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.