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Cal Poly Rededicates California Newspaper Hall of Fame

Monday, January 26, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The California Newspaper Hall of Fame has returned to Cal Poly’s Journalism Department. 

The Hall of Fame was rededicated Jan. 22 as a digital memorial in the newsroom of Cal Poly’s student-run news organization, Mustang News. The display reflects the newspaper industry’s dedication to the education of young journalists and a commitment to remembering its roots through notable journalists.

Mary Glick, chair of the university’s Journalism Department, called the display playing continuously on one of the Mustang News’ six big screen TVs “a tribute to the illustrious publishers and newspaper people from our past and present — some courageous heroes, some crusaders, and a couple of scoundrels here and there.”

Since its creation in 1957, the Hall of Fame has honored more than 70 deceased newspaper men and women whose devotion to their responsibilities resulted in substantial contributions to their regions throughout the state and to the development of California.

Honorees include publishers of the state’s first newspaper — Robert B. Semple and Walter Colton — as well as William Randolph Hearst (Hearst newspapers), Harrison Gray Otis (Los Angeles Times), E.W. Scripps (Scripps-Howard newspapers) and C.K. McClatchy (The McClatchy Co.), whose papers continue to have an impact throughout the Golden State. 

The Hall of Fame was originally housed in the state Capitol but was moved to Cal Poly’s Graphic Arts Building in 1989 thanks to the efforts of Dick Blankenburg, a former California Newspaper Publishers Association president and retired publisher of the Five Cities Times-Press-Recorder in Arroyo Grande, and others. In January 2013, the original plaques were returned to the California Newspaper Publishers Association in Sacramento in preparation for the digital makeover.

Cal Poly journalism students worked on the project, updating the gallery of inductees and distilling the biographies into a concise digital display that features all honorees.

Tom Newton, CNPA executive director and president of the California Press Foundation, urged Mustang News staff members to examine the display “for clues for what it will take for you to be successful. If you look at the attributes of the folks (in the Hall of Fame) you’re going to find a lot of what it will take journalism students to succeed going forward: grit, determination, being a little bit courageous, having some vision, being curious and otherwise being able to fend off the haters.”

Mustang News Editor Jacob Lauing said the Hall of Fame may serve to inspire a new generation of journalists.

“We’re 20- and 21-year-old kids, and we don’t really know any of these people on the PowerPoint,” said the third-year Cal Poly journalism major. “At the same time, we know that they stood for something great. It’s a good reminder, right there in the newsroom, that there is greatness in this industry.”

The California Newspapers Hall of Fame is located in Room 226 of Cal Poly’s Graphic Arts Building.


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