You're Invited!

Plans are underway for a series of events in October that will focus on honoring alumni and friends for career excellence, exploring the topic of trust in the media and delving into critical issues confronting SLO County and the state.

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Our first Festival of Journalism will take place October 26-27, 2023, in San Luis Obispo. This two-day event will provide a great opportunity to reconnect with fellow alumni, network with media professionals and meet current students and faculty – all while examining the contributions of today’s journalists. The details so far:

CalMatters Live

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Journalists from the nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization CalMatters will sit down with local thought leaders to discuss the topic of housing in SLO County and throughout the state. It will begin with a topical film screening followed by a reception with the director at the Palm Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo on Thursday evening, Oct. 26.

Then on Friday, Oct. 27, CalMatters will host a conversation centered around the topics of homelessness and the cost of housing. These discussions will explore underlying causes and workable solutions.

Jim Hayes Symposium

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Jim Hayes  

Following the CalMatters programming, the journalism department will present its fourth Jim Hayes Symposium. The biannual symposium is a forum where media leaders talk of courage, truth and enduring values. This year the focus will be on trust in news -- how to establish it, contributing factors, how well media organizations are doing and the impacts on democracy.

Cal Poly Journalism alumnus and former ABC News correspondent David Kerley will moderate. Speakers include journalist Sally Lehrman, chief executive of the Trust Project; Emilio Garcia Ruiz, editor in chief of the San Francisco Chronicle; and Carolyn McGourty Supple, head of public affairs for Google Public Sector and former executive director of the Center for Ethical Leadership in Media.

About Jim Hayes: A Cal Poly journalism professor, chair of the journalism department and founding director of the Brock Center for Agricultural Communication, Jim Hayes was a staunch advocate for fact checking, integrity and ethics. For more than 60 years in his role as teacher, mentor, editor and writing coach, Hayes taught thousands of students, journalists and communication professionals.

The Jim Hayes Symposium is meant to inspire a new generation of storytellers to do the right thing. 

Mustang Media Hall of Fame

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On Friday evening, the journalism department will host a gala dinner and induct eight new members into its Mustang Media Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was created in 2016 to honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the department and its student media organizations or those who have used their student media experience to launch successful careers. It recognizes the value of a vibrant student media operation at the center of the journalism department’s Learn by Doing curriculum.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Melissa Figueroa Chechourka, chief of strategic communications, CA High-Speed Rail Authority
  • Jim Hayes, former Cal Poly professor and symposium namesake
  • David Kerley, owner Full Throttle newsletter, former ABC News correspondent
  • David Kraft, vice president/news, ESPN
  • Mark Looker, owner, Looker Communications Consulting
  • Conan Nolan, chief political reporter, KNBC and host of “News Conference”
  • Tracey Ozmina, global COO, SAGE Publishing
  • Lauren Rabaino, chief of staff to the CEO, Vox Media

Admission to all CalMatters events and the Jim Hayes Symposium is free. Tickets for the Hall of Fame Gala go on sale in August. Stay tuned for details!

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