Dr. Melita Marie Garza is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. Since 2013, she has served as an associate professor at Texas Christian University, where she has taught courses on business journalism, diversity and the media, and media history. As part of her work as a professor, Dr. Melita M. Garza maintains memberships in organizations including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
Alongside its education programs for students, teachers, and administrators, AEJMC oversees public initiatives as part of its efforts to promote journalism and freedom of communication. In 2014, the organization launched National News Engagement Day, which takes place every year on the first Tuesday in October.
Former AEJMC president Paula Poindexter proposed the national initiative to encourage more people to consume and discuss the news. The initiative also highlights the importance of a free press and why it’s critical for citizens in a democratic society to stay informed.
Since its launch on US college campuses, News Engagement Day has grown into a global event celebrated in classrooms and by news organizations around the world. In 2018, the event falls on Oct. 2. To learn more about how to get involved, visit newsengagement.org.
A distinguished researcher and speaker who has appeared on Texas Public Radio and C-Span Book TV, Dr. Melita M. Garza has earned honors such as the Latino/Latin American Research (LARA) Award. Alongside serving as associate professor at the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University, Dr. Melita Marie Garza published They Came to Toil: Newspaper Representations of Mexicans and Immigrants in the Great Depression.
A historical journalistic work, They Came to Toil investigates the forced deportation of Mexican immigrants in the 1930s under President Hoover in order to shed light on current issues. Part of the Long Civil Rights Movement, these events received substantially different portrayals in different news sources at the time.
For example, the Mexican newspaper La Prensa reported on individual stories, offering a compassionate look at immigration issues. The San Antonio Express, on the other hand, included varied responses from vilifying immigrants to promoting Mexican labor. They Came to Toil examines these different responses and the historical context, thereby revealing perspectives on immigrants that affect current issues.
Dr. Melita M. Garza teaches courses on media history, business journalism, and diversity in the media as an assistant professor at the Texas Christian University Bob Schieffer College of Communication. A journalism historian who focuses on how English- and Spanish-language media socially construct our world, Dr. Melita Garza has received numerous awards for her work in Mexican-American and Latino studies. In 2015, the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) presented her with the Latino/Latin American Communication Research Award.
The award goes to the top three research papers submitted to the International Communications or Minorities in Communications divisions and recognizes Hispanic, Latino, and Latin American scholars for their research efforts in journalism, mass media, and international communication as it relates to their communities. Papers may feature any research methodologies and address a variety of topics, ranging from Inter-American and Iberian-American communications to critical media and cultural studies. Eligibility is limited to members of the Hispanic, Latino, and Latin American communities, although papers authored by multiple scholars are permitted if the first scholar listed belongs to one of thoe groups.
Sponsorship for LARA comes from the University of Arizona School of Journalism (U of A), the FIU Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), and the Florida International University College of Communication, Architecture and the Arts (CARTA). The U of A sponsors one award, while CARTA and the FIU LACC sponsor the other two.
An assistant professor at Texas Christian University, Dr. Melita M. Garza holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a doctoral degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina. To further her research agenda, Dr. Melita Garza recently received a $1,500 Dean’s Research Grant from the TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication.
The Dean’s Research Grant funded Dr. Garza’s oral history project titled “Journalists in the Long and Wide Civil Rights Movement”, which makes use of oral interviews to explore the impact of journalism as it relates to civil rights reporting. The interview recordings preserve oral testimony for historical purposes based on personal reflection and experience. Often, the taking of oral testimony is more detailed than other interviewing techniques due to the generous amount of time a respondent is given when answering questions. To ensure a sufficient account, the Oral History Association recommends several best practices. These include:
– The use of a room or studio free of noise and other distractions for good quality sound. – The recording of an introduction to summarize the goals of the session. – A pre-planned length for the interview, mutually agreed to by the interviewer and respondent. – The use of questions that are respectful of the interviewee’s wishes, balanced with the necessity of obtaining an accurate historical record. – A signed release form to ensure that the information can be shared.