J-School Centennial Experience

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Journalism of Humanity

Posted by Maggie Niemiec on September 11, 2008

As an aspiring newspaper/magazine journalism (I can’t decide which one- I just know that I want to write), I was looking forward to hearing from Steve Weinberg.  After getting his start in the newspaper business, Weinberg moved on to longer feature writing at magazines.   In addition, he served as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., for seven years.  Since graduating from Mizzou, Weinberg has written numerous books.  I could not wait to hear Weinberg speak about his impressive background and time spent as an investigative reporter.

The session actually focused on Weinberg’s in depth knowledge of the j-school.  He took questions regarding his book,  A Journalism of Humanity: A Candid History of the World’s First Journalism School. I have not read this work, so I was afraid the session would be over my head.  Yet every factor Weinberg discussed related directly to me.

Weinberg stated that writing this “institutional history” was both frustrating and satisfying.  He was granted complete editorial independence, but knew there was no way to fit all 100 amazing years of the School of Journalism into a mere 300 pages. As a Mizzou graduate, he recognized that it would be difficult to keep any personal bias out of the book.  Rather than relying extensively on the “Mizzou mafia” to gather his knowledge, Weinberg rummaged through dusty archives.  His result brought dozens of alum, many of whom were brimming with questions, to the program today.

What stuck out to me at this session was the enthusiasm each audience member expressed for the School of Journalism.  One man, a journalism professor at Brigham Young University, spoke about how journalism is the “crown jewel” and “bigfoot” here at Mizzou.  At his school, this is simply not the case.  His comments made me realize how lucky I am to attend the world’s first and best school of journalism.  The Centennial celebration has inspired me so much, and I cannot wait to carry on our school’s history.   I learned today how Walter Williams had a decisive vision for this school.  His “boundless enthusiasm” never once wavered; it is because of his efforts that I am even writing this blog.  Weinberg said he was surprised at how well Walter Williams’s plan has held up.  After hearing the brief history on our school, I am more convinced than ever that we can all accomplish whatever we set our minds to.


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