USC professor emeritus passes away at age of 88

Murray Fromson, a professor emeritus and former director of the School of Journalism, passed away in his sleep on June 9 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88.

Murray Fromson joined the University in 1982, and served as the director of the School of Journalism from 1994 to 1999. Photo from USC News.

Fromson founded and directed the Center for International Journalism after joining the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 1982. The center was known for helping journalists, who were earning master’s degrees, to specialize in reporting on Mexico and Cuba. Fromson eventually became the director of the School of Journalism in 1994.

“The people whom he taught through the Center for International Journalism which he created at USC have gone on to become leaders of the profession around the world,” former Annenberg dean Geoffrey Cowan wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan. “With his background in both print and broadcast and in both domestic and international reporting, he was able to build on the school’s excellence and to make a meaningful contribution to the whole university.”

Prior to joining USC, Fromson had 35 years of experience as a journalist. Fromson reported for both the Associated Press and CBS News during major historical events, such as the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Fromson is best known for his  reporting of the U.S. occupation in Japan, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, armistice talks in Korea and three summit meetings between Richard Nixon.

Fromson and his CBS colleagues were honored with two Overseas Press Club awards for the reportings of the fall of Saigon in 1975,

“Murray had a passion for journalism — what it could mean in the world and how to make sure that it adheres to its highest values,” Cowan said. “Having seen and been part of its role when the press covered the war in Vietnam and the civil rights movement in Selma, for example, he understood and conveyed the importance of reports that tell a great story well while bearing witness.”

In 1978, Fromson served as California Governor Edmund G. Brown’s deputy campaign manager and eventually became the consultant to the president of the University of California Systemwide Administration. Fromson was also a moderator for the television program California Week in Review and produced Eric Sevareid’s Chronicle.

Fromson is survived by his wife Dodi, daughter Aliza Ben Tal and son Derek Fromson.

A memorial service has yet to be announced.