Michael Murray to receive 2024 Broadcast Education Association Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship Award

by | Mar 25, 2024

Murray has published eight books, including “The Political Performers,” “Television in America,” “Indelible Images: Women of Local Television,” “Media Law and Ethics,” and the “Encyclopedia of Television News.”
Michael Murray

Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus Michael Murray was chosen to receive the 2024 Broadcast Education Association Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship Award. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

Former students such as Jim Tuxbury remember Michael Murray first as a supportive faculty member who guided them toward success after graduation from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

In Tuxbury’s case, he was unsure what he wanted to do with his life or what direction he wanted his career to take when he enrolled in a communication course taught by Murray in the 1980s.

“In the first class I took with him, we connected,” Tuxbury said.

Murray was supportive of Tuxbury when he decided to switch his intended major and also encouraging when the student got his foot in the door at KSDK (Channel 5) and had a chance to pursue further opportunities there.

“Most people you think about that want to go into TV careers want to go into careers that are on television, but I always knew that I wanted to be a behind-the-scenes person,” said Tuxbury, who went on to spend more than 26 years as a photojournalist at the station. “Mike really encouraged that. He made me feel as if I was just as important as someone who wanted to be on TV and really guided me through very formative years at UMSL to get out in the world and then start my career.”

But Murray, a Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication and Media, was and remains a leading scholar on broadcast media and its history. It is a passion he has worked to share with his students at UMSL as well as colleagues around the country throughout his career.

Murray has published eight books, including “The Political Performers,” “Television in America,” “Indelible Images: Women of Local Television,” “Media Law and Ethics,” and the “Encyclopedia of Television News,” which contains 300 entries authored by more than 100 contributing scholars.

Michael Murray, 2024 Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship graphicIt is because of that record that the Broadcast Education Association is awarding Murray its 2024 Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship Award. First bestowed in 2005, the award recognizes significant contributions to research and scholarship involving broadcast and electronic media.

“It’s a great honor, and it’s a reminder of how many people have helped me over the years,” Murray said.

He remains especially grateful for collaborators and co-authors such as Donald G. Godfrey, Mary Beadle and longtime friend Roy L. Moore, with whom he is currently working on the seventh edition of “Media Law and Ethics.” The book is set to be released later this year.

The Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship Award will be presented at BEA’s annual conference on April 13 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, though Murray will be unable to attend. He will, however, deliver a presentation for BEA titled “On-the-Air … and In the Library” via Zoom at 1 p.m. this Wednesday, March 27, from the UMSL campus. Registration for the online event can be done here.

“As broadcast historians, we cannot stress enough the importance of Dr. Murray’s research on our field,” said Madeleine Liseblad, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism & Public Relations at California State University Long Beach, who was one of the people to nominate Murray for the award. “When it comes to broadcasting, the general focus for historians has traditionally been big names and big events because primary source work can more easily be found. But Dr. Murray has understood the importance of examining overlooked and understudied areas.”

Mike Conway, a professor at Indiana University and the director of the Indiana Broadcast History Archive, echoed Liseblad’s thoughts.

“Dr. Mike Murray is one of the most important broadcast media historians of the past several decades,” Conway said. “His own work on CBS and other topics has been vital to our understanding of American broadcast news. He has also helped bring together important scholarship through his edited volumes, including ‘Television in America’ with Don Godfrey concerning local television, ‘Indelible Images’ with Mary Beadle about women in television, and his ‘Encyclopedia of Television News.’”

Both credited him for the gracious way he’s mentored other researchers.

Murray, a founding member and former president of the American Journalism Historians Association and recipient of that organization’s Sidney Kobre Distinguished Service Award, focused his doctoral dissertation at the University of Missouri–Columbia on Edward R. Murrow’s CBS “See It Now” television series. That same year, 1974, he delivered his first research paper at BEA’s annual meeting in Las Vegas on Alistair Cooke’s documentary series, “America.”

He went on to publish interviews with many of the country’s biggest broadcast news figures, including Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, usually focusing on historic broadcasts.

Murray did extensive work locally, as well, including authoring a history of Missouri’s first television station KSD-TV – now KSDK – to mark the station’s 40th anniversary in 1987. His work was excerpted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“My strategy, wherever I went, I was always trying to connect to the local media people,” Murray said.

He helped build communication departments at Virginia Tech and the University of Louisville before returning to his hometown to join the UMSL faculty as a tenured professor and advisor helping to oversee radio station KWMU in 1982.

Murray also took a year away to serve as the founding director of the Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2005-06.

“The BEA Award is in recognition of a Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship,” said his longtime collaborator Moore, a retired professor of journalism who shared an office with Murray at Virginia Tech and went on to serve at the University of Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State University. “There is no one more deserving of this award. Mike has clearly been an outstanding writer, scholar and teacher. I have witnessed his many skills and accomplishments firsthand in our work together.”

Moore added: “The real testament of his lifetime of awards and achievements is that they have continued even after his official retirement, as this BEA award illustrates. His greatest legacy lies in the many students he has mentored over the decades who are now in prominent careers in journalism and mass communication around the country.”

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik