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Journalism Department Celebrates 100 Years of Mustang News

The Cal Poly Journalism Department celebrated the centennial anniversary of its student press in 2016 with "100 Years of Delivering the News" Oct. 14 -15. The two-day celebration included a Spotlight Gala, industry forum and department open house.  

Mustang News 100 Years Celebration
2016 Mustang Media Hall of Fame Recipients "Weird Al"
Yankovic (right) and Bruce McPherson (center) with
Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong (left). Photo by Alan Halfhill.

During the Oct. 15 Spotlight Gala, the journalism department inducted its inaugural class of the Mustang Media Hall of Fame. Two Cal Poly alumni were honored in person: “Weird Al” Yankovic, former KCPR DJ and Grammy-winning comedy musician, and Bruce McPherson, former El Mustang reporter who served as California Secretary of State. Former Cal Poly president and journalism department chair Robert E. Kennedy along with alumnus George Ramos, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter and former Cal Poly journalism department chair, were honored posthumously. The Mustang Media Hall of Fame was created to honor Cal Poly students and faculty who have made major contributions to student press.  

Journalist and author Ben Bradlee Jr. gave the The Spotlight Gala keynote address. The former deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe led the paper’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning series on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. His paper’s investigation was the basis for “Spotlight,” which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. 

The Mustang News 100th anniversary celebration also featured the 2016 Jim Hayes Symposium and a multimedia exhibit at Robert E. Kennedy Library showcasing Cal Poly’s history through the voice of the student press.

Jim Hayes Symposium
2016 Jim Hayes Symposium. Photo by Alan Halfhill.

More than 100 alumni, students and faculty attended the Jim Hayes Symposium Oct. 14, an industry forum where media leaders spoke on the importance of journalistic values and integrity in an increasingly digital age. The Jim Hayes Symposium was created to honor former Cal Poly journalism professor and department chair, Jim Hayes, and is funded in part by the Journalism Endowment Fund.

The Journalism Endowment Fund is designed by the Journalism Advisory Board to give students the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to enter the workplace and ensure thriving careers.

To correspond with the 100th anniversary and support the Journalism Endowment Fund, the department launched its Centennial Campaign with the goal of taking its tradition of excellence into a new century. 

The idea behind the Journalism Endowment is simple: A thousand alumni each contribute $1,000 to create a $1 million fund that holds its principal and pays out a small portion annually to support enrichment of department activities. As the department celebrates the 100-year milestone for Cal Poly’s student press, it is inspired to prepare students for the next 100 years.

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