Journalism and Mass Communications Department Records

Identity elements

Reference code

UA 006.03

Level of description



Journalism and Mass Communications Department Records


  • 1922-2014 (Creation)


2.46 linear feet (1 records box, 1 oversize box, 1 half document case)

Name of creator

Administrative history

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.

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.

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Scope and content

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.

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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.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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.

Languages of the material

  • English

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    Specialized notes

    Alternative identifier(s)




    UA 6.3

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