Ball State students’ first journalistic endeavor dates back to 1919, when the 11-member class of the then-Eastern Division of Indiana State Normal School published “The Orient” yearbook. Students launched a newspaper, “The Easterner,” in 1922 and – although the name has changed – the presses haven’t stopped in 96 years.

Today, Ball State’s Department of Journalism prepares more than 1,000 students to lead as the next generation of storytellers and strategists. The department is celebrating 50 years during the 2018-19 academic year, and in honor of this milestone, a passionate graduate has pledged to match gifts of any amount (up to $25,000) made to Journalism Scholarships.

Every gift matters, and collectively, our commitments add value to a Ball State Journalism degree. Thank you for your support.

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Department of Journalism Timeline

Journalism graduates: 295
Leadership: Professor Sharley B. DeMotte: 1925-54 and Dr. Louis E. Ingelhart: 1954-79

  • The 11-member senior class of 1919 of the Eastern Division of Indiana State Normal School, later to be renamed Ball State, publishes the institution’s first journalistic endeavor, a student yearbook called The Orient.
  • Ball State publishes its first newspaper, The Easterner, in 1922. The four-column edition published every two weeks changes its name to The Ball State News in 1937.
  • Professor Sharley B. DeMotte is named director of publicity, student publications and journalism instruction in 1925. She manages these roles for 29 years until her retirement in 1954. DeMotte was inducted into the department’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1985.
  • A journalism minor is established in 1927.
  • Dr. Louis E. Ingelhart is hired in 1953 to guide journalism at Ball State.
  • Student publications operate from the home economics area of the Administration Building from 1953-61, when they (having outgrown the space) move into four houses and two garages behind the Student Center on College Avenue.
  • Journalism faculty join the Department of English in the East Wing of the Emens Auditorium complex (1961). That same year, the first student awards banquet is held.
  • Ingelhart’s requests for a journalism major are met with “there isn’t such a thing” until 1964, when Ball State approves a journalism major. The university establishes a master’s degree in journalism in 1966.
  • The first summer high school journalism workshop takes place in 1966 under the direction of A. Dean Speicher, ’59 and EDD ’67, a member of the Journalism Hall of Fame.

Journalism graduates: 899
Chairs: Dr. Louis E. Ingelhart: 1954-79 and Dr. Mark Popovich, ’63 and MA ’68: 1979-84

  • By 1968, the department’s 42 courses, combined with 30 related courses in other departments, make it possible to offer majors in secondary school journalism and news-editorial.
  • Journalism becomes a separate unit from the English department in 1968, but without enough faculty to qualify as a department, Journalism operates as the Center for Journalism. It achieves departmental status in 1973. 
  • After 31 years as The Ball State News, the student-run newspaper becomes The Ball State Daily News in 1968.
  • Ball State becomes the first Indiana university to offer a master’s degree in public relations (1968).
  • Ball State’s Journalism Alumni Society is founded in 1992.
  • Professor Ken Atwell, ’52 and MA ’70, formalizes the department’s internship program in 1970, and professor Sheryl Swingley, ’74 and MA ’82, remains the longest serving internship coordinator, having held the role for more than 22 years (1992-2014).
  • A Journalism Reading Room offers 75 newspapers and professional journals alongside 1,500 books for students (1975) from the personal library of Jewel Standerford, AB ’32, an English teacher at Muncie Central High School and colleague of Journalism Hall of Fame member Kathleen Meehan, AB ’25 and MA ’49.
  • Ball State’s student-run newspaper celebrates its 50th anniversary (1922-72).
  • The journalism department moves into West Quad (1977).
  • Limited Edition is founded as the nation’s first student-run strategic communications agency to charge for services (1976). That same year, the department’s first student-run magazine, Verbatim, publishes its first issue.

Journalism graduates: 1,315
Chairs: Dr. Mark Popovich: 1979-84 and Dr. Earl Conn, MA ’57: 1984-96

  • The department earns accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications in 1979. Reassessed every six years, the department continues to maintain full accreditation. It is one of only 113 fully accredited programs in the world.
  • Upon the advice of journalism alumnus Michael Smith, ’73 (Hall of Fame, 1995), the department establishes a Journalism Hall of Fame in 1985 with the induction of Ball State educators Sharley B. DeMott and Dr. Louis E. Ingelhart along with Kathleen M. Meeham, AB ’25 and MA ’49, a celebrated teacher and student publications adviser at Muncie Central High School.
  • Student-run magazine, Verbatim, changes its name to Expo in 1986.
  • The 464-page Orient of 1979 becomes the highest honored college yearbook in the country, the first of several subsequent volumes to earn the national distinction. 
  • Joseph Costa, LLD ’85, one of the founders of the National Press Photographers Association, joins the department’s faculty in 1977. Upon his retirement in 1985, Costa is awarded an honorary degree in recognition of his expert teaching and nearly 44 years as a photographer and supervisor for New York newspapers, including the New York Morning World and the New York Daily News.

Journalism graduates: 1,673
Chairs: Dr. Earl Conn: 1984-1996 and Professor Marilyn Weaver, ’65 MA ’70 and EDS ’81: 1996-2010

  • Sequences of study are offered in advertising, journalism graphics, magazine, news-editorial, photojournalism, public relations and secondary education. Minors are also offered in advertising, journalism, public relations and an associate of arts two-year journalism program.
  • The department awards its first Young Alumnus Award to Timothy M. Andrews, ’84, who worked for Dow Jones in New York (1990).
  • The Society of News Design names the Daily News one of the world’s best designed newspapers (1995), and the DN remains the only collegiate newspaper to hold such a ranking. Hall of Famer Michael Price, ’84, guided the journalism graphics sequence during this time.
  • Ball State establishes the College of Communication, Media, and Information in 1996, and Dr. Earl Conn, who chaired the journalism department from 1984-96, is named dean. 
  • The Orient yearbook ceases publication (1996).
  • Limited Edition, the student-run public relations agency, changes its name to Cardinal Communications (1998).

Journalism graduates: 1,717
Chair: Professor Marilyn Weaver: 1996-2010

  • The Daily News wins an Associated College Press’ Pacemaker Award and receives two Gold Crown Awards from the Collegiate Student Press Association (2008). From 1999 through 2009, the DN wins Gold Crown Awards. 
  • The Journalism Writing Center, opens in August 2001 as the first full-service journalism department-based writing center in the United States. The JWC has been staffed since its inception by graduate student peer tutors/writing coaches. It has served more than 5,000 students in its 17 years of operation.
  • The department moves from West Quad to the Art and Journalism Building (2001), alongside the Department of Art to acknowledge the university’s respect for free expression and the First Amendment.
  • Dr. David Sumner wins Time magazine’s national contest by predicting the 2006 Person of the Year as “you,” referencing the interactive nature of social media as the world welcomed the first iPhone. Time’s cover featured a mirror.
  • Ball State’s American Advertising Federation’s student team places sixth (out of 200 teams) at the National Student Advertising Competition.
  • The Indiana Collegiate Press Association names Jon Seidel, editor of The Daily News, as its Brook Baker ICPA Collegiate Journalist of the Year (2004). Seidel is the first Ball State journalism leader to receive the award.
  • The David Letterman Communication and Media Building opens in 2007.
  • The department launches the Louis E. Ingelhart Scholars program, in honor of “the father of Ball State Journalism” (2007). Dr. Adam Kuban continues to guide the two-semester opportunity that empowers Ball State undergraduates through hands-on experiences and mentoring.
  • Journalism and Telecommunications partner to offer an interdisciplinary “blended” print/broadcast news curriculum.
  • The Scripps Foundation recognizes Department Chairwoman Marilyn Weaver as its 2018 Journalism Administrator of the Year.
  • Professor Ken Heinen is named the pool photographer to take photographs of new U.S. Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, who grew up in Long Beach, Indiana (2006). One of his civil rights photographs also was accepted as an image of a U.S. postage stamp.
  • Professor Mark Massé secures a $70,000 10-year grant to support the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award, which the department continues to present during the annual Pulliam Awards Luncheon each spring (2008).
  • Dr. Jennifer Palilonis, ’96 and MA ’04, is named Ball State’s George and Francis Ball Distinguished Professor of Journalism (2008).
  • Department chairman Dr. Mark Popovich retires after 38 years and remains the department’s longest serving faculty member (2007).

Journalism graduates: 1,818
Chair: Professor Marilyn Weaver: 1996-2010, Dr. Jim Willis: 2010-11, Professor Dan Waechter, ’87 MA ’93, (interim) 2011-13, Dr. Michael Holmes: 2013-15, Professor Dan Waechter (interim) 2016, Dr. Johnny Sparks (2016-present)

  • In 2017, Ball State’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter receives the PRSSA Star Chapter Award for the third consecutive year. The award recognizes chapters that succeed in ethics advocacy, community service and professional involvement. Professor Shanetta Pendleton, MA ’16, advises the organization, which claims Ball State’s 2018 Student Organization of the Year (<50 members).
  • Journalism majors in an immersive learning course partner with the Indiana Foodways Alliance to work with the State Senate to name sugar cream pie the official pie of Indiana (2009).
  • Ball Bearings magazine wins a National Mark of Excellence Award for Best Affiliated Website from the Society of Professional Journalists (2011). The online version wins National Pacemaker Awards from the Associate Collegiate Press in 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • The U.S. Department of State awards the departments of Journalism and Telecommunications, as well as the Center for International Development, a $1.25 million grant to improve journalism and television education at the University of Shaikh Zayed in Khost, Afghanistan. Professors Terry Heifetz, MA ’10, and Marilyn Weaver serve as principal investigators (2011-14).
  • The first of four Olympics immersive learning teams head to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Forty CCIM students produce hundreds of stories and photographs as well as videos for global media outlets.
  • The department’s public relations master’s degree is offered online (2012).
  • The Holden Strategic Communications Center and the Unified Media Lab open on the second floor of the Art and Journalism Building to provide collaborative, technology-rich learning spaces for all journalism majors (2013).
  • The university approves creation of the Emerging Media Design & Development master’s degree (2013).
  • The department partners with Miller College of Business to create a “media analytics” concentration in the newly approved business analytics undergraduate major (2014).
  • Professors Mary Spillman and Suzy Smith secure nearly $750,000 in federal funding to design and host The Study of the U.S. Institute on New Media and Journalism. Forty-five students from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines participate in five-week SUSI summer programs at Ball State (2011-13).
  • The department’s first online-only publication called Byte launches (2013). It features stories on the geek culture –games, movies and TV shows.
  • Opening in 2013, the Unified Media Lab — a $4 million, 8,000 square-foot cross-platform, collaborative newsroom — combines classroom space, a digital news desk, nearly 50 writing and editing stations. The collaborative space encourages multi-platform storytelling across all student media organizations. The Video News Studio opens in 2014.
  • The Daily News advertising staff emerges as the Unified Media Sales and Creative Suite, an advertising agency that practices cross-platform advertising fulfillment, permitting students to gain invaluable exposure to the real-life demands of today's media environments (2013).
  • A new, collaborative website, BSUDaily.com, becomes home for all digital content across all student media (2014).
  • The department creates the McKinley Avenue Agency, a student-run, full-service strategic communications and media sales agency to offer public relations, advertising and media sales for the department, student media and paying clients (2017). Professor Kim Green, ’78, oversees the integrated, hands-on opportunity for all majors.
  • EMDD graduate student Erika Espinoza, ’17, wins a Pulitzer Prize (explanatory journalism) for contributions to the graphics and site design of an interactive report about the proposed boarder wall, which she worked on as part of a 2007 internship at Phoenix Design Studio, in collaboration with The Arizona Republic (2017-18).
  • Dr. Adam Kuban is named the university’s first Ball Brothers Honors College Faculty Fellow (2018).
  • Ball State names the first woman, Dr. Paaige Turner, as dean of CCIM (July 2018).