Prof. Ira Chinoy

Merrill Associate Professor Ira Chinoy, Ph.D., won the American Journalism Historians Association 2011 Blanchard Dissertation Award for his dissertation “Battle of the Brains: Election-Night Forecasting at the Dawn of the Computer Age.”

Chinoy examined journalists’ early encounters with computers as reporting tools, focusing on election night in 1952. He obtained the complete NBC and CBS broadcasts from that night, conducted interviews with participants and made use of documents and recordings from dozens of archives, special libraries and private collections across the country. The prize jury noted the originality of Chinoy’s argument, the thoroughness of his research and the clarity of his writing.

Maurine H. Beasley, a professor emerita at the Merrill College, served as Chinoy’s dissertation advisor. She also served as the advisor to the winners of this award in 2010 and 2006.

“Prof. Chinoy’s award recognizes his outstanding contribution to the history of computers in the field of broadcast journalism. It is based on exhaustive research and exemplifies true scholarly attainment,” Beasley said. “All of us at Merrill are proud of his significant accomplishment.”

Before joining the Merrill faculty in 2001, Chinoy had 24 years of experience as a journalist at four news organizations, including The Washington Post, where he was a reporter and director of computer-assisted reporting. At Merrill he teaches courses in computer-assisted reporting, the use of archives as a resource for journalists, mass media history and history as context for emerging media in journalism.

The AJHA Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Prize is awarded annually for the best doctoral dissertation dealing with mass communication history. The award will be presented to Chinoy at the AJHA annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 5-8.

The dissertation is available online here.