Sweeney, Michael S. 1958(?)-

views updated

Sweeney, Michael S. 1958(?)-

PERSONAL: Born c. 1958; married; wife’s name Carolyn (a technical writer and editor); children: David. Education: University of Nebraska, B.A., 1980; University of North Texas, M.J., 1991; University of Ohio, Ph.D., 1996.

ADDRESSES: Home— Logan, UT. Office— Journalism & Communication, Utah State University, Room 310-B, Animal Science Building, Logan, UT 84322-4605. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Nebraska Press Association, photographer, 1978-80;Springfield Daily News, education reporter, 1980-81, general assignment reporter, 1981;Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, TX, copy editor, 1981-87, copy desk chief, 1987-89, deputy features editor, 1989-93; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, adjunct professor, 1992; Ohio University, Athens, teaching associate, 1993-96; Utah State University, Logan, assistant professor, 1996-2002, associate professor, 2002-06, professor of journalism, 2006—.

MEMBER: Association of Educational Journalism and Mass Communication, American Journalism Historians Association (chair of research committee, 2006).

AWARDS, HONORS: Book of the Year award, American Journalism Historians Association, and outstanding academic title citation, Choice, both 2001, both for Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II.


Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2001.

(Author of text) From the Front: The Story of War, National Geographic (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Janet F. Davidson) On the Move: Transportation and the American Story, National Geographic (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Robert D. Ballard) Return to Titanic: A New Look at the World’s Most Famous Lost Ship, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2004.

The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce, Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL), 2006.

Last Unspoiled Place: Utah’s Logan Canyon, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2007.

(With John Bul Dau) God Grew Tired of Us, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2007.

Contributor to numerous periodicals and scholarly journals, including Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism History, and American Journalism.

SIDELIGHTS: Michael S. Sweeney is a writer and educator who wanted to be a journalist from the time he was fourteen, when he worked delivering copies of the Washington Evening Star to the University of Maryland’s student housing. He went on to study journalism at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, earning his B.A., and then earned his master’s degree at the University of North Texas. Sweeney cites his college reporting professor, Jim Patten, as having a profound effect on his development through his insistence on accuracy, and also Gale Baldwin, his first city editor, who allowed Sweeney to watch him correct his stories so he could understand why he made the changes that he did. Sweeney went on to work as a journalist for over a decade before turning his attention to teaching, and the opportunity to share his experience with young journalism students.

Since beginning his academic career, Sweeney has written a number of books. His Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II is a study of wartime censorship of print and electronic media in the United States during World War II, conducted primarily in the interests of national security. Sweeney describes the creation of a national Office of Censorship in the period immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and examines how that office was able to work effectively throughout the war to stifle, among other stories, reporting on the development of atomic weapons and on President Roosevelt’s travels. Sweeney shows how the director of the Office of Censorship, Byron Price, was able to control most reporters by persuasion rather than threat, because Price himself was a respected Associated Press journalist. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Secrets of Victory“an even-paced, exhaustively researched” book, and Gerald R. Costa, in a review for the Library Journal, deemed it “timely and important.”Secrets of Victory won the 2001 Book of the Year award from the American Journalism Historians Association.

Sweeney is also author of the text for From the Front: The Story of War, an illustrated volume of photographs and dispatches from American war correspondents. With Janet F. Davidson, he also released On the Move: Transportation and the American Story, a companion volume to a Smithsonian Institution exhibit on travel patterns in America. Jim Ross, in a review for American Road, found the book to be “tightly packed with a wealth of historical facts and anecdotes that make reading it a trip worthwhile.” Gilbert Taylor, writing for Booklist, found that “the crowd-pleasing authors hit on all cylinders.”

The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce looks at the relationship between the military and the press through the decades, particularly during times of war when freedom of speech can work against the military’s need to protect their objectives. In a review for Journalism History, contributors David Copeland and Karen Miller Russell noted: “Even though Sweeney is a former journalist, this history is not written solely from the point of view of the press, and this may be the most valuable element of this book.”



American Historical Review, February, 2002, David F. Krugler, review of Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II, p. 237.

American Road, autumn, 2004, Jim Ross, On the Move: Transportation and the American Story, p. 61.

Booklist, November 15, 2002, Gilbert Taylor, review of From the Front: The Story of War, p. 550; December 1, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of On the Move, p. 638.

Book World, May 27, 2001, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 8.

Choice, July-August, 2001, R.J. Goldstein, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 2025.

Columbia Journalism Review, March, 2001, James Boylan, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 70.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), November 23, 2003, review of From the Front.

Historian, winter, 2002, Frank Warren, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 477.

International History Review, March, 2002, Lawrence C. Soley, review of Secrets of War, p. 186.

Journal of American History, March, 2002, Holly C. Shulman, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 1590.

Journal of Military History, July, 2001, William M. Hammond, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 840.

Journalism History, fall, 2006, David Copeland, Karen Miller Russell, review of The Military and the Press.

Library Journal, February 15, 2001, Gerald R. Costa, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 184.

Political Communication, January-March, 2004, Doris A. Graber, review of Secrets of Victory, pp. 133-136.

Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2001, review of Secrets of Victory, p. 76.

Washington Post, May 27, 2001, “Allied Confidential,” p. T08.


Utah State University Web site, http://www.usu.edu/ (January 2, 2007), faculty biography.