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Department of Journalism and Mass Communications Records

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Collection Summary


UA 6.3


College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications Records


Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, College of Arts and Sciences, South Dakota State University




2.29 linear feet (1 records center box, 1 oversize box) photographs




South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Access note

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item . College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications Records. UA 6.3. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications offers programs in advertising, journalism, public relations, and social media. The collection is composed mainly of publications produced by the department. Folders consist of mainly of newsletters but also contain pamphlets, programs, posters and info-sheets. Also included is the South Dakota Observer.

Historical Note

The first course in journalism at South Dakota State College was taught in 1908, 27 years after the founding of the college and at a time when journalism courses began to appear in a number of Midwestern state universities. A school of printing began in 1919, and in 1924 Journalism Professor Charles D. Byrne, who was later the Chancellor of Higher Education for Oregon, moved to combine the work in journalism and the school of printing. The Department of Printing and Rural Journalism began that year.

Professor Byrne reported in the “Northwest Publisher and Printer” the following year that: “Under the present course of study … it was possible for a student to obtain a liberal education and at the same time to receive thorough training in the fundamentals of both journalism and printing.”

Byrne described the product of the program this way: “The publishing of the average country weekly in South Dakota, as well as in some other states, is largely a ‘one-man’ job and will probably continue as such for many years. For that reason, the future publisher must know the mechanical end of his job; he must also thoroughly understand the editorial side of it. And if he hopes to be a real success in rural South Dakota, he must be agriculturally trained, so as to see more clearly the problems of agriculture and their solution.”

During the 1930s and 1940s, a two-year course in printing was combined with three more years in journalism to produce graduates with a bachelor of science in Printing and Rural Journalism — PRJs, they were called.

The department was accredited for the first time in 1948, which was the first year of national journalism accreditation. According to Dean Earl English of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, South Dakota State College was the first department to be visited by an accrediting team and recommended for accreditation. In 1951, two years after George Phillips became department head, the present building was dedicated.

In 1956, the PRJ program was shortened to four years and a bachelor of science in printing management began. The same year the department began offering a bachelor of science in journalism and a master of science in journalism.

The department began a master of science in printing management in 1958. For a time it was the only school in the country offering a graduate degree in printing management. Consequently, a number of printing educators hold degrees from South Dakota State. The printing master’s program closed in 1972.

In 1973, Professor Phillips retired and was replaced by Professor Vernon Keel, who is currently director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University. The graduate program was suspended between 1973 and 1975 in order to direct efforts toward the undergraduate program. Professor Keel resigned in 1976 to become department head at his alma mater, University of North Dakota. Professor Ruth Laird directed the department until 1978, Professor Richard Lee was head from 1978- 2002 when Professor Mary Arnold, the current head, was hired.

In 1978, the Gannett Foundation awarded the department $25,000 and the South Dakota Press Association gave $3,000 toward the purchase of an electronic editing system. A Harris system with five VDTs and a microprocessor capable of receiving and storing wire copy was installed in 1980.

Subsequent changes in the early 1980s included electric typewriters in the reporting lab, a Linotype Omnitech typesetter attached to the Harris system and then a seven-terminal Macintosh desktop publishing system, also attached to the Harris system.

By 1989, the Harris system had been set aside. The university provided most of the capital assets and the South Dakota Newspaper Association provided $5,000 to purchase a 10-terminal Macintosh Plus system with a Laserwriter in the editing/typography lab and a 15-terminal Macintosh Plus system in the newswriting lab. The Apple Corporation provided the wiring, network software, printers and Laserwriter as part of the project.

Major Developments in the 1980's

  • Establishing the Printing-Journalism Development Fund that continues to provide scholarship, travel, research, and equipment support
  • Developing a series of seminars to serve as mid-career training for professionals
  • Being the recipient of 10,000 shares of Gannett stock (at that time worth $375,000) that will eventually establish major scholarship and training programs
  • Beginning the Lusk Lectures in Journalism and the Lusk Fellows
  • Developing programs and ties that were expected to increase Native American enrollment in the department

Developments in the 1990's

  • Increased the number of journalism faculty from seven to nine
  • Changed the male-female balance of the faculty
  • Remodeled both computer labs and has installed Macintosh LC IIIs in the editing/typography lab
  • Recognized nationally for its work in recruiting Native American students
  • Received endowed funding for Lusk programs and for professional seminars
  • Instituted a Journalism Week each spring to give the department and its students higher visibility
  • Became headquarters for the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors

Developments in the 2000s

  • Remodeled the former Printing and Rural Journalism Building in a multi-million dollar renovation that added multiple computer labs, student services areas, and new faculty offices. The renovation was funded by many donors, led by a major gift from former Argus Leader editor Anson Yeager and his wife Ada May
  • New leadership was brought in as longtime Department Head Dick Lee retired and was replaced by Dr. Mary Arnold
  • Faculty ranks expanded to 11 as student enrollment jumped to more than 300 by 2010
  • The department expanded its programs by offering them at new sites: at University Center in Sioux Falls in 2008; and the online professional master's program in 2009

Developments in the 2010's

  • Added an advertising degree with emphases in creative strategies, interactive media, and public relations
  • Added the Yeager Media Center, an HD television production facility

Contents Note

Composed of mainly of publications produced by the department. Folders consist of mainly of newsletters but also contain pamphlets, programs, posters and info-sheets. Also included is the South Dakota Observer, a newspaper written, edited, set in type and laid out by journalism students at South Dakota State University and printed in the university's printing lab.

Key Words

South Dakota State University. Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

Department of Journalism and Mass Communications Records Container List. UA 6.3

11All About Journalism Internships (newsletter)1988-1991, 1997, 2005-2007
12Alternative newspaper examples1960s-1970s circa
13American Indians in Journalism (pamphlet)2000
169Annual Report2013
14Broadcasters Day (program)1990
15Button - Jackrabbit Journalismundated
16Desktop Publishing course (announcement)1991, undated
17Fiftieth Anniversary banquet (program)1962
18High School Press Association annual meeting (programs)1925, 1927, 1931
110History of South Dakota newspapers/journalism (slide presentation by Bob Karolevitz)1968, 1972, 1984
19History of the Printing and Journalism Department (pamphlet)1951
21Illustrations on the Sunday New York World's women's pages (transparencies for overhead used in Mary Perpich's courses)undated
111J & MC Update (newsletter)2004-2006
113Journalism Series (report)1946-1961 circa
114Journalism Week (posters)undated
112Journalism-Printing Institutional Program Review1993-1994
115Keys to the Future - Printing and Rural Journalism (program information)undated
116Lusk Lecture in Journalism (posters)1988-1991, 2004, undated
117Native American Career Conference (pamphlet)2001
118Native American Media Symposium2006
119Newspaper Day banquet (programs)1931, 1940, 1946, 1951, 1953
120Newspaper style bookundated
123Peterson, Russ - Cartoons/transparencies (SDSU graduate)1982
124Presentation of books in Memory of William R. Seater (booklet)1951
126Printing and Rural Journalism banquet (programs)1952-1953
127Printing at South Dakota State College (info sheet)undated
128Printing Journalism Bulletin (newsletter)1961-1979
129Printing Journalism Bulletin (newsletter)1980-1986
130Printing Journalism Bulletin (newsletter)1987-1997
125Printing/Journalism Scholarship Banquet (programs)1988, 1990, 1991
131Program information (pamphlets)2002, undated
132Progress letter about South Dakota State College (report and clippings)1925-1928
133Publications Adviser's Newsletter1983-1985, 1987, 1990, 1991
136Secretarial Training (info sheet)1954-1955, undated
137South Dakota County Newspapers - Third Annual surveyundated
138South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame (inductees list)1946-1947, 1951, 1963
160South Dakota Observer200
139South Dakota Observer1974
140South Dakota Observer1975
141South Dakota Observer1976
142South Dakota Observer1977
143South Dakota Observer1978
144South Dakota Observer1979
145South Dakota Observer1980
146South Dakota Observer1981
147South Dakota Observer1982
148South Dakota Observer1983
149South Dakota Observer1984
150South Dakota Observer1985
151South Dakota Observer1986
152South Dakota Observer1987
153South Dakota Observer1988
154South Dakota Observer1989
155South Dakota Observer1990
156South Dakota Observer1991
157South Dakota Observer1992
158South Dakota Observer1993
159South Dakota Observer1994
161South Dakota Observer2003
162South Dakota Press Association - Summer meeting (program)1926
163Spring Banquet in celebration of Journalism Week (programs)2004-2008
164Standards of Education for Journalismundated
170State College Farmer and Homemaker1954
165Students and Graduates (pamphlet)1952-1953
166Style book - SDSC1941
167Summer Publications Institute (correspondence, pamphlets, application, etc.)1991, 1996
121The Observer2005
122The Observer2007
134The Publications Institute Reporter (newsletter)1990-1991
135The School of Printing News (newsletter)1922
171What's that name? A Pronunciation Guide to South Dakota Names1963
168Workshops (pamphlet)2005-2006

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Copyright note

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

Arranged and Described by

Crystal J. Gamradt, 1998 May 18, additions made 2013 August 26.