Murray Fromson, a former international news reporter and professor emeritus of journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, died Saturday in Los Angeles after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88.
Fromson, director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism from 1994 to 1999, was a staunch advocate for freedom of the press and journalism ethics, fighting tirelessly for journalists worldwide who often put their lives on the line to ensure a well-informed public.
Fromson was a longtime CBS News correspondent and Associated Press reporter before joining USC Annenberg in 1982. Reporting from around the globe, he covered events including the Korean and Vietnam wars, the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, and the Civil Rights movement in the southern United States. He and his CBS colleagues were awarded two Overseas Press Club awards for their reporting on the fall of Saigon in 1975.
“Not only was Professor Fromson one of the great journalists of his time, he was also an extraordinary teacher and leader who will be greatly missed,” said Willow Bay, dean of USC Annenberg. “His legacy will continue to live on at USC Annenberg, especially among his students in whom Murray instilled an indelible sense of integrity and ethics for the profession.”
Fromson served as a founding member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and for decades represented individual journalists and their First Amendment rights.
To politics and public service
Following his broadcast journalism career, Fromson served as deputy campaign manager for California Gov. Edmund G. Brown in 1978 and, the following year, as a consultant to the president of the University of California’s systemwide administration. From 1980 to 1983, he was moderator of California Week in Review, a statewide television program on PBS stations. He also was the producer of the nationally syndicated Eric Sevareid’s Chronicle.
Upon his arrival at USC in 1982, Fromson founded and directed the Center for International Journalism at USC, recruiting more than 100 working journalists to earn master’s degrees with a specialization in reporting on Cuba, Mexico and other Latin American nations.
In 2000, Fromson was named a fellow in Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. He also served as a judge for the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism in 2003 and 2004 as well as a judge for many years in the history, current events and biography categories for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.
Following his retirement from USC, Fromson continued to write opinion pieces for U.S. newspapers and The Huffington Post and worked on his memoir about the Cold War.
Fromson is survived by his wife, Dodi; his daughter, Aliza; and his son, Derek.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills. Shiva will be observed the rest of the week; call Mount Sinai at 800-600-0076 for information.
An extended version of this story appears on the USC Annenberg website.
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