Cronkite News Service to Launch Washington Bureau

Dec. 21, 2010

Cronkite News Service, a multiplatform daily news operation providing Arizonans with critical public policy stories, is opening a year-round Washington news bureau, Arizona State University announced today.

Advanced students from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will cover Congress, federal agencies, the White House and the Supreme Court, searching for stories that uniquely impact Arizona news readers and viewers. The bureau will open in May.

“ASU is focused on tackling the biggest challenges facing society today, and ensuring a robust, free press within a rapidly changing digital media landscape is critical to our future,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “The Cronkite School is leading the way in journalism education, creating innovative educational opportunities for aspiring journalists while providing invaluable news services to our region. The Cronkite News Service Washington bureau is the next logical step in the Cronkite School’s rapid development.”

Washington stories will be distributed to daily newspapers, TV news operations and news websites across Arizona via Cronkite News Service, which the school opened in Phoenix in 2007. The stories also will be featured on Cronkite News, the school’s daily news website, and Cronkite NewsWatch, a 30-minute nightly newscast that airs on the PBS channel Eight World, reaching more than 1 million households statewide.

“Regional Washington reporting is critical to a fully informed electorate, and unfortunately economic struggles have forced many news organizations to dramatically cut back on this important news coverage,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan, a former Washington regional correspondent for The Associated Press. “The CNS Washington bureau will provide readers and viewers across Arizona stories they are not getting elsewhere while giving our best Cronkite student journalists an unparalleled professional experience.”

Steve Crane, a longtime editor and journalism educator and administrator, has been named director of Cronkite’s Washington operations. His duties will include serving as director of the news bureau and creating new Cronkite professional programs in Washington. He will hold the faculty rank of professor of practice.

Crane, a former Washington Times political reporter and editor, ran the Washington bureau of Capital News Service, the University of Maryland’s public affairs program, from 1997 to 2005. His students’ reporting was honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Robert F. Kennedy Center, among others. He was promoted to assistant dean at Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism when Callahan, then the school’s associate dean, left College Park to become the founding dean at Cronkite in August 2005.

“Quite simply, there is no one better for this new and exciting position than Steve Crane,” Callahan said. “He has extraordinary journalism and teaching skills that have long made him one of the best journalism educators in the country, and he has deep experiences in creating powerful new and innovative journalism education programs at Maryland. We’re tremendously fortunate to have Steve joining our team.”

As assistant dean at Maryland, Crane oversaw the school’s news operations – daily news bureaus in Washington and the state capital of Annapolis, Md., an online newsmagazine and a TV newscast. He also directed the master’s program, oversaw the curriculum on the undergraduate and master’s levels, served as the adjunct faculty director, worked closely with professional news organizations and funders, and developed and launched a new multimedia journalism certificate program for Washington journalists.

“Cronkite News Service has already proven itself invaluable to students at Arizona State, to the news outlets that run their stories and to the residents of the state who benefit from their reporting,” Crane said. “There’s no greater need right now than critical coverage of the federal government and no better training ground for young reporters than the big leagues of Washington. I’ve seen Cronkite students at work and I know what they’re capable of. This is a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved.”

The Cronkite School joins the journalism programs at Maryland, Northwestern University and the University of Missouri as the only schools with daily news operations in Washington.

The Cronkite News Service Washington bureau will be located in DuPont House, a Connecticut Avenue town house recently purchased by the university that is minutes from the city’s major institutions and newsmakers.

The Cronkite School, named in honor of the late CBS News anchor, has enjoyed unprecedented growth since Crow made it an independent school in 2005.

During the past five years, Cronkite moved into its $71 million state-of-the-art digital media complex in downtown Phoenix and added new programs such as Cronkite News Service, Cronkite NewsWatch, the Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, the New Media Innovation Lab, the Azcentral.com Multimedia Reporting Program, reporting specializations in business and economics coverage and Latino issues, the Cronkite New Media Academy, ABC News on Campus, AZ Fact Check, the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute, Village Voice Media and Meredith Corp. minority training programs, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the National Center on Disability and Journalism and the Hubert H. Humphrey fellowship program for international journalists.

The school also has doubled its faculty and staff, adding national journalism luminaries such as former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., former CNN anchor Aaron Brown, former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire, former BET Vice President Retha Hill, former Sacramento Bee Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez and digital media leader Dan Gillmor.

Over the same period, Cronkite students have dominated national journalism competitions. Cronkite students have finished first in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence competition for five consecutive years, and have the best record in the Hearst Journalism Awards.