News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 24, 2013

EDITORIAL: Preserving Pyle’s legacy

IU taking steps to ensure famous alum is remembered

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Change, whether good or bad, is inevitable. But it’s important that when change occurs, preserving positive legacies that might otherwise be left behind is of great value.

Such is the case at Indiana University-Bloomington, where the board of trustees last week voted to merge the highly respected School of Journalism into a new Media School, which will include other fields of communications such as telecommunications, public relations, filmmaking, etc.

An important subplot to the move is IU’s commitment to preserving the legacy of the j-school’s most famous alum and native Hoosier, Ernie Pyle, whose work as a correspondent for Scripps News Service during World War II earned him a Pulitzer Prize and, more importantly, the undying affection of a generation of Americans who helped save the world from the tyranny of despots.

The journalism school since the 1950s has been housed in Ernie Pyle Hall, a small but highly visible building in the heart of campus. With the j-school now moving out of that building, concerns had been raised about how the university would continue to preserve Pyle’s place in IU history.

We’re pleased to report that things are looking good, thanks to Owen Johnson, associate professor of journalism at IU, who serves as chair of the Ernie Pyle Legacy Committee on campus.

Johnson has told other media outlets that he is optimistic that Pyle will have an important place at Franklin Hall, the building that will house the Media School. He stated there is a strong possibility there will be a Pyle statue erected outside the building, and that the school will contain a living museum dedicated to Pyle’s work and legacy.

Pyle, who was born and raised in the small farming town of Dana in Vermillion County, is an important historical figure in west-central Indiana. There is a museum in his honor in his hometown that includes the house in which he was born in 1900.

We’re encouraged by Professor Johnson’s words and enthusiasm. We wish him well in his quest to ensure Pyle is duly feted at IU in the years to come.