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Ronald Garay

The Manship School: A History of Journalism Education at LSU


    In September 2005, just days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, journalists from the Times-Picayune and WWL-TV asked for and received assistance from LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication. The staff of the Times-Picayune used the School's computer labs to publish an online edition of the paper within hours of their arrival and a print edition just five days after the storm. WWL-TV reporters set up shop in the School's television facility and were on the air a few hours later, telling Katrina's story. What happened at the Manship School during that September week affirmed the ascendancy of this illustrious program. From a single journalism course offered during the 1912--1913 session, the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication has a long, rich tradition of excellence. In The Manship School, Ronald Garay, a longtime faculty member, and former associate dean traces not only the story of the Manship School but its role in the evolution of media education in general.
    Hugh Mercer Blain, a professor in the English department at LSU in the early 1900s, created the first LSU journalism courses and curriculum with the support of then LSU president Thomas Boyd, making LSU one of the first universities to offer journalism education. Garay describes Blain's efforts to structure a fledgling journalism department and his success in gaining national recognition for what soon would become the LSU School of Journalism and later the Manship School of Mass Communication. Garay chronicles the subsequent building of full-fledged journalism units in liberal arts colleges; the addition of new fields such as broadcasting, advertising, public relations, and political communication; the creation of doctoral programs; and the emergence of serious research on the impact of media on society.
    Throughout, Garay introduces the students, faculty, directors, and alumni who played important roles in the school's history -- including pioneer political consultant Raymond Strother, former Associated Press head Wes Gallagher, and Reader's Digest chairman and former CEO Thomas Ryder -- and details the evolution of LSU's student media, particularly The Reveille, KLSU-FM, and Tiger-TV. The book also describes the Manship School's emergence as an independent college at LSU and Dean John Maxwell Hamilton's role in re-orienting the School's intellectual and professional mission, raising the School's stature and visibility nationally, and incorporating state-of-the-art technology in classrooms and labs. The Manship School provides a valuable and comprehensive record of one of LSU's most distinguished units.

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