"A new dean of the MU School of Journalism, David Kurpius will inherit the helm of a first-rate program at the cutting edge of teaching the profession of journalism,"Kouichi Shirayanagi, a graduate student at Mizzou, wrote Friday for the Missourian in Columbia, Mo.
"The 'Missouri method' of teaching journalism by doing journalism in the school's many learning laboratories — print, online and broadcast — has a proven track record of working well. MU graduates are considered prized hires in news organizations across the country.
"The school scores well in almost every way quality can be measured in an academic program, but gets a failing grade in one category — diversity.
"Historically, not just African Americans, but every person with black skin was excluded from the Journalism School. The school, like the rest of the university, was 'integrated' by court order in the 1950s. Integration did not come voluntarily in the state of Missouri.
"While the Journalism School did change its policy to include African-American students, the undergraduate and graduate programs have never enrolled a number equal to or exceeding the ratio of African Americans in the state.
"The Missouri legislature is moving forward to recognize Lucile Bluford, the former editor and publisher of the Call, Kansas City's African-American newspaper. She was denied admission to the school in 1939 and six consecutive semesters thereafter.
"Bluford became a local civil rights icon in Kansas City for her efforts to desegregate the Journalism School. Kansas City has a library named after her, and her story is prominently displayed there.
"There is no monument to Bluford, or any African American, for that matter, in the Journalism School. That is something Kurpius will need to rectify.
"The school still suffers from a history of racial discrimination. The historical exclusion of blacks is all too apparent when looking at the demographics of today’s student body. . . ."
- Daniela Sirtori, Missourian, Columbia: After years of struggle, African-American journalist Lucile Bluford may get her day in Missouri (March 17)
You won't find a masthead in the April 2015 issue of Essence magazine, with Kelly Rowland and her family on the cover.
A reader writes why this listing of the magazine's staff makes a difference:
"For the sake of accountability, I think it's useful for the public/readers to know who is editing and managing the operation. It's useful for freelancers who want to pitch, too.
"Lastly, I'd like to think that many of the people who work there would want the recognition that comes with having their name on the masthead.
"I asked because I was curious why it wasn't there. I had also wondered if there had been staff changes they wanted to obscure or some unsettled issue concerning an employee."
Essence spokeswoman Dana Baxter offered this explanation of the missing masthead: "Whether or not a Time Inc. magazine masthead runs each month depends on a number of factors including page count, advertising and editorial needs. If you look through back issues of titles across the company, you'll see they come and go.”