SJMC Monday Memo

You are the “empowered voices” of the SJMC

Our SJMC centennial slogan,”Empowering Voices Since 1919,” was written by a group of students in fall 2018 — and they were quite insistent that this is what SJMC does!

The phrase resonates in many ways. It speaks to the School’s mission of championing the First Amendment values of free speech and free press. It highlights our goal of giving our students the tools they need to build their best lives and communities. It also embraces our professional role as storytellers who give “voice to the voiceless” in our society and who help our audiences build their best lives. It showcases the passion and power of our “SJMC family.”

I have thought of this often as I watch the rising tide of protest against systemic racial injustice rolling through the streets of our cities. It is easy to despair, to fear that true equality will forever elude our nation. But I find hope in the young people organizing and leading these marches, finding their own voices of power and passion. I find hope in the children of the immigrants working at the nation’s meatpacking plants, who are advocating for safer working conditions for their parents in the midst of a pandemic.

I know that some of you, current students and alumni alike, are adding your voices to the chorus calling for change — and achieving it. One amazing example: May grad Kennedy Mitchum reached out to the editors of Merriam-Webster dictionary to advocate for a change to the definition of “racism” to include the system of oppression that enables and supports racial prejudice. Her advocacy paid off: The editors replied that a new definition is being drafted reflecting her input. “This revision would not have been made without your persistence in contacting us about this problem,” the editorial staff wrote. “We sincerely thank you for repeatedly writing in and apologize for the harm and offense we have caused in failing to address this issue sooner.”

Congratulations to Kennedy for using her empowered voice to enact meaningful and lasting change.

— Kathleen Richardson, SJMC dean

Drake ITS hiring communications assistant

Drake Information Technology Services is hiring a communications assistant for the 2020-21 academic year.

The IT Communications Assistant, in close consultation with the IT Communications Manager, will create communication plans using social media, print, the OnCampus e-newsletter, and other avenues to promote ITS services to their fellow students. They will also develop and execute the departmental student phishing quiz communications plan to educate students about the dangers of phishing and other online fraud. The job will pay $9/hour and will be able to work 300 hours over the school year. Preference given to students in SJMC who have at least a 3.0 GPA. Apply through Handshake by July 2.

Help welcome the first-years

We officially welcome our newest SJMC family members at Orientation every June. This year we are seeking SJMC students to serve as mentors for our incoming students. We’ll assign small groups of a few incoming students and a few current students to help build community — and maybe even help someone meet their new “SJMC Besties”! Please send a message if you’re interested.

Have a news item for the Memo?

The SJMC Monday Memo (and other days of the week as needed) is a newsletter to keep members of the wider SJMC community updated on School news, achievements, events and opportunities. If you have an item for the Memo, please send it to Dean Kathleen Richardson ( or SJMC webmaster and multimedia professor Chris Snider ( SJMC alums and other professionals can also subscribe to the Monday Memo via email here:

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication strives to create a community of scholars that represents the complexity of the human experience in regards to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, political views, gender identification, religion, age and physical abilities. We are committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all our faculty, staff, students and visitors, and celebrating our differences through the lens of the First Amendment value of freedom of expression.