Print Journalism: Part 2
The success of the program had more to do with the courses and the faculty than with the facilities. In fact, it's hard to believe now, but in those early days classes were held in small, crowded rooms in shacks no larger than a small house. Sometimes they had to be postponed due to the shaking caused by the printing presses on the ground floor of old McClure Hall (torn down in 1954 to make way for Allen Hall). In fact, the school became so crowded that during the Second World War, many journalism classes were held in a quonset hut located next to McClure. In short, journalism students over the years have had to learn their craft in an amazing variety of environments under sometimes daunting conditions.
George Turnbull, who came to Oregon in 1917 and was appointed dean in 1945, described the primitive surroundings under which he taught copy editing for some twenty years:
“The old semicircular copydesk... [was] constructed of Douglas fir stained a reddish brown... [and] was a rough job. The top looked fairly smooth, but the perimeter was NOT. The users, students and faculty, had various ways of coping with this rather aggressive...unit of furniture... [S]ome...wore their coats at the desk; others provided themselves with sleeve-covers, while still others, with sleeves rolled up, merely exercised care to keep those constantly threatening splinters out of their skin. It was routine to check one's arms for slivers at the end of class period.”
Despite its often poor surroundings, the school maintained a consistent reputation as a leader in journalism education -- a reputation that did not go unnoticed by the newspaper publishing industry. From the beginning, the School of Journalism was actively involved with industry partnerships, including constant field contacts with the newspaper industry in the state through the Oregon Press Association and the maintenance of an employment bureau for newspaper workers located in the journalism school itself.
Even though the general thrust of journalism education has changed over the years and other areas of communication have waxed stronger, the foundation upon which the school was built continues to inspire students, faculty, and alumni alike. As one alumnus put it, "Printer's ink was supposed to flow through our veins." In many ways, it still does.