Skip to main content

Mack, Barbara

Published onJul 30, 2021
Mack, Barbara

(October 26, 1952 - August 23, 2010)

Quick Facts

Alumnae Barbara Mack was a beloved but tough journalism professor, establishing the Iowa Freedom of Information Council in 1975.


Barbara Mack got her start in journalism as copy courier at the Des Moines Register as a high school student. Defying her father’s wishes she enrolled at Iowa State, worked her way through school as a reporter for The Register and graduated in 1974 with a degree in journalism. She also worked her way through Drake University and earned a law degree in 1977.

She joined a collection of five attorneys who comprised the in-house legal firm of the Des Moines Register working on First Amendment and open records issues. Before joining the faculty at Iowa State in 1986, she served as general counsel for the newspaper. She was noted as a defender of First Amendment rights and established judicial precedence on behalf of Iowa journalists. One of those cases established a limited right for reporters to keep their notes private. Mack helped establish the Iowa Freedom of Information Council in 1975 which led her to law school.

Mack was a much beloved, yet tough classroom teacher. She taught classes ranging from basic journalism to media law and ethics. She also served on the editorial board of the Iowa State Daily beginning in 1999. Throughout her career she was recognized for her teaching by several awards including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Introductory Teaching Award in 1995, Master Teacher Award in 2000, and the James W. Schwartz Award made posthumously in 2013. Her service was recognized by the Iowa State Alumni Association’s Award for Superior Service and was named the Louise Noun Visionary Woman by the Young Women’s Resource Center.

In her twenty-six year career at Iowa State she spent most of her time teaching except from 1991-1994 when she was executive assistant to ISU President Martin Jischke.

Barbara Marie Mack, or “B-Mack” as she was affectionately called by her students, unexpectedly passed away on Aug. 23, 2010 at her home in Des Moines, IA. She was 59.

Selected Sources

“Barbara Mack, dead at 59” The Des Moines Register Friday, August 24, 2012.

“She changed lives in her classroom” The Des Moines Register Thursday, September 6, 2012

“ISU alumna Barbara Mack given Greenlee School Schwartz Award posthumously” Iowa State University News Service July 18, 2013.

“Adie to Jischke will step down, return to teaching” The Des Moines Register Monday August 9, 1993.

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?