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Journalism School responds to centennial budget article

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | 5:14 p.m. CDT; updated 3:42 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The following is the full text of an e-mail sent to the Missourian's executive editor, Tom Warhover, by Suzette Heiman, director of planning and communications for the Missouri School of Journalism. The e-mail was in response to the article "MU J-School centennial lacks budget."

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Tom, thanks for the opportunity to correct the inaccuracies and misleading statements in the “MU J-School centennial lacks budget” story written by Molly Obermeier. It was published on Oct. 23, 2007. The corrections are below. Please let me know if you have any questions. Suzette

Headline

MU J-School centennial lacks budget

This is not true; we haven't segregated the centennial/dedication budget from the School's overall budget.

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the planners are operating without a budget

This is not true; we haven't segregated the centennial/dedication budget from the School's overall budget.

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are scheduled

The correct word would be “planned” as we have not created a schedule at this point.

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no specific dates have been decided upon

The dates for the centennial-dedication event, Sept. 10-12, 2008, were identified more than a year ago. We used a reporter’s notebook mailer to alert our alumni and others to the dates in early spring 2007. A news release was published on Feb. 12, 2007, with these dates: > The front page of the School’s Web site has had a box dedicated to the event with headline, “Mark Your Calendars: Sept. 10-12, 2008,” since last spring.

nor do planners have a clear idea of what the celebration will cost.

This is misleading as the event is still being planned. Not all costs have been identified.

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The centennial of the journalism school will arrive with less hoopla than the school’s 50-year anniversary,…

Since the event is still in the planning stages, who or what is the source of the reporter‘s speculation here? There is every indication that the 2008 centennial-dedication event will be quite spectacular.

… which had a budget of $282,000, or more than $1.9 million in today’s dollars. The golden anniversary was spread out over 10 months and included a Founders Day, a National Newspaper week and advertising conferences … among other events, according to budget files obtained from the University Archives. The budget in 1958 included funds for travel and expenses for the executive director, faculty and students.

The comparison with the 50th anniversary is misplaced because of the dramatically changed nature of the School and its finances. In 1957, a special fundraising drive might have been necessary because the School had no other way to fund special events. Today, thanks to the generosity of thousands of donors, for example, travel expenses for speakers can be paid for from endowed funds established for that purpose. Fundraising efforts today are aimed not at onetime events but at long-term support for the School—for endowed scholarships, for faculty support, and for capital facilities like Lee Hills Hall and the Reynolds Institute.

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Part of that plan includes asking guests and participants to pay their own expenses; charging a registration fee; asking guests to pay for celebration-related dinners; and tapping local alumni for events.

It is common practice for people to pay for their own expenses for just about any event or activity. Why would the reporter assume that this is the School’s responsibility? Source?

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Set up in 1999

This is incorrect. Counting of gifts for this campaign began in 1999.

the fund

There is no specific fund.

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other

The correct word would be “many” given that this event is sponsored by the School, the Institute and the University.

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“It’s not always a dollar and cents kind of thing. It’s that we are an MU community and family, and we all get in and share in the celebration.”

There is no context for this sentence here. The reporter wanted a budgetary reason for every decision we are making for the 2008 event. Not every decision is motivated by budget.


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Comments

Noneya Business October 24, 2007 | 11:13 p.m.

What is the point of posting this response verbatim? For a supposed "educational" newsroom, you've done a fantastic job of publicly humiliating this reporter. What exactly does this teach? That a so-called "independent" newspaper will bend over backward to appease the hand that feeds it?

Who are the real adults here?

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