COLUMBIA - Nearly 2,000 registered participants flooded MU on Wednesday as the School of Journalism began its three-day centennial celebration. Attendees included Sidney S. Smith, of the class of 1932, and visitors from Renmin University in Beijing, which hosted journalism students during the Olympics.
In the morning, the Missouri Press Association held its Centennial Golf Classic at the A.L. Gustin Golf Course. Richard Ditter, Robert Martin, Bill Gartner and Jon Tips were the first-place foursome.
In Reynolds Alumni Center, the school held a symposium with the authors of the book "Journalism - 1908: Birth of a Profession." It included a roundtable discussion led by Gail F. Baker, the dean of the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Participants mulled over the role of journalists in political debate and the place of citizen journalists in the profession.
"It was very productive, and the scholars, the chapter writers, really brought a different perspective to the discussion," Baker said.
Sophomore Megan Granger, who works on the KOMU Web site, said she was interested in the discussion of the role of citizen journalists. "It was interesting to hear graduates that have come back and are working with this new idea. It actually is real," she said.
The journalism school finished the first day with a barbecue bash and "Freedom Sings," a musical celebration of First Amendment rights. The brainchild of USA Today editor Ken Paulson, "Freedom Sings" is a compilation of songs that have been censored or called for social change.
Pitmaster Mike Mills said he served about 850 people at the sold-out dinner, and more filled the floor of Mizzou Arena for the show. In every row, alumni reminisced about their days at MU, happy to reconnect with old friends.
Perhaps Dean Mills, dean of the journalism school, summarized the tone of the day when he introduced the speakers for the symposium.
"I'm very happy to welcome you all back home," he said.