Journalism courses were first offered at Oregon Agricultural College during the 1914/15 school year, and the Department of Industrial Journalism was created in 1918. The department's purpose was to train students "who wish to take positions on farm and trade journals, newspapers, and other publications, especially where writing on industrial subjects such as Agriculture, Home Economics, and Engineering is required" (1919/20 OAC Catalogue). On three occasions during the 1920s, the State Board of Higher Curricula was requested to consider restricting or eliminating industrial journalism at Oregon State.
During the 1930s and 1940s, journalism at Oregon State was administered jointly with the program at the University of Oregon as part of the higher education reorganization in Oregon. In 1969, departmental majors were offered for the first time; subsequently, thirty technical minors were added. In 1992, the Journalism Department was eliminated as part of university wide budget reductions.
Department chairs have included Frank Snow, 1928; Maynard Brown, 1929; Charles D. Byrne, 1929-1932; Fred M. Shideler, 1932-1967; Fred Zwahlen, 1967-1989; and Jon Franklin, 1989-1991.
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