James Danky ’70 honored for service to journalism

James Danky ’70 of Stoughton, Wisconsin, has received the rare and prestigious honor of Distinguished Service to Journalism Award from the American Journalism Historians Association. The award has been presented only four times since it was founded in 1981.

“While it’s always positive to have one’s work recognized, to receive this honor from peers is very special,” Danky says.

This award is reserved for those generally outside the field of academe who have made major contributions to the preservation of journalism history.

Danky, currently a faculty associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was responsible for the preservation of a massive newspaper collection, which he tended during a 40-year career at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, second in size only to the series at the Library of Congress.

One nominator noted Danky “radically increase(d) the scope of the Society’s serial holdings in many new fields … (and) added more than 75,000 new titles during his tenure and in doing so helped to define many new areas for inquiry by historians.”

Danky was particularly effective at preserving “alternative” publications, meaning that scholars now and into the future will have access to African American, Native American, Alaska natives, Hawaiian natives, Latin American and Haitian American newspapers, among others.

“James Danky, through sheer dedication and resolve, expanded newspaper collections for the University of Wisconsin-Madison for overlooked subjects, and helped organize conferences and colloquia to expand intellectual discourse on these topics of journalism history,” says Dr. Thomas A. Mascaro, chair of the AJHA Awards committee. “His long list of impressive professional services to the field of media history is truly outstanding.”

At Ripon College, he majored in history and philosophy.


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