So what's the story with NRJ?
Newspaper Research Journal took root in 1979, the brainchild of Dr. Gerald C. Stone. The original impetus to initiate a journal centered on newspaper research arose a year earlier at the 1978 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, at which Stone, along with his cohorts in the Newspaper Division, discussed an industry guru's scathing report about the state of journalism education. The industry personality had taken some cheap shots but had also backed up his assertions with quantitative measures. As a response to the harsh attack, Stone, along with incoming Newspaper Division head, Dr. Elden Rawlings, began work on NRJ.
Rawlings was instrumental in the fledgling stages. He was a staunch supporter of NRJ, and he never hesitated to champion its cause to whoever would listen. In fact, Rawlings was so dedicated to the journal, that he convinced the Newspaper Division’s board to commit three-fourths of its treasury ($2,000) to the project.
“He went way out on a limb by committing resources, substantial resources, to seeing the journal produce its first edition,” Stone said. “I don’t think anybody at the time was talking about such a substantial amount of the treasury. When we began to realize that was what we were talking about here, (Rawlings) could’ve pulled the plug, or he could’ve pulled the plug after the first one and said, ‘That was nice, but it’s too expensive.’ But instead he said, ‘No, let’s keep doing it.’”
So Stone was charged with the unenviable task of helping a freshman journal gain momentum. At the time, Stone was a professor at California State University, Long Beach, and it was there in the spring of 1979 that he completed the journal’s prototype edition, “a rag-tag 72-page booklet with nine research articles and multiple typos – my pride and joy.”
Dr. Gerald C. Stone
B.A.: Journalism, Louisiana State University
Ph.D.: Syracuse University.
Taught at LSU-Alexandria, Northeast Louisiana University, California State University-Long Beach, University of Memphis,
Ohio University and Southern Illinois University
NRJ Editor for 12 years
Ralph Izard is Sig Mickelson/CBS professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University and professor emeritus in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He previously served a two-year term with the Media Studies Center/First Amendment Center in New York, where he was online editor of publications and coordinator of the International Initiative for Journalism Education.
Newspaper Research Journal