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Guide to the Roger Tatarian Papers, 1934-1995
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Roger Tatarian Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1934-1995
    Creator: Tatarian, Roger, 1916-1995
    Extent: 1 linear foot
    Photographs: In box 1.
    Repository: Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).

    Sanoian Special Collections Library.
    Fresno, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The papers were donated by Eunice Tatarian in 1996 and Allan Shields in 1998.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been transferred to California State University, Fresno.

    Preferred Citation

    [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 the 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: Biographical information, The Fresno Bee, Maturity News Service, Public Television, Riverside Press Council Advisory Board, Speeches, UNESCO, and Writing coach correspondence.
    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 him.
    The 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 Tatarian, compiled by the Fresno Bee in 1995.
    The 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 commentaries included.
    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.