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Whitworth professor elected a vice president of the American Journalism Historians Association

October 13, 2009
Jim McPherson is best known on the Whitworth campus as a professor of communication studies and advisor of the student newspaper, The Whitworthian. Some also know him as an author and lecturer, as well as a former newspaper reporter, editor and public relations professional. This week, McPherson assumed a new role when he became first vice president of the American Journalism Historians Association.

McPherson was elected second vice president at the 2008 AJHA national convention, in Seattle, and became the first vice president at the 2009 convention in Birmingham, Ala., held Oct. 7-10. His primary duty is to oversee the program for next year's convention in Tucson, Ariz., where he will assume the position of president.

"I'm happy to be able to serve an organization that has done so much for me," McPherson says. "My two books, my four book chapters, and various other projects have come as a direct result of contacts I made in AJHA."

David Sloan, professor of journalism at the University of Alabama, founded the AJHA and has served as the organization's president. Sloan nominated McPherson for the position of vice president, which he says he would not have done if McPherson weren't exceptionally qualified.

"Like most of the other people who have served as AJHA president/vice president, Jim has the interest of the organization and of history at heart, rather than his own personal benefit," Sloan says. "People throughout the organization appreciate him for those qualities and think very highly of him."

Sloan says McPherson is an excellent and creative historian who is dependable, personable, hard-working and committed to the AJHA.

McPherson joined the AJHA in 1994 and has served on the board of directors, as co-chair of the history in curriculum task force, and as a member of both the publications committee and the oral history committee. He organized and hosted the 2008 AJHA national convention and also was the editor of the association's newsletter, The Intelligencer, for six years.

A member of the Whitworth faculty since 2000, McPherson received the university's 2007 Academic Challenge Award. He also is the author of several media-related articles and book chapters. His two books, published in 2008 and 2006, respectively, are The Conservatism Resurgence and the Press: The Media's Role in the Rise of the Right and Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. He also has experience in various newspaper positions, has been a freelance writer, editor and photographer, and once hosted a news-talk radio program on Whitworth's KWRS station.

Founded in 1981, the American Journalism Historians Association seeks to advance education and research in mass communication history. Through its annual convention, regional conferences, committees, awards, speakers and publications, members work to raise historical standards and ensure that all scholars and students recognize the vast importance of media history and apply this knowledge to the advancement of society.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Jim McPherson, associate professor of communication studies, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4429 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or