BiographyDavid B. Sachsman holds the George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs at the rank of professor. He came to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in August 1991 from California State University, Fullerton, where he had served as dean and professor of the School of Communications. Previously, he was chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Media at Rutgers University.
Dr. Sachsman is the director of the annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression, which he and S. Kittrell Rushing founded in 1993. Dr. Sachsman is an editor of The Civil War and the Press, a book of readings drawn from the first five conferences, published by Transaction Publishers in 2000, and he is an editor of a three-book series based on conference papers published by Purdue University Press. The first book in the series, Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film, which was published in 2007, was nominated for the Lincoln Prize and exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The second book in the series, Words at War: The Civil War and American Journalism, was published in 2008, and the third book, Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press, was published in 2009. Transaction published another book in 2013, Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting, and in 2014, it published A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War. In 2017, Transaction (now Routledge/Taylor & Francis) published After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900. Routledge published The Antebellum Press: Setting the Stage for Civil War in 2019.
Dr. Sachsman also is known for his research and scholarly activities in environmental communication and environmental risk reporting and for the three editions of Media: An Introductory Analysis of American Mass Communications (which he wrote with Peter M. Sandman and David M. Rubin, and for which he wrote the history chapter). A journalist by trade, Dr. Sachsman also has written about the suburban press. In 2005, Dr. Sachsman headed the team appointed to evaluate the US Agency for International Development’s environmental education and communication efforts in more than thirty countries across twelve years. From 2000 to 2010, Dr. Sachsman was engaged in a research project on environmental reporters with Dr. JoAnn Valenti, now retired from Brigham Young University, and Dr. James Simon of Fairfield University. This project resulted in the publication of five refereed journal articles and a book, Environment Reporters in the 21st Century, which was published by Transaction in 2010. Dr. Sachsman and Dr. Valenti are currently in contract with Routledge to edit the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Environmental Journalism.
Dr. Sachsman received his BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his MA and PhD in Communication from Stanford University. He has been teaching journalism to students and professionals since 1969. In 1998, he received the Yale Daily News’s Braestrup Fellowship and gave two presentations on journalism ethics at Yale University. In 2003, he delivered the Medart Lecture (on “Mass Media and War”) at Maryville University in St. Louis. Dr. Sachsman served as a Senior Fulbright-Hays Scholar in 1978–1979 in Nigeria, where he helped plan for the development of one of the first mass communication graduate degrees in West Africa.
The Hazel Dicken-Garcia Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Journalism History was awarded to Dr. Sachsman at the twenty-fifth annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression in 2017. Dr. Dicken-Garcia headed the selection committee.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Environmental Risk Communication