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Larry Abramson, dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism, stands in front of Don Anderson Hall last week. The School of Journalism is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week.

TOM BAUER/Missoulian

The nation’s third accredited journalism school celebrates its centennial this week, having shaped the lives of thousands of journalists and invigorated hundreds of newspapers and broadcast booths nationwide.

Missoulian editor Arthur L. Stone made the move to the University of Montana in 1914 to start the journalism school there, pitching Army tents on the Oval near Main Hall for his first classrooms.

When winter’s chill set in, he moved students to a dilapidated bicycle shed.

“In the old shack, whipping winds whistled their way through cracks and holes to reach and slow down the tingling fingers of the scribes as they pound out the news,” a UM publication reads, recalling the days students spent writing in the drafty outbuilding.

In 1920, the fledgling reporters moved with Stone to Marcus Cook Hall, then found a lasting home in 1936. There on the southeast corner of campus, the school was built for $180,000. It endured until 2007, when Don Anderson Hall was erected at a cost of $14 million.

As grand as it is, the new building is more than brick, mortar and memories. It represents an industry that serves as a pillar of American democracy, a mission that today’s faculty members take to heart.

As journalism evolves with changing times and consumer habits, the principles pressed upon today’s students aren’t far removed from what Stone taught 100 years ago.

“Our students need to be truthful reporters, and sometimes that takes courage,” said journalism professor Dennis Swibold. “They need to minimize the harm they can do, be independent in what they cover so people believe them, and be accountable for what they write. Those are ethical things, and that hasn’t changed in 100 years.”


Take a tour of Missoula’s icons and enjoy the ride on Mountain Line

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

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