John S. Armstrong

John Armstrong

Professor Emeritus, Communication Studies

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Dr. Armstrong taught in the Furman Communication Studies Department from 2002 to 2020. He published journal articles and book chapters on media history, law, policy, and ethics. He also directed more than a dozen Furman student research projects that were accepted for presentation at national and regional conferences. As a former television news producer and executive producer, John started the department’s electronic media program and established its television studio in 2003. John is a native of Southern California and he graduated with a degree in history from Pomona College in Claremont, California. At Pomona, he was commencement speaker, an All-American in NCAA, Division III Track & Field, and the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Fellowship. His school record in the 5,000 meter run stood for 39 years. After receiving his masters degree in journalism from UC Berkeley, he worked as a broadcast journalist at CNN in Atlanta and at network affiliates in Salt Lake City and Denver. After 14 years as a television journalist, Dr. Armstrong returned to academics and received his doctorate from the University of Utah. His dissertation, on localism in television, received the Kenneth Harwood Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Broadcast Education Association. In 2004 he received the University’s Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Meritorious Advising Award. Upon retirement in 2020, he and his wife Amy moved to her hometown of Denver, Colorado. His hobbies include playing the banjo badly and running. He has run 14 marathons so far, including a 3:23:50 effort at age 60.


  • Alester G. Furman, Jr., and Janie Earle Furman Meritorious Advising Award, 2004
  • Outstanding Debut Paper, History Division, Broadcast Education Association, 2005
  • Kenneth Harwood Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2002
  • NCA Doctoral Honors Seminar, Northwestern University, 2000
  • Top Student Paper, Media Studies Interest Group, Western States Communication Association, 1998
  • Outstanding Graduate Teacher, Department of Communication, University of Utah, 1997. I was selected for the Department's annual International Communication Association Award
  • Best 10PM Newscast, Denver Market, 1990. Awarded by Associated Press, Denver, Colorado. I received while I was 10PM Newscast Producer at KMGH TV
  • Third Place, JVC Student Video Competition, New York City, 1980
  • NCAA Postgraduate Fellowship, 1977
  • NCAA Division III Track and Field All-American, 1976 and 1977.
  • Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Cross Country Champion, 1975 and 1976


  • Ph.D., University of Utah
  • M.A.,University of California at Berkeley
  • B.A., Pomona College
  • Benton Broadcast Fellow, University of Chicago


  • Armstrong, J. (2012). "The Carnival in Kingstree: A Bakhtinian Analysis of the Charlie Walker Obscenity Case." Journal of Radio & Audio Media
  • Armstrong, J. (2011). "The Devil and Free Speech: Response Essay to John Durham Peters' Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition" (Forum Section). Free Speech Yearbook, 2009-2010. Juliet Dee (ed.) (44) pp. 147-150. Washington, D.C.: NCA Publications
  • Armstrong, J. (2011). "Taking Aristotle to Work: The Practical and Moral Value of Ethics Education." In Controversies in Media Ethics (3rd ed.). A. David Gordon and John Michael Kittross (eds.), 86-90. New York: Routledge
  • Armstrong, J. (2011). Glossary for Controversies in Media Ethics (3rd ed.). A. David Gordon and John Michael Kittross (eds.), 536-554. New York: Routledge
  • Armstrong, J. (2008). "Public Access Television." In The International Encyclopedia of Communication. Wolfgang Donsbach (ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell
  • Armstrong, J. (2007). "Constructing Television Communities: The FCC, Signals, and Cities, 1948-1957." Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media (Spring 2007): 129-46
  • Armstrong, J. (2007). "More Philosophy Means More Relevance: Digging Deeper into Media Ethics." Media Ethics (Fall 2007)
  • Armstrong, J. (2007). Review of The Quieted Voice: The Rise and Demise of Localism in American Radio, by Robert L. Hilliard and Michael C. Keith. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media (September 2007): 537-38
  • Armstrong, J. (2006). "Applying Critical Theory to Electronic Media History." In Methods of Historical Analysis and Criticism in Electronic Media. Edited by Donald G. Godfrey, 145-65. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
  • Armstrong, J. (2004). "Martin Gabel." In The Encyclopedia of Radio, Vol. 2. Christopher Sterling and Michael Keith (eds.), 639-40. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn.