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Mark Lodato (far left) supervises students in the Cronkite NewsWatch control room as they produce a show.
Cronkite NewsWatch is an award-winning, 30-minute newscast produced by advanced broadcast students in the Cronkite School.
The newscast is distributed four days a week during the academic year by Eight World, a digital channel of Eight-Arizona PBS that reaches 1.1 million homes across Arizona. This gives the newscast play in the 13th largest media market in the country and makes it one of the only student productions to air in a major media market.
Student reporters cover news throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, across the state of Arizona and along the U.S.-Mexico border. They also do live reporting from the nation’s capital, where they cover national news of interest to Arizonans from the Cronkite School’s Washington news bureau. In addition, many packages are fed to network affiliates throughout the state via Cronkite News Service and are featured on Cronkite News, the school’s news website.
Cronkite NewsWatch consistently wins national awards. In 2013, it was named “Best Newscast” at the national Emmy Foundation’s 2013 College Television Awards and also received the country’s best student newscast award from the Broadcast Education Association. The previous year, BEA gave the newscast its Best of Festival award, reserved for the top entry in all categories of the broadcast news competition.
In 2011, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized Cronkite NewsWatch as the best student newscast in the nation and students working on the newscast led the school to first place nationally in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards broadcast competition. Over the past 10 years, Cronkite has won five national championships and two runner-up titles in the Hearst broadcast contest.
Cronkite NewsWatch students are selected in a competitive process and work two to four days a week in a variety of roles, ranging from reporting to producing. Students work in a state-of-the-art television facility, the Stanley and Erika Tobin Broadcast Center, on the sixth floor of the Cronkite building. Reporters and photographers shoot on Sony HD digital cameras, edit on Apple Final Cut Pro and write and produce their stories using the Associated Press ENPS newsroom computer system. Students have access to The Associated Press wire service and CNN video feeds via the Pathfire distribution system.
Cronkite NewsWatch students report live on election night, November 2008.
Cronkite NewsWatch is directed by Assistant Dean and News Director Mark Lodato, who joined the Cronkite School in 2006 after working for 16 years as a television reporter and anchor for television stations in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Phoenix and Ft. Myers, Fla. He also served as news director at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
During most semesters, students with Spanish-language skills produce a Spanish-language newscast, NewsWatch Espanol. It is aired twice a month on Saturdays on KFPH-Channel 35, Cox Cable-Channel 54 and DIRECTV-Channel 13.
KAET/Eight, Arizona’s public television station, began airing the newscast in 2008. Cronkite NewsWatch can be seen live at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday on KAET digital (Cox Cable Channel 88) and over the air on digital channel 8.3. The newscast is rebroadcast at 11p.m.
For more information on the program, contact Lodato at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602.496.9415.