The Tatarian Symposium

The Department of Media, Communications and Journalism has hosted 13 Roger Tatarian Symposiums since 2004. These events bring in top-notch national and international journalists to share with the campus and broader community about important media issues of the day.

Health Care Reporting in the Pandemic

Held virtually, reporters Felice J. Freyer of The Boston Globe, Meredith Cihn of The Baltimore Sun, Anna Barry-Jester of Kaiser Health News and Naseem Miller of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center discussed how the pandemic has affected health care journalism. All four agreed that the pandemic has shown how important health care coverage is to journalism. To watch a video of  the symposium, click here. The password is RuawAS*5.

The Power of Online Journalism

  • Tim Drachlis
    During his introduction, Tatarian professor Tim Drachlis said online platforms are the future of journalism.
  • john profile
    John Chase, director of investigations for the Better Government Association, said the internet has given his outlet a platform for storytelling that his organization never used to have. 
  • devin profile
    Devin Katayama hosts a podcast entitled "The Bay." He said producing a podcast is very time-consuming. He hopes to eventually produce five podcasts a week.
  • larry profile
    Larry Phillips talked about solutions journalism that his outlet, the Richland Source, produces regularly. The Source has received national attention for these efforts.
  • den profile
    Denise Zapata works for a single-topic outlet, The site that only covers California education issues has won praise for its stories and its databases. 


As the journalism world transitions to digital delivery of news, the challenges and opportunities for journalists have increased significantly. The 2020 Tatarian Symposium, held on Feb. 28, brought in four journalists whose careers are now solely in the digital world -- John Chase, the director of investigations for the Better Government Association; Devin Katayama, a KQED reporter and podcast host; Larry Phillips, the managing editor of the Richland (Ohio) Source; and Denise Zapata, the deputy editor of All four said the internet was a gold mine of opportunity to interact with readers, get story ideas, better display stories visually and try alternative storytelling techniques. 

Putting Fake News in the Rear View Mirror

  • Chapman greets speakers
    College of Arts and Humanities Associate Dean Dr. Honora Chapman and Institute for Media and Pubic Trust director Jim Boren greet speakers, from left, Juliet Williams, Stephen Engelberg, Scott Wilson, Sewell Chan and Joe Kieta.
  • Joe Kieta introduces
    Fresno Bee editor Joe Kieta introduces Stephen Engelberg. 
  • Engelberg talks
    ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg says that the term fake news often is misused.
  • Scott Wilson talks
    Washington Post senior national correspondent Scott Wilson said that journalists should not be giving their opinions on social media.
  • Juliet Williams panel
    AP's Northern California news editor, Juliet Williams, felt that transparency is key to rebuilding trust.
  • Sewell Chan talks
    Los Angeles Times deputy managing editor Sewell Chan pointed out that journalism organizations need to have an open dialogue with the communities they serve.
  • The whole panel
    Tatarian chair Tim Drachlis, far right, planned the symposium and picked the speakers.

The 2019 Tatarian Symposium was held on Feb. 29. It featured keynote speaker Stephen Engelberg, the editor-in-chief of ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning website. During his speech, Engelberg said that the term "fake news" should be retired from popular usage and that the term "viral deception" should be used instead. He argued that journalists should be as transparent as possible to better build trust. After the keynote speech, panelists Sewell Chan of the Los Angeles Times, Juliet Williams of the Associated Press and Scott Wilson of the Washington Post analyzed various ways that journalists could increase trust. Among the topics discussed were transparency, news vs. opinion and the divisive nature of politics in the early 21st Century.

To view a video of the event, click here.

To see the Fresno Bee's story on the symposium, click here.

To read the Collegian's story on the symposium, click here.

About Roger Tatarian

Roger Tatarian served as a reporter and editor for the United Press International (UPI) for 34 years. He covered many major stories around the globe, served as bureau chief in London and Rome, and was Washington, D.C, news editor. In 1967, he became UPI editor-in-chief. He retired from UPI in 1972 and joined the journalism faculty at Fresno State, where he taught for 15 years.

Past Symposiums

March 2004. New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges and freelance writer Seymour Hersh examined how well the media covered the Iraq conflict since the fall of Baghdad in 2003.

September 2004. Longtime UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas spoke about covering campaigns.

2005. McClatchy Newspapers CEO Gary Pruitt, San Jose Mercury News executive editor Susan Goldberg, Visalia Times-Delta editor Jim Houck and others discussed the future of news.

 2006. Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador to Iraq and the husband of Valerie Plame, whose CIA agent status was revealed in the press after what the couple alleges was a leak from the Bush administration, spoke about war, politics and the CIA.

2007. Then-Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters headlined an examination of politics in a digital age.

2010. Nancy Youssef, McClatchy correspondent for the Pentagon, and Gareth Porter, investigative journalist and historian, spoke about how to report on armed conflicts.

2011. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Matt Richtel of the New York Times discussed how high-tech gadgets can alter the human brain.

2013. New York Times’ Fernanda Santos, Phoenix bureau chief, examined the power of young immigrants in the nation’s politics – in particular Latino voters. A panel discussion on immigration issues followed Santos’ speech. 

2014. A series of speakers, including Robert Hackett of Simon Fraser University, Tom Yulsman of the University of Colorado and Mark Grossi of The Fresno Bee, discussed journalism and climate change.

2015. Days before the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Peter Arnett spoke about coverage of the Vietnam War and the role of American news media.

2019. ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg, Los Angeles Times deputy managing editor Sewell Chan, Associated Press Northern California news editor Juilet Williams and Washington Post senior national correspondent Scott Wilson discussed how the media can improve trust.

2020. Better Government Association's Director of Investigations John Chase, EdSource Deputy Editor Denise Zapata, KQED reporter Devin Katayama and Richland Source Managing Editor Larry Phillips talked about the online news world, its successes and its challenges.