Alf Pratte

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Dr. Paul Alfred “Alf” Pratte is an emeritus professor of Journalism at Brigham Young University, and journalism at BYU for nearly twenty years. Pratte’s specific focus was in media history and newspaper and magazine writing. He graduated from BYU in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and in 1965 with a master's degree in communications.

He initially found various jobs as a stringer, correspondent, and opinion writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, Orem Daily Journal, and Provo Daily Herald, as well as Quill and Editor and Publisher magazines. He then moved to Hawaii and worked as a reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. While in Hawaii, he began a statewide LDS newspaper called the Hawaii Record-Bulletin. This paper remained in print for twenty-five years. Pratte then took a job as an administrative assistant for the Hawaii State Senate while he earned his PhD in American studies from the University of Hawaii. Upon completion, he took a position as the Director of Extension Services for Sea Grant College’s Marine Advisory Program.

His early teaching career began with positions at Kapiolani College in Hawaii and Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania where he taught for three years. He then spent twenty years as a professor at BYU. Working for the Communications Department, Pratte taught news writing, advanced reporting, opinion writing, magazine writing, and graduate classes, in addition to his media history specialty.

Pratte’s writings have been published in American Journalism, the Journal of Communication Inquiry, and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. He is also the author of “Gods Within the Machine: A History of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1922-1993.” A history of BYU–Hawaii, co-authored by Pratte and former President of the University Eric Shumway, was published in October of 2015 at the Mormon Pacific Historical Society Conference to celebrate the University's 60th anniversary.

Pratte is one of the founders and a former president of the American Journalism Historians Association. He has served on the Function of the Press in a Democracy committee and on the editorial board of Newspaper Research Journal. He is a member of the Annenberg Press Commission—an elite group of professionals who examine the press and put together school textbooks. In this capacity, he authored the first chapter of a history book that was used in 120 universities.

Pratte and his wife, June, have five children.

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