Dr. Michael Fuhlhage



Michael Fuhlhage (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.A. University of Missouri School of Journalism) joined the Wayne State journalism faculty in 2014.

A specialist in the cultural history of journalism and media, Fuhlhage is the author of Yankee Reporters and Southern Secrets: Journalism, Open Source Intelligence, and the Coming of the Civil War. The American Journalism Historians Association has selected him for the 2020 National Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he has co-authored several journalism and media history projects with graduate students.

If you are interested in joining his research gang, please email him at fr1136@wayne.edu. Projects are constantly in the works on issues and eras ranging from the anti-slavery press of the 1840s to reporting on the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Fuhlhage has many years of experience as an editor, designer, and reporter on news, sports, and features. His experience includes work at The Santa Fe New Mexican, Des Moines Register, Columbia Missourian, Palm Springs Desert Sun, and Lawrence Journal World.

"I grew up in a family where we all gathered in the living room on Sundays and shouted at the TV during Sunday-morning news shows such as Face the Nation and Meet the Press," he recalls. "Combine that interest in public affairs with a love of writing and you get an aspiring news editor.

"Professional experience during the rise of online journalism informs my teaching of reporting, news writing, editing, and design. Want to write about public affairs? Sports? Business? Lifestyles? Food? I’ve worked in all those departments, and I’ve been part of hiring decisions in professional newsrooms. That gave me the experience to show you what you need to do to succeed as a journalist.

"I treat my classroom as if it were a newsroom. When you take my news reporting courses, you go out into the community and cover events, conduct interviews, write issue stories, learn to use social media platforms and curation tools to gather information and cultivate sources. You’ll learn the importance of getting it right as well as getting it fast. You’ll learn to fix your own errors. You’ll learn to write and think like a professional journalist."

Academic Interests

Journalism; mass communication; media and race; Latinos and mass media; history of communication networks; media coverage of immigrants and immigration

Area of Expertise

Cultural history, conflict journalism, mass media theory, open source intelligence, journalism, editing, reporting, news design, data visualization, 

Degrees and Certifications

• Ph.D. in Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• M.A. in Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia
• B.S.J. in News-Editorial Journalism, University of Kansas

Primary Research Interest

My research examines newsgathering in the nineteenth century, the evolution of news coverage of Latinos and Latino immigration and the ways cultural identity shapes journalists’ perception and representation of minorities. I am primarily a media historian but also study contemporary media portrayals of Latinos. My most recent contemporary project examined differences in wire service and local coverage of Latino immigration in a rural community. I'm intrigued by big historical problems, starting with how the evolution of mass communication networks influences the flow of ideas. One example is my work on the ways the Southern press portrayed Mexicans in the nineteenth century. I'm interested in the relationship between a journalist's social identity and the ways they portray social issues. In one article, I looked at a correspondent's reporting about the anti-slavery movement in Bleeding Kansas, and the ecosystem of abolitionist news, information, and opinion in the 1850s. I founded the WSU Communication History Research Gang in 2016, and we've published our work on the flow of news and opinion during the Secession Crisis in 1860-61. Our most recent publication, in Journalism History, is about the ways newspapers in the Detroit River Borderland covered the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

Recent Publications

Melita Garza, Michael Fuhlhage, and Tracy Lucht (eds.), Routledge Companion to American Journalism History (New York: Routledge, in press).

Michael Fuhlhage, “The Myth of the Mexican Miscreant,” in Garza, Fuhlhage, & Lucht (eds.), Routledge Companion to American Journalism History (New York: Routledge, in press).

Michael Fuhlhage, (in press), “Mexican American Combatants in the Civil War Press,” chapter for edited monograph “The Image of the Soldier in the Civil War Press,” ed. Katrina Quinn (New York: Routledge), ISBN 9781032397658.

Michael Fuhlhage and Lee Wilkins (in press), “Media Culpa: Newspapers’ Apologies for Complicity in Systemic Racism,” in Garza, Fuhlhage, & Lucht (eds.), Routledge Companion to American Journalism History (New York: Routledge).

Melita Garza, Michael Fuhlhage, and Tracy Lucht, “Introduction,” (in press) in Garza, Fuhlhage, & Lucht (eds.), Routledge Companion to American Journalism History (New York: Routledge).

Michael Fuhlhage, Melita Garza, and Tracy Lucht, “Conclusion,” (in press) in Garza, Fuhlhage, & Lucht (eds.), Routledge Companion to American Journalism History (New York: Routledge).

Anna Lindner*, Michael Fuhlhage, Darryl Frazier*, and Keena Neal* (2023) “ ‘If Ever Saints Wept and Hell Rejoiced, It Must Have Been Over the Passage of That Law’: The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act in Detroit River Borderlands Newspapers, 1851-1852,” Journalism History. Doi 10.1080/00947679.2022.2161800

Michael Fuhlhage, (2022) “Politics, Partisanship, and the Press in the Midwest,” in The Mid-Western Press in the Crucible of the American Civil War, eds. Debra Reddin van Tuyll and Mary M. Lamonica (New York: Peter Lang Publishing), ISBN 9781433176043.

Michael Fuhlhage, Tabitha Cassidy*, Erika Thrubis*, Darryl Frazier*, Scott Burgess,* and Keena Neal* (2021). “Spinning toward Secession: The Interplay of Editorial Bellicosity and Exchange News in the Press before the American Civil War,” Southeastern Review of Journalism History.

Julien Gorbach and Michael Fuhlhage (2021) “Fallen, Broken Places: American Imperial Journalism in Thomas W. Knox’s Boy Travellers Books,” Journalism History. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00947679.2020.1866405

Julien Gorbach and Michael Fuhlhage (2021) “Writing About White Supremacy During the Summer of the George Floyd Protests,” Journalism History, July 12, 2021, https://journalism-history.org/2021/07/12/research-essay-history-of-breaking-news/

Michael Fuhlhage, Jade Metzger-Riftkin*, Sarah Walker*, and Nicholas Prephan* (2020) “The News Ecosystem During the Birth of the Confederacy: South Carolina Secession in Southern Newspapers,” American Journalism. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08821127.2020.1750886

Debra Reddin van Tuyll, Michael Fuhlhage, Bill Huntzicker, Mary Lamonica, Jennifer Moore, and Katrina Quinn (2020) “Historical Roundtable: Opening New Doors: Researching Unfamiliar or Under-studied Areas of Journalism History,” Historiography in Mass Communication 6, no. 1: 11-26.

Michael Fuhlhage, Yankee Reporters and Southern Secrets: Journalism, Open Source Intelligence, and the Coming of the Civil War (New York: Peter Lang, 2019).

Michael Fuhlhage, “To Limit the Spread of Slavery: A Boston Journal Correspondent’s Multiple Roles in the Kansas Free State Movement,” Journalism History (scheduled for publication October 2017).

Michael Fuhlhage, Donald Shaw, Lynette Holman, and Sun Young Lee, “Blowing Embers: An Exploration of the Agenda-Setting Power of Books,” Journalism Studies. (February 2016). DOI Number: 10.1080/1461670X.2015.1135755

Michael Fuhlhage, “Brave Old Spaniards and Indolent Mexicans: J. Ross Browne, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, and the Social Construction of Off-Whiteness,” American Journalism 31, no. 1 (Spring 2014), 100-126.

Michael Fuhlhage, "Storify and Twitter for Reporting and Curating a Meeting Story," in Susan Keith (ed.),TNT 21 2013: Top Submissions to Teaching News Terrifically in the 21st Century, Vol. 2, (Lincoln, NE: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2013): 10-11.

Michael Fuhlhage, “ ‘The Most Solemn and Impressive Duty’: New York Tribune Reporter Albert Deane Richardson’s Captivity and Campaign to Relieve Prisoners During the Civil War,” Journalism History 39, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 82-93.


Courses Taught

 News Reporting

Seminar in Mass Media (Historical Methods and Historiography in Mass Media)

 Introduction to Professional Media Practices

 News Editing

 Public Affairs Reporting

 History of American Journalism and Media

 Feature Writing