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Illumination magazine.
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Vice Chancellor for Research Robert Duncan

Standards and Service

Back when newspapers and magazines were America's preeminent media, most successful publishers focused their personal ambitions squarely on the task of building empires. Walter Williams, an up-and-coming newspaper owner from Boonville, was different.

A man with little formal education, Williams spent the most productive years of his life promoting the idea of a university-based journalism program. Instead of ink-stained apprenticeships, he argued, young reporters-to-be needed professional, hands-on journalism training coupled with a broad-based exposure to the arts and sciences. Journalists already working for papers and magazines around the world, meanwhile, should be taught to practice a "creed for the profession," a set of standards emphasizing truth, candor, independence and decency.

With our fall edition, Illumination joins the MU community in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Missouri School of Journalism that Williams founded and the Journalist's Creed he authored. Not coincidentally, we've dedicated our cover feature to a scholarly investigation providing a fascinating new take on the early print media Williams sought to professionalize.

In these pages you'll also encounter additional MU scientists and scholars who are changing the way we think about their areas of expertise. Among them is a biological scientist who is uncovering the causes of autoimmune disorders, an engineer who is sounding the alarm about a potentially serious issue in wastewater treatment, a team of cognitive psychologists that is altering our understanding of how memory works, and a group of food security experts who are using the latest technologies to pinpoint Missouri's geographic areas of greatest need.

In his Journalist's Creed, Williams wrote, "The supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service." I believe such a measure is one that all of the University faculty featured in these pages, no matter what their area of expertise, are working to satisfy in full. I'm confident that, after reading their stories, you will think so too.

Rob Duncan
Vice Chancellor for Research

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