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BYU's Alf Pratte named to national journalism commission

A Brigham Young University professor of journalism has been named a member of a national commission to examine how freedom of the press works in a democracy and how to improve its health.

Alf Pratte, a professor of journalism and former journalist in Canada, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Utah, has been named to the 40-member Commission of the Press.

A native of Canada, Pratte has been a reporter, administrative assistant in the Hawaii State Senate and director of extension services for the Marine Advisory Program of the Sea Grant College at the University of Hawaii before going into full-time college teaching.

As a professor of journalism, he has taught news writing as well as advanced reporting, opinion writing, magazine writing, media history and graduate classes.

One of the founders and former president of the American Journalism Historians Association, Pratte is the author of "Gods Within the Machine: A History of the American Society of Newspaper Editors." In 1985 Pratte headed a panel of journalists in a national search to help select a journalist to ride on a 1986 space shuttle. In 1990 he was appointed to a Utah Legislative task force examining the state's open records law. While in Hawaii he was a member of the Honolulu Community Media Council, one of only four in the nation.

His research on the media has been published in American Journalism, the Journal of Communication Inquiry, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Journalism History, Journalism Quarterly, the Newspaper Research Journal, the Journal of Radio Studies, Journal of the Women's History as well as popular periodicals.

Co-chairs Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Geneva Overholser, on behalf of the Institutions of Democracy Project funded by the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, announced Pratte's appointment.

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