Michael J. Socolow

Michael J. Socolow (born December 19, 1968) is an American media historian and former broadcast journalist who teaches in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.

Michael J. Socolow
BornDecember 19, 1968
RelativesMelvin Krulewitch (grandfather)
Sanford Socolow (father)
Academic background
Alma materPhillips Exeter Academy
Academic work

Background and educationEdit

He was raised in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1987. He earned his bachelor's degree at Columbia University in 1991,[1] and was awarded his doctorate in history from Georgetown University in 2001. He has taught at Brandeis University and the University of Maine.[2][3]


Socolow worked on the assignment desk in the Los Angeles bureau of the Cable News Network (CNN), where he became an assignment editor in 1994. He worked on stories such as the O.J. Simpson trial, the first Michael Jackson molestation trial, and the 1994 Northridge earthquake, for which the CNN Los Angeles Bureau was awarded a Cable Ace Award for Extended News or Breaking News coverage in 1995.[4][5]

He also worked as an information manager for the host broadcast organizations at the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.[6]

Socolow has written op-eds, essays, and commentary for the New York Times,[7] Washington Post,[8] Boston Globe,[9] Chicago Tribune, Slate,[10] Politico,[11] The Conversation, and numerous other publications.

Scholarship and academic careerEdit

Socolow, often working in collaboration with Jefferson Pooley, has written several articles (both scholarly and popular) dispelling the myth of The War of the Worlds (1938 radio drama) mass panic.[12] Their collaborative work argues that the panic was "almost non-existent" and significantly overstated by contemporaneous sensational press reporting, and, later, in academic scholarship. In a 2013 interview with Gizmodo, Socolow denied the idea that he and Pooley originated this mass panic revisionism, citing at least four previous scholars who arrived at the same conclusion about the mass panic being largely a myth.[13] Yet Pooley and Socolow's scholarship has been cited by Snopes,[14] Time,[15] National Geographic,[16] and others to dispel the "War of the Worlds," mass panic myth.

In 2010, in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Socolow published a history of the New York Times Op-ed page that explained how the Op-ed concept came in to being and detailed the new feature's immediate success. His research on Op-ed has been cited in journalism scholarship and referenced in The Washington Post,[17] the Columbia Journalism Review,[18] Politico,[19] and elsewhere.

Socolow's 2016 book, Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics,[20] chronicles how the German government invented global broadcast spectacle by developing new radio relay technologies.[21] The book uses one specific Olympic triumph as a case study of the new effects of global Olympic broadcasting: the victory of the University of Washington eight-oared crew. The book also shows how, ironically, the Nazi government made Jesse Owens one of the world's first global athletic superstars.[22] In 2018, Socolow was awarded the Broadcast Historian award by the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and the Broadcast Education Association for Six Minutes in Berlin.[23]

Socolow was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the News & Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra, in Australia, in 2019.[24]

In July, 2020, Socolow was named the Director of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Socolow is married to Connie A. McVey,[26] and lives in Bangor, Maine. He is the grandson of U.S. Marine Corps Major General Melvin Krulewitch, and the son of Anne K. Socolow and Sanford Socolow, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.[27]


  1. ^ "Bookshelf". Columbia College Today. 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  2. ^ Morgan, Craig. "Media and the Nazi Olympics". The Exeter Bulletin. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  3. ^ Staples, Beth. "Plugged in: Michael Socolow analyzes the first draft of history". UMaine Today. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  4. ^ Socolow, Michael J. "It's O.J. Simpson's World; We're Just Living In It". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2021-08-18. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  5. ^ "1995 CableAce Awards". IMDB. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Morgan, Craig. "Media and the Nazi Olympics". The Exeter Bulletin. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  7. ^ Socolow, Michael J. (March 22, 2018). "How to Prevent Smart People From Spreading Dumb Ideas". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  8. ^ Socolow, Michael J. (August 22, 2017). "Gawker has been gone for a year. We've never needed it more than now". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  9. ^ Socolow, Michael J. (May 19, 2021). "How to Save this Summer's Olympics". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "Author: Michael J. Socolow". Slate. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  11. ^ Socolow, Michael J. (November 2, 2019). "The Trouble with Tik Tok". Politico. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  12. ^ Pooley, Jefferson; Socolow, Michael J. (October 28, 2013). "The Myth of the War of the Worlds Panic". Slate. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  13. ^ Novak, Matt (October 29, 2013). "Did the 'War of the Worlds' Radio Broadcast Really Cause Mass Panic?". Gizmodo. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  14. ^ Emery, David (October 28, 2016). "Did the 1938 Radio Broadcast of 'War of the Worlds' Cause a Nationwide Panic?". Snopes. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  15. ^ Roffman, Michael (October 31, 2013). "The Real Legacy of Orson Welles' 'War of the Worlds' Broadcast". Time. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  16. ^ Liotta, Jarret (November 1, 2013). "75 Years Since "War of the Worlds" Broadcast, Hoaxes Live On". National Geographic. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  17. ^ Farhi, Paul (December 28, 2020). "How the dusty old op-ed pages became the red-hot outrage-generating machine of 2020". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Piore, Adam (December 7, 2020). "Ideal Filler". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  19. ^ Shafer, Jack (September 2, 2017). "The New York Times Op-Ed Page Is Not Your Safe Space". Politico. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  20. ^ Socolow, Michael J. (2016). Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 288. ISBN 978-0252082214.
  21. ^ Odeven, Ed (May 25, 2018). "Michael Socolow explores evolution of global sports broadcasting through prism of 1936 Berlin Olympics in award-winning book". The Japan Times. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  22. ^ Given, Karen (February 20, 2016). "Nazis Pioneered Broadcasting... And Made Jesse Owens A Star". Only a Game. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  23. ^ Birks, Heather (February 20, 2018). "The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Presents the 2018 Broadcast Historian Award to Michael J. Socolow, author of "Six Minutes in Berlin"". Broadcast Education Association. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  24. ^ "Michael J. Socolow". Fulbright Scholar Program. Institute of International Education (IIE). 2018–2019. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  25. ^ "Socolow Named Director of McGillicuddy Humanities Center". UMaine News. July 8, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-08-12. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  26. ^ "WEDDINGS; Connie McVey, Michael Socolow". New York Times. October 3, 1999. Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  27. ^ "Mrs. Socolow Has a Son". The New York Times. December 26, 1968. Retrieved August 18, 2021.