with Charles D., another first-year UF doctoral student, and he leans in and says, very quietly, “Don’t turn around, but Steve Chaffee is standing right behind you.” Of course, I immediately spun around just gaped at him as if I were a groupie who had just made it backstage at the years’ biggest concert. The rest of the night, I told everyone I met that I had SEEN STEVE CHAFFEE. In subsequent conventions, I actually got to meet Steve Chaffee. I also remember convention dates and cities by thinking about which daughter I was pregnant with at the time (Rachel, 1994, Atlanta; Hannah, 1997, Chicago) or nursing (Olivia, who I brought, solo, at six weeks old to Phoenix in 2000. I just put her in a baby sling during sessions). But memories of that first convention, 20 years ago, top the list.”

shared by Jennifer Greer 

First Conference

“My first AEJMC was in 2000 in Phoenix.  I remember 110 degrees.  And I remember going back for the Fall semester energized with new ideas.  I got Civic Journaism materials from Jan Schaefer and the Pew Center for Civic Journalism and have continued to have a beneficial professional relationship through her work that intersects with my interests. Overall,  I remember getting so many  new ideas and insights–in  a perfect balance coming from  other faculty along with speakers from the industry.  I’ve only missed one AEJMC conference since, and I continue to find it be of my best professional experiences.  I have many other great AEJMC memories, but as we know, you never forget your first time.”

shared by Tony DeMars

AEJMC Conference in Oreogn (missed!)

“The first AEJMC conference for me was in Corvallis, OR., in 1983, except that I missed it. Entirely my fault. I was in South Korea for research in the summer of 1983, and the Law Division’s letter of my paper acceptance did not reach me in Seoul (no email notification!). Regardless, I could not have led so fulfilling a life as a scholar-teacher if I had not been associated with AEJMC throughout the years. AEJMC has provided me with a unique opportunity to network with many first-class jmc scholars and practitioners and to keep up with the cutting-edge information on my specialty. Most important, I’ve never stopped being inspired by the unwavering commitment of its members to pursuing the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research, and public service.”

shared by Kyu Ho Youm

Our AEJMC Family

“I attended my first AEJ (it had no MC then) convention in 1968 at the University of Kansas in the day when we met on college campuses. I was one of the few women there–it was the time when our profession was overwhelmingly male. But I experienced the welcome of community, family and strong friendships which have always been the hallmark of our organization. There have been many memories over the years…coed bathrooms in the dorms, sing-a-longs late nights in dorm hallways…Tom Wolfe in his white suit at the U. of So. Carolina…the Second Line Parade and a rainbow of beads in New Orleans…the boat ride across Boston harbor…the intense heat in Phoenix. But the greatest memory is evoked each year as we gather in a new city, greet friends we have not seen for a year and pick up and continue a conversation as if we have left off only yesterday…coming home to family.”

shared by Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver

A Journalism Education Partnership

“Poynter’s e-learning project, News University, owes much to its relationship with AEJMC.  In 2006 NewsU is just getting started and wanted to let journalism educators know what it had to offer.  The result, thanks to the help of AEJMC’s HQ, was one of our most fun promotions — the USB giveaway.  Sign up for a free account and you got a wrist band USB drive in the official NewsU orange.  Still pretty cool in 2012.

Thanks, AEJMC members, for making NewsU such a success.”

shared by Howard Finberg (Poynter)