Dorothy Hallaian was early leader and dynamo among Oregon journalism advisers

Dorothy Hallaian was early leader and dynamo among Oregon journalism advisers

By Rob Melton
Dorothy Hallaian was a leader in the scholastic journalism movement in Oregon.

Born in Montana in 1922, she lived briefly in California  before moving to Corvallis, Oregon, in 1954 with her husband and children. Sometime after 1964 she moved with her family to St. Helens where she taught photography and English and advised the Lions Roar newspaper at St. Helens Senior High School from 1969-1984, when she retired.

Hallaian earned a master’s degree from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication for her thesis “The relevance of a community college terminal journalism program to the needs of Oregon editors and publishers.”

She also edited the book “Keepsakes” about  four pioneer Montana families.

Dorothy Hallaian was president of the Oregon Journalism Educators (OJE), the advisers group of Oregon Scholastic Press (now Northwest Scholastic Press) in 1969. Officers were elected annually.

In 1969, Hallaian was in charge of the advisers program at the two-day Fall Press Conference, originally held on Friday and Saturday. After the workshops on Saturday, according to an article in the Lions Roar, students went to see the Oregon Ducks football game.

She was involved in Oregon’s first national convention – the annual NSPA-JEA-OJE West Coast Conference at the Hilton Hotel April 6-8, 1973. About 1200 students and advisers attended the conference from 16 states. Hallaian was president of OJE at the time and presided over the Oregon state conference on Friday. Officers of OJE hosted the remainder of the conference.

An article from the Lions Roar published on April 10, 1973 described the convention she chaired this way:

Speakers at the main conference of the first national journalism convention held in Oregon included Bill Ward, Professor of Journalism at Southern Illinois University and the author of many journalism textbooks, Don Sterling, editor of the Oregon Journal, and Dr. Robert P. Knight, Director of the Missouri Press Association, also spoke.

Others included Richard P. Johns, Executive Secretary of Quill and Scroll, an honorary society for journalism students; Pat Clark from Griffith High School in Indiana who led a 6-session yearbook short course, and Clifff McNair, chief photographer from the Bremerton (Wash.) Sun and chairman of the National Press Photo Association. McNair did six 50-minute sessions on photography.

Highlights of the conference included pre-convention tours on Thursday and Friday; the convention kickoff on Friday; an onthe-spot writing contest Friday afternoon and a rock dance Friday night. On Saturday and Sunday. 50 sessions on yearbook and newspaper were held. An awards luncheon was held Saturday noon and Saturday night the Golden West Indoor Rodeo was held at the Memorial Coliseum. The next School of Journalism event will be a five- day workshop for new and inexperienced newspaper advisors June 18-22.

–Lions Roar, St. Helens H.S., Oregon  April 10, 1973

She also worked on the 1976 convention in Portland. NSPA stopped doing spring conventions from 1977-1989, although JEA spring conventions were held on the West Coast throughout that time, including the 1987 Portland JEA convention.

Dorothy was an active member of the committee of Oregon advisers that produced the 1987 convention in Portland – the first convention since the 1973 convention at the Hilton in Portland and the second national journalism convention ever held in Oregon.

Hallaian died Aug. 9 of thyroid cancer at age 73. She was a member of the First Christian Church in St. Helens.

If you have additional information about Dorothy’s journalism career in Oregon, please contact us.