Research and Creative Interests
- television news history
- broadcast history
- journalism history
- video storytelling
I have been fortunate in my professional career to combine two areas that I love: broadcast news and university research/teaching. I started my journalism career right here at Indiana University, studying under legendary broadcast news professor Richard Yoakam. I worked as News Director at WIUS (now WIUX) radio as well reporting and producing for WFIU radio during my college years.
I spent close to 20 years in broadcast news, most of that time in television news. I worked at local television stations throughout the Midwest, doing about every job possible in a newsroom: photographer, reporter, news anchor, sports anchor, producer, bureau chief, executive producer, and news director.
After completing my graduate studies at University of Texas at Austin, I returned to IU as a professor here in the Media School. My main research area is journalism history, in the mid-20th century when radio and television began to emerge as mass media in the United States. I study the development and advancement of television and radio news as well as documentaries.
My main research areas include journalism history, oral history, emerging technologies, broadcast news content, and research methodologies. In my history research, I combine archive work with oral history interviews to explore key moments in the development of radio and television news in the 20th century.
My latest essay is a plea for more research on the production and impact of television news over the past half century. “The Ghost of Television News in Media History Scholarship” is in the Spring 2017 edition of American Journalism.
My current book project is Contested Ground: ‘The Tunnel’ and the Struggle Over Television News in Cold War America with UMass Press. This research involves a controversial 1962 NBC documentary about a daring tunnel escape under the Berlin Wall. The Tunnel became an international controversy on both sides of the wall as the U.S. Government tried to pressure NBC into canceling the broadcast. The debate over the merits of the documentary played out during the period of time when television news was overtaking newspapers as the most important source for news in the United States.
My research into the term “anchor” in television, “The Origins of Television’s ‘Anchor Man:’ Cronkite, Swayze, and Journalism Boundary Work,” was honored by American Journalism journal as the top article of the year.
I am working on a project with Alexandra B. Hitchcock involving Frances Buss, the first woman director in American television. Buss started as a receptionist at CBS when commercial television began in 1941 and fought her way into the male-dominated world of television directing. Buss worked alongside and with some of the biggest names in media including Gilbert Seldes, Worthington Miner, John Houseman, Nicholas Ray, Woody Guthrie, and Mike Wallace. I was fortunate to conduct an extensive oral history interview with Buss before she passed away. We have presented our findings at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference.
My first book, The Origins of Television News in America: The Visualizers of CBS in the 1940s, uncovered a mostly-unknown period of important work in early television when the newscast format was established. That project was a finalist for the Tankard Award, AEJMC’s book of the year honor.
Another project involves the media influences on Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly’s groundbreaking 1950s television program See It Now. Both Murrow and Friendly had limited visual communication experience at the time, yet they still created a program that is considered one of the best documentary programs in television history. Their inclusion of newsreel, documentary, newspaper, magazine and radio veterans to help advance the format is a good example for today’s journalists struggling to adapt to the multi-platform environment.
I have also done extensive work in the area of academic and media ethics. I created and ran an ethics survey project here in Journalism that became one of the largest data sets ever compiled on how students feel about plagiarism and fabrication, both in their college work as well as in their future media work.
Journalism & Media History, Media in the 20th Century, Qualitative Research Methods, Community Journalism, and Video Storytelling.
I am the faculty mentor for the Ernie Pyle Scholars, Class of 2018.
Research Publications, selected
- The Origins of Television News in America: The Visualizers of CBS in the 1940s’. New York: Peter Lang, 2009, 2012.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters, selected
- “The Origins of Television’s ‘Anchor Man:’ Cronkite, Swayze and Journalism Boundary Work.” ‘American Journalism, 34, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 445-467.
- “See It Now: Television News Pictures.” In Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News, edited by Jason E. Hill & Vanessa R. Schwartz. (London: Bloomsbury, 2015).
- “Oral History: Advantages and Challenges in Employing Oral History Interviews as Part of a Research Project.” In Research Methods in Media Studies, edited by Fabienne Darling-Wolf: 155-178. Part of The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies series. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).
- Jacob Groshek and Mike Conway. “The Effectiveness of the Pervasive Method in Ethics Pedagogy: A Longitudinal Study of Journalism & Mass Communication Students,” Journalism: Theory, Practice, & Criticism 14, no. 3 (2013): 348-371.
- “The Extemporaneous Newscast: The Lasting Impact of Walter Cronkite’s Local TV News Experiment.” American Journalism 26, no. 3 (2009): 7-28.
- Mike Conway and Jacob Groshek. “Forgive Me Now, Fire Me Later: Mass Communication Students’ Ethics Gap Concerning School and Journalism.” Communication Education 58, no. 4 (2009): 461-482.
- Mike Conway and Jeffrey R. Patterson. “Today’s Top Story? An Agenda-Setting and Recall Experiment Involving Internet and Television News.” Southwestern Mass Communication Journal 24, no. 1 (2008): 31-48.
- Mike Conway and Jacob Groshek. “Ethics Gaps and Ethics Gains: Differences and Similarities in Journalism Students’ Perceptions of Plagiarism and Fabrication. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 63, no. 2 (2008): 127-145.
Journalism & Media career
- Board of Directors, News and Public Affairs Committee; WFHB Community Radio, Bloomington, Indiana
- Freelance writer, producer, videographer; corporate videos, electronic press releases, music videos
- News Director; WICU/WFXP-TV, Erie, Pennsylvania
- Regional Producer; NBC News Channel, Charlotte, North Carolina
- News Director; WPBN/WTOM-TV; Traverse City, Michigan
- Executive Producer, Newscast Producer; WNEM-TV, Saginaw, Michigan
- Reporter, Photojournalist, Bureau Chief, Sports Anchor; KAKE-TV, Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas
- Reporter, Anchor; WKEF-TV, Dayton, Ohio
- News Director, Anchor, Producer, Reporter, Photojournalist; WGTU/WGTQ-TV, Traverse City, Michigan
- Sports Anchor, Reporter, Photojournalist; WTHI-TV, Terre Haute, Indiana
- Anchor, Reporter; WTHI-AM/FM, Terre Haute, Indiana
- Reporter, Producer; WFIU-FM, Bloomington, Indiana
- News Director, Reporter, DJ, Management Board; WIUS Radio, Bloomington, IN
Academic Awards, selected
- Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, (twice)
- Beth Wood Distinguished Service-Learning Faculty Award
- American Journalism Top Article Award, (twice)
- Tankard Book Award Finalist
- Faculty Research Award, Honorable Mention, American Journalism Historians Association
Journalism awards, selected
- Emmy, Spot News, National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, Ohio Division
- Overall Excellence, Michigan Associated Press
- Best Newscast, Michigan Associated Press
- Best Spot News Coverage, Michigan Associated Press
- Best Hard News Coverage, Michigan Associated Press
- Feature Reporting, Kansas City Press Club
- Best Feature Story, Kansas News Broadcasters
- Photo Essay Excellence Award, Kansas City Press Club
Academic and professional organizations
- American Journalism Historians Association
- Association For Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
- Broadcast Education Association
- International Communication Association
- National Press Photographers Association
- Radio and Television Digital News Association
Joined the faculty here at Indiana University in 2004.