37¢ Women in Journalism
Issue Date: September 14, 2002
City: Fort Worth, TX
Printed by: American Packaging Corporation for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 x 10.5
Please note: Due to the layout of the pane, the se-tenant may or may not be provided in Scott Catalogue order.
Newspapers had limited roles for women reporters in the first half of the twentieth century. These stamps honor four women who broke the mold. They persevered and won the respect of their peers for their work in investigative journalism, political reporting, and war correspondence.
Marguerite Higgins (1920-66) won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, the first awarded to a woman, for her coverage of the Korean War. Her career as a war correspondent began at the end of World War II and continued into the Vietnam War.
America’s first great woman journalist, Ida M. Tarbell (1857-1944) revealed the illegal methods John D. Rockefeller used to monopolize the early oil industry. As a result, the U.S. government sued Standard Oil for violation of the nation’s anti-trust laws.
A tough investigative reporter, Ethel L. Payne (1911-91) was known as the “First Lady of the Black Press.” Payne reported on key events of the modern civil rights movement. She was the first black female war correspondent in Vietnam and the first black woman commentator on a major radio and television network.
Nellie Bly (1867?-1922) pioneered as an undercover reporter with daring exposés about the poor and the poorly treated. In 1889, she traveled around the world in 72 days, a sensational story covered by her newspaper, the New York World.
America’s First Journalism School
On September 14, 1908, the University of Missouri School of Journalism became the first such school in the US, and only the second in the world. (The Superior School of Journalism of Paris opened in 1899.)
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was significant debate over journalism education. Many people believed that journalism couldn’t be taught in a classroom, rather it had to be learned from an extended apprenticeship. And journalists needed to have a certain talent for the field that they couldn’t simply learn.
In 1895, a bill was submitted to the Missouri State Senate seeking a chair of journalism to be established at the University of Missouri. That bill was rejected, as was the idea of granting the school the ability to give degrees in journalism. The Missouri Press Association backed these ideas again in 1896, but they were again denied.
Walter Williams would be a driving force for change both in Missouri, and the world of journalism. Williams was a dedicated journalist who started his career as a writer for the Boonville Advertiser. In 1889, at the age of 25, he was the youngest president of the Missouri Press Association. By 1908, Williams was editor of the Columbia Missouri Herald and a university curator and pressed for a school of journalism. With the support of Joseph Pulitzer, they finally convinced the Missouri Senate to back their idea. Williams was selected to serve as the school’s first dean.
On September 14, 1908, the University of Missouri School of Journalism officially opened. The first class immediately began work on their first issue of the University Missourian, which later became the Columbia Missourian.
From the start, Williams emphasized a “hands-on” approach to learning, which over time, has become known as the “Missouri Method” of journalism education. Williams stated, “The School of Journalism does not intend to make journalists. It can, however, train for journalism, and this is the purpose of its establishment.” Williams wanted people from around the world to have access to the school’s style of teaching, so they taught journalists from other countries and invited the World Press Congress to the school. He also wrote the Journalist’s Creed (which you can read here).
In May 1910, the school staged its first annual Journalism Week and invited several famous media professionals to lecture throughout the week. In 1930, they awarded the first Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. Since that time, over 500 journalists and organizations have received this award, which is considered one the most prestigious in the industry.
The school offered the world’s first master’s degree in journalism in 1921 and the first Doctor of Philosophy degree in journalism in 1934. They also started offering radio broadcast courses in 1936 and launched the first university-owned full-power commercial TV station in the US in 1953.
Today, students of the Missouri School of Journalism practice a hands-on approach by publishing a daily newspaper; running a television and a radio station; publishing a glossy, quarterly magazine; and providing an Internet news and information service.