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College of Mass Communication and Media Arts

1970 protest

DE History

Just as the clatter of typewriters transitioned to clicks on computer terminals, so the role of the journalist has changed. A student newspaper at SIUC born nearly a century ago eventually led to the School of Journalism... their histories intertwine.

The newspaper that today is the Daily Egyptian was first published Oct. 28, 1916, by three students at this rural teachers' college. Student Robert Brown had actively promoted the idea of a college newspaper for more than a year. Claude Vick was the first editor; his staff included brothers Fred and Arlie Boswell. It was a monthly newspaper, reporting athletics--Arlie Boswell also was the football quarterback--and student social activities, and was called The Egyptian.

Publication was suspended in 1918 as the University tried to redirect scarce resources in the post-war era.

The Egyptian resumed publication March 16, 1921, as a weekly newspaper with an all-student staff and supported by student activity fees.

In 1947, SIU Carbondale established a department of journalism, with Robert Steffes serving as the acting chair.

The Division of Communications was created by action of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees in 1953, and C. Horton Talley was named Director of this Division.  Howard Rusk Long, Ph.D., Missouri, was named as the first permanent chairman of the Department of Journalism and the Journalism Students Association was founded.

Two years later, the Division of Communications' name was changed to School of Communications.

In 1961, the School of Journalism took over operation of the college newspaper, The Egyptian, which began publication in 1916. The department was accredited by the American Council on Education in Journalism, one of 43 in the United States.

1971 DE Awards

The Board of Trustees merged the School of Communications and the School of Fine Arts to form the College of Communications and Fine Arts in 1970.  This College lasted twenty-three years.

In 1993, the Board split the Departments of Radio-Television, Cinema & Photography, the School of Journalism and WSIU from the College of Communications and Fine Arts, to form today’s College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. The other departments in the old CCFA, Communication Disorders and Sciences, Speech Communication, Theatre, and Art and Design, are now housed in other Colleges. 

The School of Journalism has continued to grow throughout the 21st century and in 2007 became home to the Southern Illinois Editorial Association. The school is preparing a variety of activities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Daily Egyptian in 2016. 

DE Timeline

Graphic design by John Scott