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The Tatarian Symposium

The Department of Media, Communications and Journalism has hosted 12 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.

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.