George Gruner, a former editor at The Fresno Bee who was jailed for two weeks for refusing to reveal a confidential source, will join Jim Wilson, a former KMJ vice president and longtime educator, as the 2019 inductees into the Media, Communications and Journalism Hall of Fame at Fresno State.
They’ll be honored alongside eight distinguished MCJ Fellows and numerous student scholarship recipients at the “Media, Communications and Journalism Hall of Fame Induction and Scholarship Celebration” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Fresno State Speech Arts building, Room 172 (Studio A).
Honorees have distinguished themselves in their careers, contributed to the betterment of the industry or made volunteer efforts outside the workplace. Hall of fame inductees are those who have completed or are near ending their primary careers, while fellows are in the prime of their careers.
Tickets are $40 with pre-registration and $50 at the door. Proceeds benefit the MCJ Alumni and Friends Chapter that contributes to student scholarships and events that foster connections between alumni and students.
2019 Hall of Fame inductees:
- Jim Wilson (1961), professor emeritus at Fresno State, former vice president and general manager of KMJ Radio, and one of the people who helped merge the former Telecommunications and Journalism departments to create the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism (now known as Media, Communications and Journalism).
- George Gruner (friend), one of the “Bee Four” journalists who was jailed in 1976 after refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source, and former executive editor of The Fresno Bee. His journalism career spanned 46 years.
2019 Fellows honorees:
- Amy Wilson (1994), director of communications at Community Medical Centers.
- Eric McCormick (1994), president of McCormick Marketing.
- George Smith Takata (1997), director of marketing and communications at Reedley College.
- Juan Esparza Loera (1978), editor of Vida en el Valle.
- Jose Elgorriaga, Jr. (friend), regional vice president and director of sales for Univision Communications in Northern California.
- Julie Lindahl Logan (1985), general manager of KFSR Radio.
- Guy Haberman (2007), play-by-play and studio host for Pac 12 Networks and NBC Sports Bay Area and California, host of “Pac 12 This Morning” on SiriusXM Pac 12 Radio.
- Kelley Annette Sanchez (1993), director of communications at Saint Agnes Medical Center.
“I’m deeply honored to be inducted into the MCJ Hall of Fame, joining media stalwarts and MCJ faculty colleagues,” Wilson said. It’s quite a group, and I’m humbled to join them.”
Gruner, who credited his colleagues throughout his career, said, “The honors belong to the staff.”
Student organizers say the event is a celebratory night for the entire department. In addition to the Hall of Fame and Fellows inductions, 31 scholarships will be awarded.
Ashleigh Panoo earned a grant and a scholarship this year and said it was a big weight off her shoulders to have her tuition covered, which allows her to focus on her education. “I couldn’t be more grateful,” Panoo said.
The reception is hosted by 15 students in the MCJ 159S, “Public Relations Cases and Campaigns,” course. The students, many of whom will graduate this fall, have dedicated a large portion of their final semester to this event.