My research is situated at the intersection of journalism history and communications law. Specifically, I study efforts to silence the press using libel law.
In Sullivan’s Shadow: The Use and Abuse of Libel Law During the Civil Rights Movement, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2019). For many years, the far right has sown public distrust in the media as a political strategy, weaponizing libel law in an effort to stifle free speech and silence African American dissent. This study illustrates that this strategy was pursued throughout the civil rights era and beyond, as southern officials continued to bring lawsuits in their attempts to intimidate journalists who published accounts of police brutality against protestors. Taking the Supreme Court's famous 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan as my starting point, I work to illuminate a series of often astounding cases that preceded and followed this historic ruling. This study expands on the evidence and argument that southern officials used existing libel laws to craft what amounted to a sedition law in order to stop the press from covering the civil rights movement.
Ken Ward and Aimee Edmondson, “The Espionage Conviction of Kansas City Editor Jacob Frohwerk: ‘A Clear and Present Danger’ to the United States,” Journal of Media Law & Ethics (Summer/Fall, 2017).
Aimee Edmondson, “Rearticulating New York Times v. Sullivan as a Social Duty to Journalists,” Journalism Studies (Fall 2016).
Aimee Edmondson, “A Pulitzer from the North, a Libel Suit from the South: Southern Editors’ Civil Rights Writings, 1954-1968,” First Amendment Law Review, 12 (Winter 2014).
Aimee Edmondson, “Tool of Empowerment: The Rhetorical Vision of Title Nine,” Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 7:1 (Fall 2011): 135-154.
Molly Yanity and Aimee Edmondson, “Ethics and the Online Coverage of Recruiting High School Athletes,” International Journal of Sports Communication, 4 (Winter 2011): 403-421.
Aimee Edmondson and Charles N. Davis, “Prisoners of Private Industry: Economic Development and State Sunshine Laws,” Communication Law & Policy, 16: 317 (Summer 2011): 317-348.
Aimee Edmondson, “In Sullivan’s Shadow: The Use and Abuse of Libel Law Arising from the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1989,” Journalism History 37:1 (April 2011): 27-38.
Aimee Edmondson and Earnest L. Perry, “‘To the detriment of the institution’: The Missouri Student’s Fight to Desegregate the University of Missouri.” American Journalism 27:4 (Fall 2010): 105-131.
Aimee Edmondson, “Packing Heat: A Gun Battle between Privacy and Access,” Journal of Media Law & Ethics, 1:4 (Summer/Fall 2009): 217-240.
Aimee Edmondson and Earnest L. Perry, “Objectivity and The Journalist’s Creed: Local coverage of Lucile Bluford’s fight to enter the Missouri School of Journalism.” Journalism History 33: 4 (Winter 2008): 233-240.
Elinor Kelley Grusin and Aimee Edmondson, “Taking it to the Web: Youth News Moves Online.” Newspaper Research Journal 24: 3 (Summer 2003): 91-96.
Book Chapters and contributions:
“Forced to the Margins: The African American Press at the Turn of the Century.” 1908: Journalism at its Professional Birth.Ed. Betty Winfield. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 2008, 303-315. Co-authored with Earnest Perry.
Principles of American Journalism, Essay on legal history and evolution of libel law textbook. Eds. Stephanie Craft and Charles Davis. New York: Routledge, 2013, 174-176.
Essays and Op-Eds:
Aimee Edmondson, “Advertising History: Landmark Libel Case Based on an Advertisement,” Advertisingweek360.com, August 29, 2019.
Aimee Edmondson, “Sandmann v. Washington Post: Discomfort is not libel,” Cincinnati Enquirer/USA Today Network, August 4, 2019.
Aimee Edmondson, “Don’t gut libel ruling that gave us brave civil rights, Vietnam and Watergate coverage,” USA Today, February 22, 2019.
Aimee Edmondson, “How to Overcome Your (and Your Students’) Fear of Excel,” MediaShift, August 2017.
Aimee Edmondson, “Grant research highlights little-known Espionage Act defendant,” The Intelligencer, Fall 2016.
Aimee Edmondson, “The Historian’s Role in Teaching Data Journalism,” The Intelligencer, Summer 2016.