Here is the formal announcement:
History News Network (HNN) was founded in 2001 to help put current events into historical perspective. Its original mandate, as articulated by founder Rick Shenkman, was to create a space for historians to offer deeper context for the stories flitting across American newspapers and TV screens. Among HNN’s many duties, Shenkman explained, were these:
To expose politicians who misrepresent history. To point out bogus analogies. To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history.
In 2023, HNN fused with Bunk, a public history initiative at the University of Richmond. Recognizing historians’ many successes over the prior two decades in reaching broad public audiences, and the simultaneous challenges posed by the fragmentation of those audiences into countless digital micro-communities, this new partnership refocused HNN’s efforts on reaching news consumers where they are.
The primary platform for this new work is HNN’s email newsletter. Each week, subscribers receive a new original essay about the ways in which the past continues to resonate through the present. Our essays are written by historians, scholars, journalists, and others with a unique perspective to offer on topics of current concern. Subscribers also receive newly relevant stories from the HNN archive, along with a curated collection of recent links from around the web, integrated into Bunk’s “database of connections,” which weaves together the threads running through thousands of other historically minded stories. You can join our network of subscribers here.
Fundamentally, HNN’s mission remains committed to the core values that inspired its creation more than two decades ago. Because the past continues to shape our lives in countless ways, understanding history in informed and critical ways makes us better neighbors, citizens, and leaders.
Read the entire piece here.
Bunk’s founder and executive editor is American historian Edward Ayers.
Here is Bunk’s announcement of the merger:
A few weeks back, we teased some exciting news that would be arriving in a subsequent newsletter. It took a bit of time to iron out the details, but today I’m delighted to finally be able to share that news with you.
As a follower of this project, you’re probably aware that for all of the internet’s vastness, there aren’t many other things quite like Bunk. But when I describe it as one of the only websites dedicated to collecting history-themed journalism from around the web, that claim always comes with an asterisk. Because for more than 20 years, there’s been another website that has not only been aggregating similar types of content each day, but also publishing insightful, original content about the news behind the headlines.
That website is History News Network (HNN), and I’m proud to announce that it is the newest member of the University of Richmond’s public history family. Earlier this fall, Bunk assumed control of the project’s expansive archive, and today we unveiled a brand new digital home for that archive. It’s the culmination of months of conversations with HNN founder Rick Shenkman, HNN editor Michan Connor, and our crack development team at Journey Group. Out of those conversations has emerged an exciting new publishing model that will enable HNN to continue generating high-quality original writing, while also drawing on Bunk’s curatorial capacities to keep audiences apprised of other valuable history content being created each day.
This new model will center on HNN’s newsletter, which we just relaunched today. You can read more about our future plans there, and if this all sounds interesting to you, join the subscriber list here. Next week, subscribers will receive our first substantive stab at the new vision, and we’d love to hear your thoughts. (We’d also love to entertain your pitches for new features, if you happen to be in the history writing biz yourself!)
We’re grateful, as always, to the generous University of Richmond donors who make Bunk, and now HNN, possible. And to all of you for supporting our work! Remember that if you value these newsletters, there’s a good chance that someone you know may appreciate them as well. Use the links at the bottom of this message to help us spread the word!
Congratulations on the merger!