This site describes my background and experience as a journalist, a student of journalism, and a teacher of young journalists.
My fascination with journalism began in the first grade when I sold newspapers after school. At age 7, I was one of the youngest newsboys in the state of Florida. I worked at a local radio station during my high school years to gain broadcast experience and wrote for the school newspaper.
In college I studied newswriting and reporting but instead of going into newspapers I joined a small television station in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where I began my career as a television news reporter. In my sparetime, I wrote freelance articles for newspapers, including the Christian Science Monitor, Washington Star, and Washington Blade.
I advanced to progressively larger television markets, including WTTG, Channel 5 in Washington, D.C., and Cable News Network (CNN) where I was a correspondent. During this time, I covered many important individuals and events, including the Three Mile Island nuclear accident (photo-left) and the Tokyo Economic Summit (photo-right). I received awards for writing and producing, and five Emmy nominations.
After leaving television, I worked in public affairs at a major Washington trade association and later at the U.S Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. At the same time, I began to research and write about journalism history and published Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media, the first book to evaluate factors that influenced how the gay and lesbian minority has been depicted in mainstream American news media over the past 50 years. It was favorably reviewed by the Washington Post, American Journalism Review, and the New York Times which named it a "Notable Book of the Year." (Read Reviews)
A fellowship from the University of North Carolina enabled me to pursue a Ph.D. and I began to explore journalism history surrounding the McCarthy era. My dissertation, "The Hunt for Red Writers: The Senate Internal Security Committee Investigation of Communists in the Press," received the Nafziger-White-Salwen Award, the most prestigious dissertation award from the top association in the nation for mass communication scholars.
My second book, Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press, published in August 2007, traces how journalists became radicalized during the Depression era, only to become targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy and like-minded anti-Communist crusaders during the 1950s. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gene Roberts described it as "an important, detailed examination of a 1950s journalistic crisis too easily forgotten in today's world." The book is published by Temple University Press. Listen to interviews about the book on Hartford's WNPR. The book was named 2008 Best Book of the Year: Adult Non-Fiction by the Connecticut Press Club. The book also received the prestigious Tankard Book Award for outstanding scholarship from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. (Read Reviews)
After receiving my Ph.D., I began teaching journalism and communication courses on the faculty of Temple University in Philadelphia. Previously, I taught on the adjunct faculties at American University in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va. Today, I continue my research and writing on press issues during the Cold War, drawing from government and private archives in the United States and Eastern Europe. I teach broadcast newswriting, reporting for broadcast, and journalism history.
A native of Macon, Georgia, I am an adjunct professor of journalism at University of Maryland at College Park. My research focuses on journalism during the Cold War, particularly American journalists who got into trouble with Communist authorities. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2010-11, I taught journalism and conducted research at the American University in Bulgaria (photo-left).