FROM THE NEWSROOM: What is the Missourian's relationship to MU?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 6:35 p.m. CST; updated 11:40 a.m. CST, Monday, December 16, 2013

Welcome to From the Newsroom, the section dedicated to answering your questions about the Missourian. Our goal is to be transparent about our practices and processes and to invite our readers behind the scenes of what we do. Suggest topics you’d like to see explained by contacting Joy Mayer at or 882-8182.

*The School of Journalism dean serves as the Missourian's publisher. An earlier version of this article misstated his role.

The Columbia Missourian has an unusual relationship with MU that is unlike those at other campus-affiliated news organizations.

The Missourian’s first edition published Sept. 14, 1908, the same day classes began at the Missouri School of Journalism. Walter Williams created the Missourian so the newspaper could serve as a laboratory for students pursuing careers in journalism. For more than 100 years, the Missourian has fulfilled Williams' mission by allowing students to create community-based newspaper content under supervision of faculty editors. This real-world media experience is part of the Journalism School’s “Missouri Method," in which students learn their craft while working for community-focused news organizations, under the supervision of professional journalists, with built in assessment, analysis and improvement.

This hands-on laboratory receives financial assistance from MU.

The Missourian is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit incorporated as the Missourian Publishing Association. The association's board of directors, made up of media industry professionals, advises the School of Journalism dean, who serves as the Missourian's publisher. The board also advises the Missourian's general manager and executive editor. According to the Missourian Publishing Association's most recent 990 tax form, "The Missourian Publishing Association Inc. is operated as a learning laboratory for the University of Missouri's School of Journalism." The Missourian is not owned by MU but is an agency of MU, which means it must follow university regulations.

Since 1997, the Missourian has received a laboratory fee from MU in recognition of its importance to the campus as a teaching and research tool, similar to support provided to teaching labs in other fields.

The Missourian's paid staff members and faculty receive their paychecks from MU. Students who are taking staff classes through the School of Journalism are not paid for their work at the Missourian.

Missourian journalists are expected to report on the university as they would with any other business or organization, without special treatment or fear of retribution. The Missourian's executive editor has tenure status as a professor, which underscores his editorial independence.

Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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