Linfield CollegeLinfield College
BEA IGNITEBEA IGNITE
Turn your undergraduate studentsTurn your undergraduate students
into History Detectivesinto History Detectives
Improving the mass mediaImproving the mass media
history project:history project:
Turning undergraduateTurning undergraduate
students into “Historystudents into “History
Michael HuntsbergerMichael Huntsberger
Department of Mass CommunicationDepartment of Mass Communication
Linfield College, McMinnville OR USALinfield College, McMinnville OR USA
World Journalism Education Conference 3 - Ignite!World Journalism Education Conference 3 - Ignite!
Mechelen, Belgium July 2013Mechelen, Belgium July 2013
• Students not interested in media history.
• Students lack connections to the past.
• Students lack training in historical research
• Disengaged students.
• Poor research papers.
• Connect students toConnect students to
media history throughmedia history through
the history they knowthe history they know
best and they canbest and they can
access - their familyaccess - their family
• History Detectives (Public
• Programs available on line
• Identify a communication artifact from family history -
personal letter, diary, photograph, newspaper article,
magazine article, audio or videotape recording, etc.
• Answer these research questions:
• How does this artifact connect your family to a
specific issue, event, or person in a specific medium
during a specific time in U.S. mass media history?
• What is its significance in the context of media
• Write a 3000-3500 word paper.
The final paper (rubric)
• Project design (25%) - introduction,
research questions, literature review,
• Original research (35%) - primary sources,
• Analysis and conclusions (30%) -
explanation, interpretation, context.
• Composition (10%) - scholarly standards,
grammar, citations, references.
• Title: Political Ideology, Nationalism and their
effects on reporting during the [US] CivilWar.
• Artifact: 3x great grandfather’s journal entry
from September 8, 1862 - “Read news of a
battle at Bull Run, Union troops victorious.”
• RQs: How did he receive the news? Since
historians regard the battle as a Union defeat,
why did he believe it was a Union victory?
• Student travels to state newspaper archive,
locates report in September 2, 1862 edition
of The [Jacksonville] Oregon Sentinel.
• Journal documents the ancestor was in
Jacksonville throughout September 1862.
• A family member’s service in a US CivilWarA family member’s service in a US CivilWar
regiment led to a comparative study ofregiment led to a comparative study of
newspaper coverage of large and small battlesnewspaper coverage of large and small battles
on July 4, 1863.on July 4, 1863.
• A medal awarded by the Chinese governmentA medal awarded by the Chinese government
sparked a comparative investigation ofsparked a comparative investigation of
magazine and film coverage of the Chinamagazine and film coverage of the China
airlift during World War II.airlift during World War II.
Image: http://www.michigan.gov/images/civsoldi_9757_7.gif; http://dmn.wpengine.netdna-
The outcomesThe outcomes
• Nature and scope of class discussions showedNature and scope of class discussions showed
students were more enthusiastic about the finalstudents were more enthusiastic about the final
• Office hour contacts and online discussionOffice hour contacts and online discussion
boards showed students were more engagedboards showed students were more engaged
with the instructor, and with each other.with the instructor, and with each other.
• More substantive - and interesting - projects!More substantive - and interesting - projects!
• 4% improvement in scores for the course.4% improvement in scores for the course.