Guide to the Records of the Institute for Modern Communications (IMC)

Collection Title: Records of the Institute for Modern Communications (IMC)
Dates: 1980-1992
Bulk Dates: 1983-1987
Identification: 20/63
Creator: Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Institute for Modern Communications
Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Speech
Extent: 9 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The records of the Institute for Modern Communications fill nine boxes and span the years 1980 to 1992, with the bulk of the materials dating between 1983 and 1987. The series consists of the general administrative files of the IMC, documenting the planning, funding, and organization of the Institute and its activities; and proposals and reports of various committees in the Media Planning Project and the Founders Campaign. There are also some files documenting various projects and research work supported by IMC.
The records fall into three main subseries: general files, files pertaining to the Founders Campaign, planning files, and a smaller project subseries.
Acquisition Information: The Records of the Institute for Modern Communications Records were donated to the Northwestern University Archives by Fiona Valentine, Speech Administration, on April 14, 1993 as Accession # 93-44. Relevant items from the University Archives General Files were also incorporated into these records.
Processing Information: Irene Wong and Rae Sikula; June-July, 1999.
Separated Materials: Approximately one cubic foot of duplicate and extraneous material was discarded. IMC newsletters have been separated and transferred to University Archives Periodicals.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Founded in 1985, Northwestern University's Institute for Modern Communications (IMC) is an interdisciplinary program of media studies designed to promote scholarship that does not neatly fit the curricula of either the School of Speech or the Medill School of Journalism. The Institute's philosophy unites theory and practice, research and teaching, scholarship and production.

In the fall of 1983, President Strotz and the Board of Trustees identified mass communication as a major priority for University development over the next several years.  To meet this challenge, the School of Speech and Medill School of Journalism immediately initiated the Media Planning Project, which over the period 1983-1986 developed the scheme for a new media studies institute at Northwestern.  Project surveys investigated mass communications programs in other institutions; and eight planning committees, composed of faculty members, identified the Institute's practical needs, as well as the potential contributions of Northwestern's academic programs to the field of media studies.

As a result of the committees' research, Northwestern University inaugurated the Institute for Modern Communications (IMC) in December of 1985 and launched the Founders Campaign to fund the Institute.  The Campaign aimed at raising $25,000,000 to construct a facility; to purchase equipment; to endow chairs, professorships, and fellowships; and to support IMC programs. Campaign fundraising efforts relied on various committees, such as the Media Studies Campaign Steering Committee and International Advisory Committee, as well as "demonstration projects" created by the IMC faculty to exemplify the IMC's research potential.

Since its foundation in 1985, the Institute has organized various activities and programs to promote creativity and interdisciplinary research  in the communication fields.  In 1985, planning faculty committees created various "demonstration projects," intended as examples of possible IMC research strategies.  These examples were further developed in 1986 into funded communication projects, such as “Creating for Television,” "Journalism and Policy,” and “News Media and the Public,” which subsequently provided the foundation for the IMC's seminars, lectures, publications, media productions, and exhibits.

Scope and Content

The records of the Institute for Modern Communications fill nine boxes and span the years 1980 to 1992, with the bulk of the materials dating between 1983 and 1987. The series consists of the general administrative files of the IMC, documenting the planning, funding, and organization of the Institute and its activities; and proposals and reports of various committees in the Media Planning Project and the Founders Campaign. There are also some files documenting various projects and research work supported by IMC.

The records fall into three main subseries: general files, files pertaining to the Founders Campaign, planning files, and a smaller project subseries.

Most of the folders contain correspondence to and from the Institute or the School of Speech. Correspondents include various Committee chairs; Roy V. Wood and David Zarefsky, deans of the School of Speech; Judith Pierpont and Peter Miller, directors of IMC; Fiona Valentine, the Director of Public Affairs and Special Events of the Institute; and presidents and vice-presidents of the University. The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject title and the majority of the records are arranged in reverse chronological order by date within the folders.

Dating from 1984 to 1988, the historical materials include brochures explaining the IMC's purpose and structure, as well as clippings from the Chicago Tribune, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Daily Northwestern, which pertain to the Institute's establishment, programming, and academic significance.

The agendas and minutes date from 1984 to 1987 and document the proceedings of the Media Studies Campaign Steering Committee, which directed the foundation and development of the IMC and supervised the Founders Campaign beginning in 1986.

Issued in July 1984, the interim report of the Media Planning Project Steering Committee outlined the objectives, administration, programming, and facilities of the proposed IMC. Chaired by David Zarefsky, Associate Dean of the School of Speech, the Media Planning Project Steering Committee comprised the chairmen of eight faculty subcommittees, appointed in 1983 to formulate the Institute's future programs. Additional documentation of the Steering Committee and faculty subcommittees may be found in the “Planning” category of the IMC records. The Media Planning Project Steering Committee considered this interim report the first draft of a later report, which would be endorsed by faculty in the Schools of Speech and Journalism; reviewed by the University's Policy Advisory Council; and finally, presented to the University's Provost and President in fall of 1984.

The conference reports and agendas document the IMC “retreats” of March 1985, 1986, and 1987 in which IMC faculty evaluated the Institute's programming and suggested innovations. The reports and agendas include short position papers presented by conference participants, as well as committee reports, project proposals, and conference itineraries.

The general file of Roy V. Wood, Dean of the School of Speech, includes correspondence, notes, drafts, and sample research abstracts related to his presentations in 1985 before retreat participants and the Media Studies Campaign Steering Committee. Materials in Wood's general file outline the theory behind the IMC's administrative structure; explain the IMC's relationship to pre-existing University schools and departments; and suggest the IMC's potential value for the University and the nation.

The correspondence dates from 1980 to 1989 and consists of both incoming and outgoing correspondence of University offices related to the IMC and its development. Correspondence is organized into chronological general files or alphabetical subject files. Duplicate copies of some letters may also be found in the Founders Campaign files. The correspondence documents the daily operation and activities of the Institute and discusses fund raising; project proposals; the IMC budget; and the IMC's value to academia and the nation. Of particular interest is the correspondence with the Museum of Broadcast Communication (Chicago), discussing potential interaction and cooperation between the two organizations.

Dating from 1985 to 1989, the publicity and public relations files consist of IMC press releases; minutes of the Subcommittee on Publicity and Public Relations in 1986; and correspondence of Roy V. Wood, Nancy Williams, Allin Proudfoot, and Director of Development Terry G. Wood regarding the IMC's public image. Also included is Proudfoot and Wood's 1984-1986 correspondence with Hirokazu Arai, the Consul General of Japan, concerning possible contributions of Japanese corporations to the IMC's fundraising.

Records of IMC's activities and events date from 1986 to 1988 and consist of monthly programming schedules, advertisements, and correspondence with Fiona Valentine, the IMC's Director of Public Affairs and Special Events. IMC activities over this period included seminars, brown-bag luncheons; video “exhibits”; lectures by visiting artists; and screenings of award-winning festival films by outside talent. In addition, an undated proposal documents the IMC's hope of founding a “Third Coast Video Art Festival,” open to submissions from Northwestern students and video artists across the country.

Research files comprise three monographs prepared by fellows of the IMC between 1987 and 1988, entitled “Muckraking Matters: The Societal Impact of Investigative Reporting” (David L. Protess, 1987); “Citizen Access to the Media: A Cross-cultural Analysis of Four Democratic Societies” (Franklyn S. Haiman, 1987); and “The Craft of the Investigative Journalist” (James S. Etterna, 1988). Also included is the research proposal “Communications Technology and Transformation of Culture: Satellite Television in India,” submitted in 1987 to the Hitachi Foundation by IMC fellow Manjunath Pendakur, Director of the Program on Communication and Development Studies.

Spanning the years 1985 to 1988, communications building materials document the design and equipment of a new communications facility. Materials include design proposals and floorplans; assessments of space and equipment needs; and correspondence to and from the Founders Campaign, the Office of the University Architect, and School of Speech Dean Roy V. Wood.

Copies of three articles dating from 1986 to 1987 relate to the opinions of IMC faculty, though not to the Institute itself. The article “Audience Behavior in the New Media Environment” was written by James G. Webster, Fellow of the IMC and Associate Professor of Radio/Television/Film; “The Right to Reply” extensively quotes Frankyn S. Haimen, Professor of Communications Studies; and a review published in the journal Broadcasting pertains to the work of Communications Professor Lawrence W. Lichty.

Prepared by an unknown presenter, the speech notes date from 1984 and draw upon “Americans and the Arts,” a 1984 public opinion survey conducted by Louis Harris and Associates. The speech argues for the national importance of communications study.

Dating from 1984 to 1988, the budgets include breakdowns of IMC income and expenditure, both actual and projected; correspondence related to IMC finances; and drafts of a 1984 donor solicitation addressed to the MacArthur Foundation.

Founders Campaign files date from 1983 to 1988 and document the establishment, administration, results, and specific individual and bureaucratic contacts of this fundraising effort. Brochures and founding documents set forth the Campaign's goals and design; general and administrative files, proposals, and reports document its implementation between 1986 and 1987. Additional files pertaining to donor foundations and corporations are arranged alphabetically, as are the records of individual donors.

The planning files consist of various faculty committees' reports and proposals for the Media Planning Project from 1983 to 1987. Before IMC was founded in December 1985, eight planning faculty committees worked to define the future of media studies at the University. These reports document the committees' studies on the feasibility of establishing a communications program or center, and of cooperating with other institutions and corporations. The planning files also include the records of additional committees, such as the International Advisory Committee and the Committee on the Future, which were formed after 1985 to facilitate the development of the Institute. Planning committee records comprise meeting schedules and minutes; correspondence and memoranda; committee rosters; and letters of invitation into the committee.

Arranged alphabetically by project title, the projects files include information on demonstration projects that were proposed by faculty planning committees before IMC was formed; project proposals; project status reports and summaries; press releases; and correspondence. Most of the projects covered in these files were undertaken between 1986 and 1987.

Arrangement of Materials

The records fall into three main subseries: general files, files pertaining to the Founders Campaign, planning files, and a smaller project subseries.


Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Speech

Container List / Contents

  • General Files
    • Historical Materials, 1984-1988Box 1, Folder 1
    • Agenda/Minutes, April 1984-April 1986Box 1, Folder 2
    • Agenda/Minutes, June 1986-March 1987Box 1, Folder 3
    • Interim Report, 1984Box 1, Folder 4
    • Conference Reports/Agendas, 1985Box 1, Folder 5
    • Conference Reports/Agendas, 1986Box 1, Folder 6
    • Conference Reports/Agendas, 1987Box 1, Folder 7
    • General Files: Roy V. Wood, 1985Box 1, Folder 8
    • General Correspondence, 1980-1985Box 1, Folder 9
    • General Correspondence, 1986Box 1, Folder 10
    • General Correspondence, January-March 1987Box 1, Folder 11
    • General Correspondence, April-June 1987Box 2, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, July-August 1987Box 2, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, September-December 1987Box 2, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, 1988Box 2, Folder 4
    • Correspondence: Bergen Foundation, 1980-1987Box 2, Folder 5
    • Correspondence: Cappello, 1987-1989Box 2, Folder 6
    • Correspondence: Center for Communication, 1986-1988Box 2, Folder 7
    • Correspondence: Development, 1986-1987Box 2, Folder 8
    • Correspondence: Executive Committee, 1986-1987Box 2, Folder 9
    • Correspondence: Founders' Campaign, 1986-1987Box 2, Folder 10
    • Correspondence: Humanities, 1984Box 2, Folder 11
    • Correspondence: Miller, 1988-1989Box 2, Folder 12
    • Correspondence: Museum of Broadcast Communications, 1985-1988Box 2, Folder 13
    • Correspondence: Strotz, 1983Box 2, Folder 14
    • Correspondence: Sundin, 1985-1986Box 2, Folder 15
    • Fellows, 1986-1987Box 2, Folder 16
    • Public Relations, 1985-1989Box 3, Folder 1
    • Public Relations: Japan, 1984-1986Box 3, Folder 2
    • Research: Monographs, 1987-1988Box 3, Folder 3
    • Research: Proposals, 1987-1988Box 3, Folder 4
    • Activities and Events, 1987-1988Box 3, Folder 5
    • Communications Building, 1985-1988Box 3, Folder 6
    • Articles, 1986-1987Box 3, Folder 7
    • Speech Notes, 1984Box 3, Folder 8
    • Budget, 1984-1988Box 4, Folder 1
  • Founders Campaign
    • Brochures, n.d.Box 4, Folder 2
    • Founding Documents, 1984Box 4, Folder 3
    • General File, 1986-1987Box 4, Folder 4
    • Administration, 1986-1987Box 4, Folder 5
    • Proposals, 1986-1987Box 4, Folder 6
    • Development Reports, 1986-1987Box 4, Folder 7
    • Donations, 1986Box 5, Folder 1
    • Donations, 1987Box 5, Folder 2
    • Corporations, 1984-1986Box 5, Folder 3
    • Foundations, 1985-1987Box 5, Folder 4
    • Advertising Agencies, 1985-1986Box 5, Folder 5
    • Ameritech Foundation, 1986-1987Box 5, Folder 6
    • Block Foundation, 1984-1986Box 5, Folder 7
    • Capital Cities/American Broadcasting Co., 1986-1987Box 5, Folder 8
    • Coca-Cola Co., 1986-1987Box 5, Folder 9
    • Eastman Kodak Co., 1987Box 5, Folder 10
    • Field Foundation, 1988Box 5, Folder 11
    • Garrett Center for Media Studies, 1984-1988Box 5, Folder 12
    • Jones Foundation, 1986Box 5, Folder 13
    • Kraft Corporation, 1987Box 5, Folder 14
    • Kresge Foundation, 1986Box 5, Folder 15
    • Olin Foundation, 1985-1986Box 5, Folder 16
    • MacArthur Foundation, 1984-1986Box 5, Folder 17
    • McCormick Charitable Trust, 1983-1986Box 6, Folder 1
    • Sony Corporation, 1986-1987Box 6, Folder 2
    • Times-Mirror, 1987Box 6, Folder 3
    • Zenith Electronics Corporation, 1985Box 6, Folder 4
    • Walter Annenberg, 1985-1986Box 6, Folder 5
    • John J. Louis, Jr., 1983-1985Box 6, Folder 6
    • Mrs. Herbert Mueller, 1986Box 6, Folder 7
    • Donald S. Perkins, 1986-1987Box 6, Folder 8
    • Nancy Williams, 1986-1987Box 6, Folder 9
  • Planning
    • General Files, July-December 1983Box 6, Folder 10
    • General Files, January-June 1984Box 6, Folder 11
    • General Files, July-December 1984Box 6, Folder 12
    • General Files, 1985Box 7, Folder 1
    • General Files, January-June 1986Box 7, Folder 2
    • General Files, July-December 1986Box 7, Folder 3
    • Committees, General, 1983-1986Box 7, Folder 4
    • Committee on Aesthetics, 1983-1984Box 7, Folder 5
    • Committee on Building and Facilities, 1983-1986Box 7, Folder 6
    • Committee on Cable and Continuing Education, 1983-1984Box 8, Folder 1
    • Committee on Education and Technology, 1983-1984Box 8, Folder 2
    • Committee on Educational Programs in Broadcast Journalism and Advertising, 1986Box 8, Folder 3
    • Committee on Educational Programs in Music and the Media, 1984-1985Box 8, Folder 4
    • Committee on the Future, 1986-1987Box 8, Folder 5
    • Committee on Mass Communication and Culture, 1983-1984Box 8, Folder 6
    • Committee on Mass Communication and Public Policy, 1983-1984Box 8, Folder 7
    • Committee on Mass Media and National Development, 1983-1984Box 8, Folder 8
    • Committee on Telecommunications, 1985Box 8, Folder 9
    • International Advisory Committee, 1986Box 8, Folder 10
    • Media Planning Steering Committee, 1983-1985Box 8, Folder 11
    • Survey on Communication Programs, 1985-1986Box 8, Folder 12
    • Stuart Brotman, 1983-1986Box 9, Folder 1
  • Projects
    • General File, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 2
    • “Creativity in Advertising”, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 3
    • “Data and Decision-Making in Electronic Media Industries”, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 4
    • “Demonstrations”, 1985-1986Box 9, Folder 5
    • “Great Expectations”, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 6
    • “Journalism and Policy”, 1987Box 9, Folder 7
    • “Media as Text”, 1986-1992Box 9, Folder 8
    • “Media in the World Arena”, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 9
    • “Music and Sound for Film”, 1986-1988Box 9, Folder 10
    • “News Media and Policy”, 1986-1988Box 9, Folder 11
    • “News Media and the Public”, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 12
    • “Telecommunications”, 1986-1987Box 9, Folder 13
    • “Television in the Life of Schools”, 1986Box 9, Folder 14