Missourian’s centennial celebration a chance to reflect, improve

Saturday, January 5, 2008 | 7:26 p.m. CST; updated 3:14 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dear Reader:

Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve lived with something so long that you no longer understand why it’s a big deal?

In parenting, that’s what relatives and friends often shock me out of sleep. I remember when someone told me what a beautiful young woman my daughter had become. Young woman? That can’t be my baby girl, can it?

I had a similar feeling when I mentioned the Missourian’s centennial celebration to a friend. He stopped me, and then jumped into how exciting the 100-year mark must be and how much the Missourian and the Missouri School of Journalism mean to Columbia. He woke me up. This moment in history is cool. I had been too deep in the details to step back and reflect.

But a few details might be useful to you. The Columbia Missourian, then known as the University Missourian, began publication on Sept. 14, 1908. It was also the day the world’s first journalism school opened its doors. According to the j-school Web site, students started working on stories by 10 a.m. that morning.

The Missouri Method — combining classic education with real world experience — was born.

Your Missourian today operates on the same principles. The newspaper is owned as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Its publisher is also the dean of the j-school. The content you read (and see and hear) is edited by professionals who came from newspapers across mid-Missouri and around the world. They also serve as teachers in the school’s faculty. Students report, photograph, design and edit the Missourian. They also know the first and most important grade comes from you every day.

The School of Journalism will have a massive birthday party in September. The Missourian will run special sections, sponsor events and build Web features all year long. I’m happy to tell you Daryl Moen has agreed to coordinate much of the coverage. Daryl is a long-time professor and former Missourian managing editor. It’s fitting that someone so instrumental in the Missourian’s editorial excellence should direct the centennial stories.

This isn’t about a simple history lesson. In the coming months, we can explore how Columbia’s past defines our identity and what we might learn to help tackle today’s problems.


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