Georgetown’s Phoebe Musandu Wins Prestigious History of Journalism Prize

Oct 31, 2019


Phoebe Musandu, Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), was recently announced as the winner of the prestigious Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize in the History of Journalism for her book, Pressing Interests: The Agenda and Influence of a Colonial East African Newspaper Sector. The prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) to the author of the most outstanding book published in English on the history of journalism. 

Professor Musandu, who splits her time at GU-Q between teaching courses on African history and working on the follow-up book, said the recognition was particularly gratifying for her as a first-time published author. “It is very encouraging after investing so much time and hard work and being plagued by doubts along the way, to have someone tell you that you’ve done something substantive and good, and I am truly honored to have been chosen for this award.” She also hopes the book award creates more interest in this under-researched field. “There is so much more that needs to be researched and written on the history of media and journalism in Africa, in general, and in East Africa in particular. It’s important to note that these histories have strong connections to our understanding of contemporary events in the region.”

Pressing Interests provides a riveting account of Kenya’s publishing industry under British colonial rule, and analyzes the role these periodicals played in the struggle for power and influence among the ruling elites. A native of Kenya, Musandu credits her upbringing for her interest in this historical period. “In our home, the radio and newspapers were important fixtures. The news always mattered. That fascination led me to write this book, and I am so grateful to Georgetown and to Qatar Foundation for providing the support and funding that made this book possible.”

Professor Musandu will accept the honor in person at the opening reception and presentation ceremony of the AHA’s 134th Annual Meeting in New York City this January. The AHA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by the Congress of the United States in 1889 to promote historical studies. Her book, which is published by McGill-Queen’s University Press (2018) was included in GU-Q’s recent celebration of the first hundred books published by the university’s faculty, staff, and affiliated authors.


About Georgetown University in Qatar

Established in 1789 in Washington, DC, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), founded in 2005 in partnership with Qatar Foundation, seeks to build upon the world-class reputation of the university through education, research, and service. Inspired by the university’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding, GU-Q aims to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humankind.

Located in Doha’s Education City, GU-Q offers the same internationally recognized Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree as Georgetown’s Capitol Campus in Washington, DC. This unique, interdisciplinary program prepares students to tackle the most important and pressing global issues by helping them develop critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills within an international context. GU-Q alumni work in leading local and international organizations across industries ranging from finance to energy, education, and media. The Qatar campus also serves as a residency and delivery location for the Executive Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management along with the Executive Master’s in Leadership.

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