On Thursday, Oct. 25th, the Media, Communications and Journalism Department celebrated their 90th birthday in the Satellite Student Union and Speech Arts 172. The first journalism courses were taught at Fresno State in 1928, and during its 90-year history the department has restructured and updated to reflect current trends in the fields. The birthday celebration honored the department’s past and also highlighted its plans for the future.
A lot has changed in our society in the last 90 years; however, it could be argued that one of the most significant changes is how media has evolved and permeated the fabric of our culture.
Consider this; in 1928, though Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio in 1895, it wasn’t until 1920 when the first commercial radios stations took to the airwaves. And though Philo Farnsworth arguably had invented broadcast television in 1927, it wasn’t until the 1950s that TV became popular. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented “World Wide Web” in 1989 which was followed by an explosion in internet users as AOL sent out millions of access CD ROMs through the mid-1990s and early 2000s. And finally, the iPhone was released just 11 years ago, June 29, 2007, which resulted in the public being connect nearly every waking moment.
Each one of these evolutions has drastically changed how we get our news every day. It has also changed how news organizations gather the news. Furthermore, platforms such as social media has altered our relationship with the media by providing instant feedback. We now live in a world where the focus of a breaking news story can change throughout the day based on feedback from the audience and deadlines can become hazy as the public expects instant updates. What used to take 24 hours or longer can now happen in real time.
Through all of these changes, the Fresno State Media, Communications and Journalism (MCJ) Department has been training the next generation of journalists, advertisers, and public relations professionals. This was evident as a who’s who of Fresno media was in attendance at the MCJ 90th Birthday Ice Cream Social. It was refreshing to see alum of the program return to the university, enjoy some ice cream, and celebrate with the current students.
The night began with tours of the facilities. Alumni were often heard telling their stories of what the Collegian, Fresno State Focus or KFSR was like when they roamed the halls of the Speech Arts building. The tours were followed by ice cream and socializing. Even Victor E. Bulldog made an appearance!
But what capped off the night was the oral history video presentation.
The MCJ Oral History Project began in spring 2018 with the goal of capturing the memories of alumni of the MCJ Department and its predecessors: Radio-TV-Cinema, Journalism, Telecommunications, Mass Communication and Journalism and now Media, Communications and Journalism.