History of the Department
In 1961, history was made in sub-Saharan Africa when a Department of Mass Communication, then known as the Jackson College of Journalism, was established at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka “with virtually a complete North American style school of Journalism curriculum, including heavy doses of advertising, public relations and so on. The initiative to set up the department was that of the founding father of the university, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the doyen of West African journalism. With the establishment of the department, the dream for the formal educational training for journalists and would-be journalists became a reality.
In September 1961, the department which was then named Jackson College of Journalism was opened, and the first to head it was Mr. Earl O. Roe, who incidentally was the only lecturer in the department at the time. It was Mr. Earl O. Roe who commenced journalism programme for the pioneer students who satisfied the admission requirements for entry into the department.
In early 1962, barely two years after its establishment, the Jackson College took a giant stride in the field of student journalism by launching the NSUKKA RECORD – a weekly newspaper. The idea was to provide a training ground for student journalists so that they would be properly groomed in the nitty-gritty of journalism, namely information, education and entertainment.
In June 1964, Zik’s dream was eventually actualized with the graduation of four of the pioneer students of the college, the first in sub-Saharan Africa. The accomplishment of this goal was highly significant in view of the human and material resources problems that marked the beginning and progression of the college. In May 1964, the college had organized a dinner to mark the graduation event which, going by its significance, was an event of epochal magnitude. On that historic occasion, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was the chancellor of the University of Nigeria, said inter alia: