Area of Expertise
News media influence, media myths, yellow journalism and American journalism history, U.S. news coverage of international affairs, Web logs, media and democratization in sub-Saharan Africa, censorship and the media, 1990s
W. Joseph Campbell joined the American University faculty after an award-winning 20-year career as a professional journalist. During his career, Campbell reported from Europe, West Africa, and Asia and from across North America. He is the author of five books, most recently of this Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism. The critically well-received book addresses and debunks 10 prominent media-driven myths—well-known tales about the news media that are widely believed and often retold but which, under scrutiny, prove to be apocryphal or wildly exaggerated. Getting It Wrong won the 2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award, given by the National Society of Professional Journalists for research about journalism. Campbell's first book, The Emergent Independent Press in Benin and Cote d'Ivoire: From Voice of the State to Advocate of Democracy (1998), challenges the pessimistic assessments common to studies of the press in sub-Saharan Africa. His second book, Yellow Journalism: Puncturing the Myths, Defining the Legacies (2001), offers a sweeping reassessment of one of the most controversial periods in American journalism—that of the Yellow Press at the end of the nineteenth century. Yellow Journalism debunks the notion that the yellow press fomented the Spanish-American War. His third book, The Spanish-American War: American War and the Media in Primary Documents,explores news coverage before, during, and after the conflict of the Spanish-American War that ushered the United States onto the global stage. His fourth book, The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigms (2006), identifies a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern mainstream journalism in the United States. Campbell also has written for a variety of scholarly and trade journals and has lectured at the Library of Congress, the National Press Club, and the Newseum. He is a past chair of the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Campbell is the national president of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society recognizing high academic achievement in journalism and mass communication. He has served since 1999 as advisor to American University’s KTA chapter. He is a past winner of the Faculty Member of the Year Award, given by American University’s student government. Campbell’s faculty office is in McDowell Hall, an undergraduate residence hall on the north side of AU’s main campus. His office is there as part of a program of the University’s Office of Campus Life that seeks to encourage informal interaction among AU faculty and students and to emphasize that academic life at AU does not end at the classroom door.