Founded in 1914 by Arthur L. Stone, the University of Montana Journalism School is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Since its start in a few Army surplus tents pitched near Main Hall, the school has been both a source of pride, and at times, a thorn in the side of the university. Here are some highlights from the last 100 years compiled for “Covering a Century: 100 Years of Montana’s Journalism School,” a publication of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
1914-15: The School of Journalism is founded with 12 students. Classes begin in tents on the Oval, then move to a converted bicycle shack.
1917: The J-School becomes one of 10 charter members of the American Association of Schools and Departments of Journalism, now known as the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
1917: The United States enters World War I. The next academic year, twice as many women as men enter the journalism program.
1918: A massive influenza epidemic hits campus, stopping both classes and regular Montana Kaimin production from Oct. 1 through Jan. 1 of the next year.
1919: The School of Journalism moves from a converted bike shack to Marcus Cook Hall, an old army barracks built by the Student Army Training Corps during World War I.
1919: The Board of Education issues a challenge to the existence of the J-School. The successful rebuttal was summarized in a quote taken from Joseph Pulitzer: The school aimed “to make better journalists, who will make better newspapers, which will better serve the public.”
1931: The Montana Kaimin is printed on campus for the first time in the journalism school’s new printing lab.
1937: Ed Dugan starts as an instructor at the J-School. He went on to become the state’s longest-teaching professor, working there for 37 years.
1937: Dean Arthur Stone helps dedicate and open the new Journalism Building with placement of its cornerstone. Construction began in 1936, with a final cost of $200,000.
1940: Roughly 450 UM students register for the military in a single day.
1941: An Army school is placed on campus, and UM installs warning whistles on the power plant to signal a total campus blackout in case of air attack.
1942: UM cancels Homecoming to conserve gas and more than 150 UM women register to work in the Red Cross sewing room to make children’s clothes, pajamas and bandages for hospitalized soldiers.
1946: UM names Fessy IV, a live bear cub, as its mascot.
1949: UM President James McCain orders the Montana Kaimin presses stopped during the newspaper’s first printing of the school year. The call came in response to a front-page editorial cartoon blasting the Board of Examiners. Editor Bill Smurr and associate editor Carroll O’Connor (later of Archie Bunker fame) resign in protest.
1951: The State Department selects the J-School as one of three schools in the nation to receive nine “newspapermen” from Germany for a study abroad program.
1952: Sen. Richard Nixon and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower visit Missoula during Homecoming.
1956: Nathaniel Blumberg becomes dean of the journalism school.
1956: The Montana Kaimin becomes an afternoon paper. “Even though it has been in many ways proudly non-conformist, it now joins the majority of U.S. dailies,” Kaimin staffers wrote. “Today this country has 119 morning papers and 1,256 afternoon papers. ... By changing to a p.m. paper, the Kaimin will be both better written and better read.” The change lasted a little more than a month.
1958: Nathaniel Blumberg founds the Montana Journalism Review, the nation’s first academic journalism review.
1954: The Magazine Publishers Association Inc. invites the J-School to become an education associate member, making it one of six journalism schools in the country accredited for magazine training.
1957: Nathaniel Blumberg starts the radio-TV department, one year after his arrival as dean. Erling Jorgensen is the lone department faculty member.
1960: Dorothy Powers ’43 becomes the first woman to receive the Scripps Howard Ernie Pyle Award for her reporting.
1962: The Cat-Griz game is televised for the first time by the R-TV department.
1968: Warren J. Brier replaces Nathaniel Blumberg as dean of the J-School.
1971: Deans Warren Brier and Nathaniel Blumberg compile a 352-page anthology of articles from the Montana Journalism Review. Called “A Century of Montana Journalism,” the hardback publication was available for $7.50.
1973: KUFM receives a power boost, allowing full coverage of the Missoula Valley but temporarily frying campus with radio interference before the transmitter was moved to a peak above Snowbowl.
1973: Enrollment in the journalism school exceeds 300 for the first time. One year before, enrollment saw 219 students pursuing print and photo majors and 48 seeking degrees in radio television.
1974: The director of the university print shop, Al Madison, files a widely publicized libel action against the Kaimin for an editorial calling him a “congenital liar.”
1975: Kim Williams ’81 begins her popular radio commentaries on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
1979: Aline Mosby ’39 wins the Bernard J. Cabanes Prize for international journalism for her reporting in China. Mosby was also the first to report on film star Marilyn Monroe’s nude calendar pose.
1980: Ash from Mount St. Helens covers Missoula in May. The ash was a curse to some and a blessing to others. For Shane Morger ’81, it meant graduating. Classes were canceled, streets were deserted and beer sold out at grocery stores. Morger’s journalism law professor gave his students an A on the final and averaged in their midterms, leaving Morger with a C.
1981: Sharon Barrett joins the journalism school faculty, the first woman in the school’s then 67-year history.
1982: Charlie Hood, ’69, is named dean of the School of Journalism.
1983: KUFM is caught using a private bank account from 1978 to 1982 to avoid university rules and regulations.
1983: Patty Reksten arrives at the J-School seeking her master’s in journalism. She found the photojournalism emphasis lacking the breadth she knew it deserved. With encouragement from Dean Charlie Hood, she went to work building the backbone of what is now a well-respected professional program.
1984: The Kaimin publishes a satire issue in which an article titled “Reporter squished by farting 300-pound Republican” makes fun of a local political activist’s weight. The staff apologized after widespread negative reaction.
1985: The Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center opens on campus.
1986: Jonathan Krim ’77 directs the San Jose Mercury News project that wins the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.
1988: Gannet Center Journal identifies the J-School as an outstanding program.
1989: Debra McKinney ’79 helps the Anchorage Daily News win a Pulitzer for public service.
1989: R-TV faculty move into a new headquarters adjacent to the PAR/TV building.
1990: George M. Dennison becomes president of the University of Montana.
1990: For a second time, Jonathan Krim ’77 directs a team that wins a Pulitzer Prize for the San Jose Mercury News.
1992: The Native News Honors Project begins with its first issue, “Montana’s Indian Education.”
1993: Montana Journalism Review is revived by professor Clem Work.
1993: Charlie Hood retires as dean but continues to teach classes at the School of Journalism.
1994: Frank Allen is hired as dean of the journalism school.
1994: The Montana Kaimin goes digital with KaiminOnline.
1995: The student body votes to assess each student a fee to support the Kaimin, marking the end of an era during which student government set the Kaimin budget – twice reducing it to zero – often based on whether senators felt stung by Kaimin coverage.
1996: J-School students Derek Pruitt ’97, Bruce Ely ’98, Greg Rec ’97 and Steve Adams ’96 photograph Unabomber Ted Kaczynski on the day of his arrest in Lincoln on April 3, the only journalists to do so. News outlets worldwide published their photos.
1996: UM’s independent student radio station, KBGA, is launched.
1999: Jerry Brown takes over as dean of the J-School.
2000: Professor Greg MacDonald retires after 26 years of teaching.
2001: Julie Sullivan ’87 shares a Pulitzer for The Oregonian’s investigation of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
2002: The Pollner Professorship is launched with the appointment of Jonathan Weber.
2003: Hidetoshi Osaka ’94 wins a Peabody Award for his Japanese television documentary, “The Hepatitis C Epidemic: A 15-year Government Coverup.”
2005: Students participate in the groundbreaking for Don Anderson Hall in July.
2006: Professor Bill Knowles retires after 20 years of teaching.
2007: Don Anderson Hall opens.
• Peggy Kuhr ’73 becomes dean of the journalism school.
• Professor Sharon Barrett retires after 26 years of teaching.
2010: UM is the only journalism school in the nation to place in the top 10 in all three Hearst Award categories – writing, broadcast and photojournalism.
2011: Professor Carol Van Valkenburg retires after 30 years of teaching.
2012: Denise Dowling is named interim dean of the journalism school.
• Professor Clem Work retires after 22 years of teaching.
2014: National Public Radio national correspondent Larry Abramson is named dean of the J-School.