Roger Tatarian Symposium explores the growing role of local nonprofit news

Madeleine Bair, Leslie David, Ramona Giwargis, Ron Smith and Sue Cross

A panel of top media professionals from around the country will engage in a discussion titled “Can Nonprofit News Outlets Save Local Journalism?” for the Spring 2022 Roger Tatarian Journalism Symposium at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 23 on Zoom. Registration is free and the public is invited to attend.  

Panelists include:

Madeleine Bair headshot
Madeleine Bair

Madeleine Bair is an award-winning journalist and media developer. She is the founder of El Tímpano, a Spanish-language reporting lab designed in collaboration with Oakland’s Latino and Mayan immigrants. Bair has taught radio production to teenagers, worked on a morning show at Chicago Public Radio, produced multimedia for Human Rights Watch and collaborated with media activists from around the world. Her stories have appeared in the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Colorlines, MediaShift, and Orion, and have been broadcast on public radio programs, including PRI’s The World and Independent Lens.


Sue Cross headshot
Sue Cross

Sue Cross leads the Institute for Nonprofit News, a network of more than 350 independent, nonprofit news organizations in North America. She joined INN in 2015 to build its emerging news network and advance social enterprise models for investigative and other public service journalism. Cross is a former senior vice president for the Associated Press global news agency, where she created digital news services, expanded Spanish language and Latin American operations, introduced video to more than a thousand online news sites and managed a national news cooperative.


Leslie David headshot
Leslie David

Leslie David is executive director of BenitoLink. She is a Bay Area independent reporter/producer and has produced for radio, television, newspaper and magazines in both California and Wyoming. At KRON-TV News in San Francisco, she and Linda Yee won the Commonwealth Club Thomas Storke Award for their series on the AIDS epidemic and England’s needle exchange program. David started as a small market news reporter/photographer at KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara.


Ramona Giwargis Headshot
Ramona Giwargis

Ramona Giwargis is the co-founder and CEO of San José Spotlight, the city’s award-winning nonprofit newsroom dedicated to independent business and political reporting. Giwargis has covered politics and government for more than a decade, working in San Jose, Merced, Salinas, Eureka and most recently Las Vegas. A San Jose native, Giwargis is passionate about investigative and watchdog journalism that searches for truth, exposes wrongdoing and sheds light on injustice. She is a graduate of San Jose State University and has won numerous journalism awards, including the McClatchy President’s Award, a George F. Gruner Award and first-place awards from the CNPA. An Assyrian immigrant, Giwargis cares deeply about telling the stories of minority, underserved and marginalized communities. She is also a board member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter.


Ron Smith headshot
Ron Smith

Ron Smith is editor of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He joined the news service after serving as the managing editor for news at USA Today. Before moving to the Washington D.C. area in 2016, Smith was the deputy managing editor for daily news and production at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he oversaw the breaking news hub, production desks and was the key point person for print story selections and workflow. He also has worked as an editor at The Oregonian, the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. 


Award-winning Journalist and Fresno State Alumnus Roger Tatarian worked for United Press International (UPI) for 34 years as a reporter and editor. He was the Washington, D.C. news editor and covered several significant stories around the world as a bureau chief in London and Rome. He became the editor-in-chief of UPI in 1967. He left UPI in 1972 to join Fresno State’s journalism faculty, where he taught for 15 years. The Roger Tatarian Journalism Grant and the Roger Tatarian Endowed Chair in Journalism was established in his honor. Tatarian passed away in 1995 at the age of 78. On Oct. 13, 2021 the Fresno Unified School Board decided to rename Forkner Elementary School to  H. Roger Tatarian Elementary School

The symposium is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities and the Institute for Media and Public Trust. 

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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