Scope and Content
Title: Roger Tatarian Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1934-1995
Tatarian, Roger, 1916-1995
Extent: 1 linear foot
Photographs: In box 1.
Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).
Sanoian Special Collections Library.
The papers were donated by Eunice Tatarian in 1996
and Allan Shields in 1998.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has been transferred to California State University, Fresno.
[Identification of item], Roger Tatarian Papers, Sanoian Special Collections Library,
California State University, Fresno.
Roger (born Hrach) Tatarian was born on December 25, 1916, in Fresno, California. He
graduated from Fresno State College with a B.A. in Political Science in June 1938 and
began his career at the United Press International (UPI) the following month. He rose
from a string reporter to become the General News Manager for Europe, the Middle East and
Africa; the bureau chief for London and Rome; and the news editor in Washington, D.C. His
career at UPI culminated in his promotion to Vice President and Editor-in-Chief in 1967.
He left UPI in 1972 due to a medical condition.
Tatarian had various careers throughout his lifetime. From 1972 to 1987, Tatarian was a
professor of journalism at California State University, Fresno. The university built a
plaza in his name and the Journalism Department created the Roger Tatarian Endowed Chair
in Journalism in his honor. Tatarian was also a writing coach at various American and
Canadian newspapers as well as an occasional lecturer at the American Press Institute. He
had also been closely associated with the United Nations Educational Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as its consultant in Paris, a member of the U.S.
delegation to the UNESCO conference in Paris, and a consultant at the U.S. National
Commission for UNESCO. In the last years of his life, he wrote a weekly column for both
Fresno Bee and the Maturity News Service.
Roger Tatarian died on June 25, 1995.
Scope and Content
The Roger Tatarian papers measure 1 linear foot and date from 1934 to 1995. The papers
predominantly cover Tatarian's professional life and are arranged in eight series:
The Fresno Bee, Maturity News Service, Public
Television, Riverside Press Council Advisory Board, Speeches, UNESCO, and Writing coach
Biographical information (1934, 1974, 1984) contains the high
school newspaper which covers the graduation ceremony at which Tatarian was one of the
five speakers. There are also copies of the reunion speeches which Tatarian gave in 1974
and 1984. There are profiles chronicling Tatarian's achievements and a few photographs of
Fresno Bee series (1987-1995) contains all the weekly
columns Tatarian wrote for this local newspaper over the course of eight years. It also
includes a copy of
Day of Mourning, Day of Shame and Other Essays of Roger
compiled by the
Fresno Bee in 1995.
Maturity News Service (1987-1994) is an association funded
by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The file consists of background
information on the news service and a group photograph of its regular journalists (in
which Tatarian is included). There is also some correspondence about Tatarian's role at
the news service and his pay.
Public Television (1989-1995) contains a list of the various
commentaries which Tatarian made and the fees he charged. There are also a few
Riverside Press Council Advisory Board (1973-1974) contains
various newspaper articles and reports written by Tatarian, which outline the efficacy of
the council and have suggestions for improvement.
Speeches (1960-1994) contains outlines of the numerous
speeches which Tatarian gave around the world throughout his professional life. The
subjects he touched upon were numerous, however, one speech Tatarian gave while receiving
the Lovejoy Award at Colby College, Maine in 1980, stands out. The award is given
annually and the recipient may be an editor, reporter or publisher whose professional
skill has, in the opinion of the judges, contributed to the country's journalistic
achievement. When receiving this award, Tatarian criticized the "shield laws" which give
journalists the right to keep their sources private. He believed some journalists abuse
this privilege. Tatarian's speech caused an upheaval in the world of journalism where
opinions ranged from ardently supportive to vehemently opposed.
UNESCO (1972-1984) contains two reports on the role of the
Multinational News Association and the numerous speeches Tatarian made about the Third
World suspicions of the Western press and also U.S. suspicion of UNESCO itself. The U.S.
had wanted to withdraw from UNESCO in the mid-1980s, believing the organization was too
bureaucratic, hostile to free market principles and against freedom of the press.
After Tatarian retired, he became a writing coach for various newspapers.
Writing coach correspondence (1979-1991) describes the role Tatarian
played in each of these newspapers, his recommendations for their improvement, the
duration of his employment and the fees he charged for his services.
Materials from the 1998 accession were donated by Allan Shields, a friend of both Roger
and Eunice Tatarian toward the end of Roger's life. It includes the correspondence between the
two of them from 1990 to 1995 as well as Tatarian's obituaries.