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Media, Communications and Journalism instructors Jim Boren and Donald Munro

For years they brought us the news, now they teach it

Two veteran journalists from The Fresno Bee are transferring their expertise from the newsroom to the classroom at Fresno State.  

Jim Boren and Donald Munro have begun teaching media, communications and journalism (MCJ) courses at the university. Their first day teaching was Jan. 16.

Boren recently retired as executive editor of The Bee after nearly 50 years in the business, Munro served as one of the Bee’s top cultural arts writers for 16 years.

Boren and Munro will offer hands-on, professional experience as well as new perspectives from which students can learn, said MCJ professor and chair-elect Betsy Hays.

“I think it’s always wonderful when you look at a student’s transcript at the end of their time here that they’ve had a chance to take [classes with] many, many brilliant minds,” Hays said. “They’re both very interested in giving back and helping train the next generation of journalists.”

Boren is teaching two sections of the upper division writing course MCJ 102W, which is a hands-on news reporting course.

As a Fresno State alumnus and MCJ graduate, Boren said he is glad to give back to a program that was impactful to him.

“[Students] are going to learn reporting skills and writing skills, so my goal at the end of the semester is to have them being able to write news stories that are publishable in local media and beyond,” Boren said.

He said it is an exciting time in journalism as the digital landscape allows reporters to break stories immediately.

“At the heart of what we do is creating compelling stories, wonderful photos and videos and graphics that enhance our ability to tell stories about our community,” Boren said.

Munro is teaching MCJ 104, an editing of publications course for students who are studying print journalism.

“It’s important as an editor to be able to focus on the details, so we’re talking style, grammar, tightening things,” Munro said. “I want to get into some of the skills that will be expected of both editors and reporters in the digital age.”

Munro said working on his own website after leaving The Bee has been a one-person show. The skills he utilizes – editing, writing headlines, blogging and using social media – are important for journalists to know today, he said.

“The time has passed when reporters could just write,” Munro said. “They’re expected to know a lot more these days.”

Another addition to the MCJ department will be Timothy Drachlis, former assistant managing editor for Newsday. He will be teaching in fall of 2018 as the Roger Tatarian Endowed Faculty Scholar in Journalism.

During his lectureship and as the Tatarian chair, Drachlis will teach two journalism courses, including data journalism, Hays said.

He will also coordinate symposia and lectures about journalism that will be open to the public.

“The Tatarian chairs have been a beautiful addition over the years because they bring their unique perspective,” Hays said. “They provide wonderful education and professional development for the students and the community.”