Columbia plays an integral part in the development of great journalists

Thursday, September 11, 2008 | 12:26 p.m. CDT; updated 10:24 a.m. CDT, Monday, September 15, 2008

Hundreds of your former students are in town this week to celebrate the centennial of the School of Journalism and the Missourian. It's time for you to celebrate, too.

Over all those years, you and your fellow residents have helped us teach students from around the globe how to be journalists. Those of us fortunate to have been editors at the Missourian and faculty in the journalism school try to prepare them to talk to you and to teach them to know when to keep reporting and when to start writing; to know when to listen and when to take pictures.


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When they come back, we agonize with them over their stories. We suggest changes, order them to plug holes and ask them for better phrasing. We critique their headlines and their designs.

Like chemistry students, sometimes their experiments blow up. Tears flow.

More often than not, they succeed. In just the last year, they helped bring you into the conversation about where to locate the new high school, and they reported on the Boone County Fire Protection District as it tried to sort through its legal and financial problems.

This week, a number of our graduates who have become editors, won Pulitzers or daily help their communities to know themselves better, will be here. You helped teach all of them. You answered their questions — and sometimes refused, which was another important lesson — you filled in missing background, and you challenged them. You also read and occasionally commented on their stories.

Among the thousands you have helped educate is Tina Macias, who graduated this spring and went to work at the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. Last week, she walked through flooded homes and talked to survivors of Hurricane Gustav. She can do this, just three months after graduation because you helped her when she reported for the Missourian.

And so, on behalf of all the Missourian editors and all the students who have ever picked up pencils, computers or cameras, thank you for your help and your readership.

Daryl Moen was editor of the Missourian from 1974 - 1983.



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