(Left) Fresno State professor emeritus Jim Tucker and (Right) alumnus and former Fresno Bee reporter Joe Rosato, Sr. gets inducted into the Media, Communications and Journalism Hall of Fame on Nov. 9, 2017. (Benjamin Cruz/The Collegian)

Media professionals join students for night of recognition

The green screens in the broadcast studio in the Speech Arts Building were traded for elegant black curtains last week as the media, communications and journalism department honored scholarship recipients, fellows and two hall of famers.

Hannah Wrathall, a fourth-year student majoring in public relations, was one of six students to receive the Bernard A. Shepard journalism/public relations scholarship. She was among the 30 scholarship recipients.

“I was in shock to receive this, and I’m just super excited for the opportunity, and I can’t express how thankful I am,” she said.

Wrathall said she loves that the MCJ major has helped her become involved within the department.

“I used to be super quiet and shy, and becoming an MCJ major has brought me out of my shell,” Wrathall said.  

One alumni of the MCJ department who got his share of career experience after graduating from Fresno State was Joe Rosato Sr., a former Fresno Bee reporter. Rosato was one of two inductees into the MCJ Hall of Fame.

Rosato was a member of “The Bee Four,” a group of four Fresno Bee journalists who were jailed for 15 days in 1976 for keeping their journalistic integrity in refusing a court order to expose a confidential news source.

Jim Tucker, professor emeritus of journalism at Fresno State who served as chair of the MCJ department for 12 years, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. His greater achievements include laying the groundwork for diversifying the program.

“This department is so special to me,” he said. “There’s something so special to me about Fresno State.”  

Eight fellows, who are at the prime of their careers, were also recognized in the Hall of Fame event.

The fellows include: Albert Cano, manager of local media research at Univision Communications; Michael Carr, news director at ABC30 KFSN Television; Chris Chiames, senior vice president for corporate communications at Sabre; Public relations professor and soon-to-be chair of the MCJ department, Betsy Hays.

Hays said she first stepped foot on the Fresno State campus in 1989 as a 19-year-old transfer student. Decades later, she said of the job she has had for 17 years: “I’ve had the beautiful pleasure of working in a field I love, and I’ve had the added privilege of teaching the next generation of public relations practitioners.”

Other MCJ fellows include: Better Business Bureau president and CEO Blair Looney; Paul McDougal, owner of Paul McDougal Marketing; Jane Olvera Quebe, founder and president of JP Marketing; Tom Uribes, Fresno State’s public information officer at university communications.

Uribes will retire from Fresno State in December. During his speech at the Hall of Fame event, he encouraged student journalists to keep sharing the truth with the community.

“We’re counting on you,” he said. “There’s never been more of a need as there is now for a strong and free press in our society. That’s big. I hope you understand that.”

Each honoree received a glass plaque engraved with his or her names. The Hall of Fame event was hosted by the MCJ Alumni & Friends Chapter and the department’s public relations cases and campaigns service-learning course.

The event is put on every two years by the department, according to Stephanie Torralva, public relations major and the CEO for the service-learning course.

Torralva said the students who put the event together were amazed at the professionals who were honored or attended the event.

She said, “What blows my mind and what also I think a lot of students don’t realize is how many awesome people have graduated from Fresno State and have gone on to do some really amazing things.”