Cronkite Student Named Hearst Champion

June 19, 2013

An Arizona State University senior from Scottsdale has won the national television championship in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

John Genovese, a senior, received first place in the national television broadcast news championship sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Genovese, of Scottsdale, Ariz., received a $5,000 award. He is the second Cronkite student in two years to win a national television news championship. Dan Neligh was the national winner last year.

Nick Franck of Casselton, N.D., also competed in the 53rd annual Hearst Championships this year and was a finalist in the radio category. Franck, who graduated in May, won a $1,500 prize.

Frank and Genovese were selected based on their performances in a series of monthly competitions over the past academic year. They competed earlier this month in San Francisco against other finalists from universities around the country. Finalists were given stories to report and produce and their work was judged by professional journalists.

“I'm honored to have competed alongside some of the most talented student journalists in the country,” said Genovese, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Cronkite in December. “This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am extremely proud to represent ASU and the Cronkite School."

For his championship story, Genovese interviewed the owner and pilot of a seaplane tour business about the Bay Area’s “June gloom” summer fog.

“John’s story had all the right elements: a strong script, an engaging subject, great video, informative expert, a sense of place and a correspondent with a calm, professional and authoritative presence,” said Kate O’Brien, senior vice president for ABC News in New York, who presented the award to Genovese. “He took us up in the air with a seaplane pilot and into the fog over the Golden Gate Bridge. All that – and a sound bite quoting Samuel Clemens. It all added up to a first-rate, first-place TV piece."

Genovese has been active as a multimedia journalist and anchor for Cronkite NewsWatch, an award-winning 30-minute, student-produced newscast that airs live on Arizona PBS four nights a week during the school year. He also has been part of a multimedia reporting class at The Arizona Republic, has worked as a production assistant for ESPN and as an assignment editor for KPNX-TV’s 12 News, and has interned at Univision.

Genovese is participating this summer in a training program at KPNX, the Phoenix NBC affiliate, learning how to produce news. He will report from the Cronkite School’s Washington, D.C., bureau this fall.

Mike Wong, the Cronkite School’s director of career services, said, "It's a great honor for any student to compete in the Hearst championship because they are competing at the highest levels with the nation's best college journalists.”

The Cronkite School placed sixth overall in the national Hearst Journalism Awards for 2012-2013, with winning entries in broadcast, writing and multimedia. The school has finished in the top 10 nationally for the past 11 years, including three first-place finishes and three second-place finishes.

The Hearst Journalism Awards, often called the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism, were established by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation in 1960 to provide support, encouragement and assistance to journalism education at the college and university level. More than 100 accredited journalism schools around the country compete in the annual competition. The program distributes more than $550,000 in scholarships and grants annually.