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LSU's Manship School Celebrates Past with an Eye on the Future

In 1912-13 the English Department offered the first journalism courses at LSU. In the 100 years since that first class began pecking out their assignments on manual typewriters the school has trained about 8,000 students with the skills and knowledge to successfully enter the world of media.

The Manship School is housed in the Journalism Building -- the oldest building on LSU's campus, moved here brick by brick in 1934 from the university's downtown campus near the state capital.
University Relations

The Manship School now has a national reputation as one of the best in the country. It is the only program in the country focusing on media and public affairs education at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. The faculty believes that studying the intersection of media and public affairs is more important today than ever before.  


There were 12 students in that first journalism class. Today, the Manship School has an enrollment of 624 students, with another 500 or so underclassmen pre-majors. Today’s students can choose to concentrate their study in public relations, advertising, political communication or journalism. Public relations is the most popular area of study for Manship students today:

  • Public relations    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 36%
  • Journalism (print and broadcast)    – – – – – – –  28%
  • Advertising    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 23%
  • Political Communication    – – – – – – – – – – –  13%

The school promotes cross-training in all areas to give students a broad background. The faculty believes in the importance of preparing all students to think critically and to assume the responsibility of ethical journalism.

Another big change since 1912 is the student population: about 72 percent of today’s Manship students are female.


The Manship School has one of the highest admission standards on campus, yet produces the highest graduation and retention rates.

Although one of the smallest schools on campus, Manship students win a large percentage of university awards.  Also, they win national awards such as Truman scholarships, Meredith-Cronkite fellowships, the Best Television Broadcast Award, Hearst journalism awards and national advertising competitions.

The Daily Reveille, LSU's student newspaper, is one of the top sources of hands-on experience for Manship School students.
Eddy Merez/University Relations

In the last year a Manship senior won the Ed Bradley scholarship, the highest award given by RTNDA, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation.

Student Media

The Reveille student newspaper printed its first copy in 1897 and the Gumbo yearbook dates back to 1899. The Legacy magazine, the KLSU radio station and the Tiger TV station came along much later. Student Media today provides more than 100 students each year with hands-on learning experience.

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs

The Reilly Center hosts programs and events on a wide range of topics. Recently they hosted a program based on Professor Bob Mann’s new book, Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds. Mann showed old political ads and focused on the Lyndon Johnson ad that changed presidential campaign history.

The Reilly Center also runs the Public Policy Research Center, one of the top five university research centers in the country.

The Future is Now

The school is taking steps to prepare all students to file on every platform – print, Internet, broadcast, social media and whatever comes next. An emphasis on digital media is a top priority for the school.

While other mass communication programs scramble to keep up in an era of apps, tweets, timelines, likes, pings and pokes, a team of scholars in the Manship School is taking the initiative in providing a blueprint for the future. With the rapid rise of digital, mobile and social media, audiences can access, share and even create media content when they want, how they want and wherever they want. The Digital Media Initiative, or DMI, is addressing these monumental changes by taking steps to establish the Manship School as a digital leader.

Tiger Television, LSU's student television station, has a state-of-the-art studio that provides opportunities for Manship School students to work as station managers, camera operators, news reporters, programmers, on-air personalities, and even work with clients to help create TV commercials.
Jim Zietz/University Relations

Last year Associate Professor Lance Porter headed up a committee of Manship and LSU faculty who spent the entire academic year examining how industry and academia are addressing digital media. Manship teams traveled to New York City and Washington, D.C., to meet with representatives from the New York Times, PepsiCo, Big Spaceship, 60 Minutes, Hearst, the USA Today, CBS News, NBC News, the Obama digital team, and the digital staff from Speaker of the House John Boehner among many others. As a result, digital media will now be a core part of all Manship School curricula.

Expand Political Communication Program

One of the nation ’s leaders in developing the relationship between media and public affairs, the Manship School is planning to open a Washington office in which students would attend classes but also gain experience by reporting on public affairs and serving as aides in campaigns, congressional offices and federal agencies.

Some students already have internships in Washington, and the school has strong contacts there, including some recent graduates living and working in the city.

In Baton Rouge, political communication students hear world-class lecturers and get field experience. As in 2008, Professor Bob Mann will take a group of political communication students to the 2012 Iowa caucuses to experience the process first-hand and report for the Huffington Post.

To learn more about all of the exciting things happening at the Manship School of Mass Communication, visit http://uiswcmsweb.prod.lsu.edu/manship/MassComm/.