In memory: Fred Shook

Professor Fred Shook, who established the Broadcast Journalism Program at Colorado State University and was beloved by his students, died Friday, May 28, at the age of 78. Fred wrote the textbook on Visual Storytelling, now in its seventh edition, used at many universities around the world.

He educated thousands of professional journalists while teaching at CSU, the University of Indiana, the University of Oklahoma, and at an annual workshop for the National Press Photographer’s Association. He also consulted internationally from Africa to New Zealand, through Canada, Fiji, Denmark, Finland and the United States on the techniques of producing compelling news stories.

Fred received the Emmy’s National Television Academy Silver Circle Award in 2005 for his significant contributions to television. He received a Rocky Mountain Emmy nomination for writing, an Emmy nomination for a public service announcement produced in Oklahoma, and the National Press Photographers Association’s “Outstanding National Educator” award. He also was a recipient of the National Press Photographer’s Association’s J. Winton Lemen National Fellowship Award for his contributions to television photojournalism.

Fred’s work ethic was nurtured growing up on a Kansas farm that had no running water or electricity until he was ten. He milked cows by hand and worked sunup to sundown during harvest season. Beyond his professional achievements, Fred was a kind, compassionate, cheerful and loving man who was always supportive of his family, friends and students.

In addition, he was something of a “Renaissance man” who wrote children’s stories, crafted fine furniture, brewed beer and could cook like a chef. In recent years, Fred suffered a series of medical challenges. He died from Mesothelioma – lung cancer commonly caused by asbestos exposure, which Fred may have contracted when he worked his way through college while attending Kansas State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and film studies. He later received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas while working as a photojournalist in the Kansas City market.

Fred is survived by his loving partner Laura Schaub; son Mark, Kensington, KS; daughters Tammy Finnell, Burr Oak, KS; and Courtney Shook, Fort Collins. He is also survived by his grandchildren Taylor Finnell, Overland Park, KS; Destiny Shook and Mary Jo Shook, Hayes, KS; Cache Walker, Fort Collins; Ellyanna Bowen, Commerce City; and Mark Schaub, Bartlesville, OK.

A memorial service and celebration of Shook’s life is tentatively planned for early October in Denver. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either The Darrell Barton Foundation Fred Shook Scholarship Fund at or to the Colorado State University Foundation, C/O Television Alumni Scholarship (#59823), P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522-1870.

Condolences can be posted with Horan & McConaty Funeral Homes.