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Schramm, Wilbur

Emile G. McAnany


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Wilbur Schramm (1907–1987) has been called the founder of the field of communication study ( Rogers 1995 ). More accurately, he is credited with creating the first PhD program in mass communication at the University of Illinois in 1948 ( McAnany 1988 ) and setting the stage for the growth of university communication programs in the USA and abroad (→  Communication as a Field and Discipline ; Communication as an Academic Field: USA and Canada ). His original background was in English literature (PhD, University of Iowa, 1932), but he soon branched out into interests in social psychology and sociology at Iowa. During World War II, he served in Washington, DC in the Office of War Information and through contacts with many social scientists developed his vision for a future field in (mass) communication. He returned to Iowa in 1943, became head of the School of Journalism, and began the first independent PhD program in journalism with a focus on social science theory and methods. In 1947 he moved to the University of Illinois and became head of the Institute of Communication Research where the first PhD program in mass communication (not the traditional disciplines of speech or journalism) began in 1948. His early books Mass communications (1949) and The process and effects of mass communication (1954) became basic texts for the growing departments of mass communication. He moved ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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