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Roessner Wins National Journalism History Award for Ida Initiative

Amber RoessnerAmber Roessner, associate professor of journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee, has won a new national award recognizing excellence in journalism history education.

She is one of five winners in the inaugural Transformative Teaching of Media and Journalism History teaching idea competition sponsored by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Roessner won for her work around the Ida Initiative, a permanent website dedicated to Ida B. Wells-Barnett. It is a product of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.

“The Ida Initiative class project was inspired from a conversation with Wells-Barnett’s great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, who shared information about an effort to construct a monument to the memory of Wells-Barnett in Bronzeville, the South Side Chicago neighborhood where the social justice crusader had lived and worked after 1895,” Roessner said. 

“While developing the Ida Initiative as an interdisciplinary project to foster research about the life, work, and legacy of Wells-Barnett and other like-minded social justice crusaders by scholars and students of communication and history, the idea to involve undergraduate JEM students took root.”

Roessner said students developed historically informed journalistic-inspired content for the website in advance of a one-day academic conference, Ida B. & Beyond, held in March 2015. 

“Since then, many JEM 367 History of Mass Communication students have participated in the Ida Initiative student project,” she said.

In addition, Roessner co-edited and helped write Political Pioneer of the Press, a book about Wells-Barnett that was published last summer.