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Back to school

May 13, 2006

Went back to school this weekend. The Mass Communications and Journalism department at my alma mater, Fresno State, held its first-ever reunion for graduates. So I went back to school to see old classmates and teachers.

Fresno State BulldogNot sure I would have recognized any classmates had they shown up –as far as I can tell, none from my years did– as I was so busy working and going to school at the time to get to know many of them. But over the years I’ve gotten to know a couple from other years who WERE there Friday night. The best part, though, was touching base with some of the instructors. Only one who was there when I was there is still there: Jim Tucker. What a great guy! He worked the crowd and seemed to remember everyone and spent a few minutes with each. Such a classy guy who really makes you feel welcome. He’s retiring in another semester and Fresno State is losing a great asset, though based on how healthy he looks, he’ll be on the sidelines for some time.

Also enjoyed connecting with my old journalism law prof Dayle Molen. A lot older and wrinklier, but it was fun talking with him. Heard a number of other grads talk about what they learned from him making a big difference over the years.

I know some of the “newer” profs, too, and enjoyed talking with them. And I ran across Dick Hamilton, formerly of College of the Sequoias. Somebody forgot to tell him he was supposed to look a lot older than he did 30 years ago. Nice guy with a passion for valley journalism education.

We got tours of the television, radio and newspaper offices, too. The television control room seemed rundown, but it sounds like they are doing some good programming there. The radio station is still a hole in the wall that comes nowhere near the quality of facility we have at Cerritos, but they continue to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year without a lot of looping. The Collegian News offices have been remodeled recently. While nice, they are only as good as the Cerritos facilities. With only 14 stations for a three-times-a-week paper, they rely on a reportorial staff smaller than we have at Cerritos to own their own computers and e-mail-in stories.

Disturbing was hearing that the FSU school has gone the way of many CSU programs in that it is dominated by Public Relations and Advertising sequences. The Print Journalism sequence is withering. Nothing against PR or Ads, but I’m of the print generation and hate to see it de-emphasized in so many programs across the state –and that the students in my program who love the work so much will have fewer and fewer options on where to transfer … providing they can get past the math requirement.

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