World exhibit shows Journalism School’s international legacy

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | 5:50 p.m. CDT; updated 10:31 a.m. CDT, Monday, September 15, 2008
Michael Hollander of Los Angeles, examines a portrait of Morris Harris in the World's Journalism Exhibit in Walter Williams Hall on Wednesday. Hollander graduated from the journalism school in 1979 and currently is the Los Angeles bureau manager for CNBC.

COLUMBIA - Gifts from international visitors and colleagues, as well as souvenirs of Walter Williams' world travels decorate the second floor of Walter Williams Hall as part of "The World's Journalism School" exhibit and this week's centennial celebration.

"It reflects the history of the school and our strong ties to other countries, which is something we can really be proud of," said Brian Brooks, associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration and the exhibit's coordinator.

If You Go

What: "The World's Journalism School," an exhibit centering on the school's international connections

When: From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday

Where: 243D Walter Williams Hall on Ninth Street and the north end of Francis Quadrangle, MU

Admission: Free



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The exhibit has pieces from China, Japan, Guatemala, Korea, Mongolia, Albania, the Balkans, Singapore, Mexico, Peru and even Kyrgyzstan. Humorous gifts, such as a caricature of Williams in Buenos Aires in 1931 and a shot glass from Peru, stand alongside serious certificates and placards recognizing Williams' accomplishments and relationships with various countries.

Williams, founding dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, traveled across the globe with his wife, Sara Lockwood Williams, on several world tours starting with a publicity tour for the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, according to a biography from the School of Journalism's Web site, Film footage of the two on a tour in 1933 can be viewed at a computer kiosk in the exhibit.

Wooden scrolls covered in Chinese calligraphy hang around the museum entrance, giving visitors a sense of the school's century-long connection to China. They were given to the school by alumnus Y.P. Wang in 1928.

About half of the exhibit focuses on this long-standing friendship, and some of its outstanding pieces are a result of the connection, Brooks said.

The first press pass distributed by the government of China after the fall of the Qing Dynasty is one example. It allowed reporter Carl Crow, a Missouri native and a friend of Williams', to "pass through any city gate" with guaranteed government protection, according to the translation.

The Missouri-China connection continued this summer when 59 students and two faculty members went to Beijing to cover the 2008 Olympic Games. A map included in the exhibit shows the route to Beijing along with the travels of Missouri faculty, visiting professors and graduate and undergraduate students to countries around the world. Alumni, represented by yellow dots, are sprinkled across every continent but Antarctica.

The School of Journalism has not halted its search for new international ties, said Fritz Cropp, director of international programs for the school.

"Our faculty is well-traveled and has been to corners of the world we aren't sure we will be sending our students yet," Cropp said.

Several new study abroad programs have opened up for journalism students in the past year, including semester exchange programs in Auckland, New Zealand, and Dublin, Ireland, and a South American tour that will start for the first time this winter.

"We're making a concerted effort at present to do more in Latin America," Cropp said, adding that the department was in the process of extending its work with Mexico and Argentina.

While actively pursuing new opportunities, the School of Journalism also continues to improve its past international bonds, Cropp said, discussing an established semester exchange program in France.

"Sciences Po is certainly one of the most prestigious universities in the field of political science," Cropp said of the university hosting the program.

The exchange in Paris is now "benefiting students directly" by giving them the chance to experience international journalism first-hand, something of which he said he is particularly proud. Right now, three Sciences Po students are at the School of Journalism blogging about the American campaign season.

"The school's culture is such that we are making strides to be what that banner says," Cropp said, referring to a banner on the back wall of the exhibit. "The world's journalism school."

Click here for a complete schedule of events and a blog about the Centennial.



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