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Will Norton, Journalism Correspondence

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RG-14-02-01

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence created by the Dean’s Office of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications from 1990 to 2000. The correspondence is between students, alumni, notable individuals, and various corporations. The correspondence also includes journalistic organizations, such as news groups and newspapers, and other universities and colleges. The majority of the correspondence is outgoing, although a few incoming letters were saved in the early years. Internal communications are also included in this collection of correspondences. While the collection contains only correspondence, some files that were attached to letters are also included, such as curriculum vitae, reports, and journal articles.

Subjects covered include admissions, visiting speakers, budget and administrative work, curriculum and GPAs, faculty, events, and the personal life of the Norton family. Norton was deeply involved in accredidation of various American journalism schools, so correspondence related to accredidation also features heavily.


  • 1991 - 2001


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Biographical / Historical

Will Norton was Dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications from 1990 to 2009.

Born in Karawa, Belgian Congo, to missionary parents, Norton attended school in South Carolina, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1963 from Wheaton College and then went on to receive a master’s degree from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Iowa.

During his tenure at UNL, Norton oversaw the development of the university’s new journalism complex in 2000, and in 2004 he provided a revised curriculum to focusing on digital media. He advocated for providing opportunities for journalism students to study abroad on in-depth reporting projects. He also worked to increase the number of women professors at UNL.

Norton served as president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1989-90. He was president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication from 2000 to 2001 and was named the Journalism Administrator of the Year in 2005 by the Scripps Howard Foundation. He was a long-serving trustee of The Freedom Forum, and a member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

After leaving UNL in 2009, Will Norton became the dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. In 2018, Will Norton called for the removal of Ed Meek’s name from University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism due to the latter making a Facebook post that he deemed offensive, which was accomplished. However, in 2020 it was revealed that the same image posted by Ed Meek was sent to Will Norton a few weeks earlier by a wealthy donor via email without any known reaction as a part of the UM Emails incident. Will Norton resigned as dean of the School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi that year and retired from teaching entirely in 2021.


2.792 Linear Feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



The correspondence are arranged into two sections. The first section is arranged by correspondent, and this section includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence. The second section is arranged by date and is largely outgoing mail.

Custodial History

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications donated this material in 2009.

Separated Materials

During processing in 2022, Madison White removed materials related to student grades, hiring, firing, pay, and evaluations of employees and students.

Processing Information

The collection was minimally processed by Madison White and Ross Schroeder in 2022. While much of the collection was rehoused, it was kept in its original order and with the original folder titles.

Will Norton, Journalism Correspondence
Madison White; Ross Schroeder
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States