A Conversation with Barbara Cloud

Article excerpt

Barbara Cloud has made an immense contribution to our field, not only as a teacher and researcher but as the editor of Journalism History for almost 10 years. She has put her stamp of excellence on the journal, retaining and enhancing its reputation as the premier historical journal in our field. To appreciate what she has done with the journal, it is only necessary to have her speak about being the editor and the triumphs and tribulations of the job. There is a real commitment to serving the field and doing it well, no matter how much effort it takes. Gerald J. Baldasty, a professor at the University of Washington and Barbara's senior editor on the journal, conducted the following question and answer session with her about her tenure on Journalism History.

Baldasty: When did you take over the journal?

Cloud- In 1992 1 guest edited an issue on the Business of journalism-and ended up producing it, as well.

Baldasty: What was the most interesting part of being editor?

Cloud: Discovering the enormous variety of interests among the researchers and their often creative ways of approaching their topics.

Baldasty: What is the most difficult or challenging part of being editor?

Cloud: Being tactful in rejecting manuscripts, especially when the problem is poor writing and organization.

Baldasty: What were challenges you had not anticipated

Cloud: Reviewers who did not meet deadlines or who gave me one-paragraph reviews. I assumed that faculty would be more sensitive to the angst of people submitting for publication and would respond accordingly to help their colleagues.

Baldasty: What's the quality of scholarship you saw as editor? Did you see changes, during your tenure, in the kind of work being done, in the quality of work being done?

Cloud: Some of the scholarship was outstanding; some scholarship was outstanding but the author had a difficult time organizing it so that it made sense to the reader.

Baldasty: What advice would you give to scholars submitting their work to academic journals? What's the biggest problem that seems to confront authors?

Cloud: Advice to scholars is to deal with reviews as best they can and keep resubmitting articles, preferably to the same publication as long as there seems to be any hope. I was sometimes discouraged to see an article JH had rejected, but which an author had spent quite a bit of time on, published in another journal.

Baldasty: What do you see as some of your accomplishments?

Cloud: I am proud of some of the outstanding articles we published (some won awards such as the Covert award). …