Articles and Essays

(scroll to bottom for conference papers and graduate works)

“The Vilest Man in the Newspaper Business”: F. G. Bonfils’s Libel Case against the Rocky Mountain News

Journalism history

Volume 45, no. 3 (2019): 270–287.

Winner: Warren Price Award, AEJMC history division, 2017

Denver Post publisher F. G. Bonfils sued the rival Rocky Mountain News for libel in 1932. This research details the efforts of News investigative reporter Wallis Reef, who was sent on a months-long fact-finding mission to bolster the News’s case by documenting Bonfils’s history of crime and corruption. In presenting Reef’s findings, this work provides detailed information on a crucial episode in the long and consequential history of the newspaper war between the News and Post. Using investigative reports maintained by Reef that document his efforts day by day, it provides evidence lending credibility to long-held rumors of fraud on the part of Bonfils. Along the way, this work explores how Reef navigated his tenuous position as investigative reporter/private investigator and the impact of his work on the News’s defense against Bonfils’s libel case.


Social Networks, the 2016 US Presidential Election, and Kantian Ethics: Applying the Categorical Imperative to Cambridge Analytica’s Behavioral Microtargeting

Journal of media ethics

Volume 33, no. 3 (2018): 133–48.

The 2016 US presidential election witnessed the development of ethically dubious methods of political persuasion built and executed on social networking sites. The following analyzes the ethics of behavioral microtargeting practices such as those of Cambridge Analytica, a company that claims to have played a central role in Donald Trump’s successful candidacy through its use of social networking sites such as Facebook. After describing Cambridge Analytica’s method of data manipulation and identifying several threats to individual autonomy posed by such practices, this research explores whether Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative could be used by individuals to effectively guard democratic processes.


The Espionage Conviction of Kansas City Editor Jacob Frohwerk: “A Clear and Present Danger” to the United States

Journal of media law and ethics

Volume 6, no. 1/2 (Summer/Fall 2017): 39–56.

Winner: Second-place paper, AEJMC history division, 2016

In 1918, German-language newspaper editor Jacob Frohwerk was convicted under the Espionage Act for editorials critical of World War I. He appealed to the Supreme Court, where his case was considered alongside landmark First Amendment cases like Schenck, Debs and Abrams. Frohwerk was sentenced to ten years in Leavenworth for his editorials in the Missouri Staats-Zeitung. Despite the impact of the case, Frohwerk has been overlooked by legal scholars and journalism historians. This historical analysis utilizes archival documents, newspaper articles, and court and prison records, providing the first thorough consideration.


Crafty Ads: Branding and Product Nesting in the Arts and Crafts Magazine The Craftsman

Journal of Magazine and New Media Research

Volume 17, no. 2 (Winter 2017): 1–20.

Winner: Robert Lance Memorial Award for Top Student Paper, AJHA, 2013

This article identifies innovative marketing strategies used at the dawn of the twentieth century in the Arts and Crafts magazine The Craftsman, a product of furniture maker Gustav Stickley. Drawing on all issues of the publication, the article identifies the use of novel product nesting strategies that advertise Stickley’s products within The Craftsman magazine and provides evidence innovators like Stickley were testing product placement techniques as early as the first decade of the twentieth century. Additionally, the article analyzes branding strategies employed in the magazine that illustrate the versatility of the brand and its ability to borrow credibility from significant figures in the Arts and Crafts movement and American history. It contributes a notable case of creative magazine advertising previously overlooked by media scholars and provides opportunities for parallel studies of other magazines.


Conference Papers

“The Vilest Man in the Newspaper Business”: F. G. Bonfils’s Libel Case against the Rocky Mountain News

AEJMC 2017

“Head Thrown Back, Eyes Alert”: Sharing Nature in the Columbus Dispatch Column of Edward Sinclair Thomas

AJHA 2016

The Espionage Conviction of Kansas City Editor Jacob Frohwerk: “A Clear and Present Danger” to the United States

AEJMC 2016

Crafty Ads: Corporate Branding and Product Nesting in the Arts and Crafts Magazine The Craftsman

AJHA 2013

Digital Dependence: Information-Seeking Habits of Millennials in Distress


Graduate Works

America’s Last Newspaper War: One Hundred and Sixteen Years of Competition between the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News

Doctoral dissertation, ohio university, 2018

This historical analysis charts the 116 years of competition between the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post to better understand the strategies employed by the two newspapers in their competition with one another and against other challenges, such as widespread economic uncertainty and the decline of the newspaper industry. Research questions are evaluated in light of the modern media ecosystem, one in which news organizations tangle with one another on the Internet as well as their native platforms as they compete for the strained attention of their audiences. This work offers practical lessons of immediate use related to market competition, product differentiation, emergent media, economic hardship, and public versus private ownership models, advice that benefits today’s publishers as they attempt to stand out in a difficult news environment. Chaired by Mike Sweeney.

Section and Silver: Editorial Representations of Political Regionalism and Bimetallism in the Cripple Creek Mining District Press, 1894–1904

Master’s thesis, wichita state university, 2014

An analysis of the utilization of the so-called “silver question” by newspaper editors in Colorado’s Cripple Creek Mining District. Findings suggest questions surrounding federal bimetallism monetary policy had a much stronger influence on editors in the US Mountain West than previously understood by media historians. Chaired by Lisa Parcell.