Carolyn Kitch (L) and Shannon Rooney (R)

This year's Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's (AEJMC) conference will be held in Detroit in August 2022, and two members of the Klein College of Media and Communication community will be receiving awards for their outstanding work.

Established in 2020, the History Division gives the Donald L. Shaw Senior Scholar Award to one distinguished member of the division with a minimum of 15 years of work in the media history field. This year's recipient is Klein College of Media and Communication's Laura H. Carnell Professor of Journalism Carolyn Kitch, KLN '98 (she/her).

"One of the nice things about receiving an award like this is that it's an award from your peers," Kitch said. "It's rewarding to have this kind of honor that comes from other scholars in the field who do similar work."

Kitch has been publishing for almost 25 years, and most of her work falls into two categories: media history and memory studies. She has gained a reputation as a top historian in the field as she has shared her work with colleagues and students alike since she came to Temple University in 1999.

Journalism Department Chair and Professor David Mindich (he/him) and Associate Professor Brian Creech nominated Kitch for the award.

Kitch and Mindich were graduate students at the same time, and often attended the same academic conferences where they would attend each other's presentations. "Right from the very beginning, I was in complete awe of how thorough, incisive and important her research was," Mindich said.

Over the years, Kitch has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level on media memory and journalism history while also mentoring countless students, including Klein's other 2022 AEJMC Award winner Shannon Rooney, KLN '13 '20 (she/her). 

Rooney worked at Temple in the College of Liberal Arts before becoming the director of marketing communications and then assistant dean for strategic communications in Klein. Kitch nominated Rooney for the Cultural & Critical Studies Division's Dissertation Award for dissertation, Memory, Margins, and Materiality: The Philadelphia MOVE Bombing, that she did as a media and communication PhD student at Klein. "As I watched this research unfold over a seven-year period, I came to greatly admire Shannon's combination of research tenacity and analytical ability in her effort to make sense of this complex story," Kitch wrote in her nomination.

Rooney's dissertation started as a paper for a class Rooney took with Kitch as a master's student in 2011. When it came time for her PhD, Rooney wanted to revisit her work since much of the way the MOVE Bombing was remembered through media changed in the years since her original paper. Kitch chaired Rooney's dissertation committee.

"It was a really interesting time to be writing about all of this," said Rooney due to the timing of the murder of George Floyd and the activity of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. 

Another one of Kitch's mentees, Carrie Teresa, KLN '14 (she/her), is glad to see her be honored with this year's Shaw Senior Scholar Award. Teresa credits Kitch's graduate level journalism history course with helping her finally find her way in the field. After that, Teresa took more courses with her, and she also served as the chair of her dissertation committee.

Rooney was in the same class as Teresa and had a similar experience after taking the course with Kitch, saying that it changed the way she looked at the entire world.

"I was thrilled when I found out that she won because I couldn't think of anyone that would be more deserving than Carolyn," Teresa said. "She is completely generous with her time and her expertise."

Teresa is thankful for Kitch's guidance both while she was studying at Temple and in the time since she has graduated. "She always puts her mentees before herself," she said.

Kitch and Rooney will officially receive their awards at their division's award ceremony in August before the annual AEJMC conference begins.

"I was really bowled over and surprised to win this award, and will definitely be there to receive it and also celebrate Dr. Kitch," Rooney said.