As a sequel to Lincoln's Censor, I have re-examined Lincoln and the press. In an article titled “Lincoln and Civil War Press Suppression Reconsidered” published in the fall of 2009 in American Journalism. I look at Lincoln's gradual change toward a more protective attitude regarding press freedom. It is based primarily on an 1863 letter the president wrote to Major General John M. Schofield, the commander of the Department of Missouri. I conclude that Lincoln, who was basically a moderate and pragmatist, saw that the rule of law must be saved in the long run, which meant discontinuing extra-legal policies of press constraints. Otherwise, his greater goals of reunion and abolition would not occur in the democratic republic the founding fathers created.
I remain very interested in the re-settlement of African Americans into Ontario, Canada, during the nineteenth century. I think this is a very important development in the history of American freedom. I was recently in Hamilton, Ontario, and there was a strong Underground Railroad presence in that area of Canada.
I have proposed writing a book about several high school student media programs around the country that work in an environment where the First Amendment functions in the same way it does for the commercial press. The methodology would include ethnography and in-depth interviewing. The purpose is to show that student media that operate in a free, open environment and serve their student bodies as public forums produce quality journalism. The point of this book will be that journalism students do better when they have better working (that is, free press) environments. The idea has come from my work with the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University and Iowa High School Press Association summer workship at the University of Iowa. I also believe an in-depth study of the Tinker v. Des Moines case is long overdue.
I am interested in looking closely at the newspaper career of Mohandas K. Gandhi. When I was in Mumbai in January 2009, I went to a Gandhi museum (Mani Bhavan) and found a whole treasure trove of documents from the Mahatma's career, including his days as an editor-publisher of several grassroots newspapers ... I am also looking at international coverage of the U.S. Civil War, which is a much under-explored area of nineteenth-century mass communication research.