The silhouettes of four cronkite students holding up the ASU pitchfork.

Study of the United States Institute (SUSI)

The Cronkite School hosts a Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) that offers vast professional learning opportunities.

Welcome to your Journalism, Technology and Democracy Institute in Arizona, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. We at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are delighted to host you on the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University. You are about to embark on a remarkable American adventure that will serve as an opportunity for professional and personal growth.

This page contains information about the program, the campus and the Phoenix metro area, as well as useful tips and details about travel, health, and safety.

Please check back frequently, as we will be updating the site with more information, opportunities for recreational and cultural enrichment ideas to pursue during your free time, and any changes to the schedule that might arise along the way.

Program overview

There will be a full on-site orientation during the first week of the Institute (beginning Monday, June 5), but here is some basic information to get you started.


You will receive a draft schedule in mid-May, approximately two weeks before your arrival in the United States.

Please plan to arrive in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday, June 4. Aside from a few planned excursions, you will remain in the Valley of the Sun and the American Southwest for the duration of your Institute. You will depart for home on Friday, July 13.


Your cohort for the 2023 SUSI on Journalism, Technology and Democracy will comprise 18 scholars from around the world. The program will include:

  • Sessions with Cronkite School faculty and distinguished guest speakers
  • Field trips
  • Cultural activities
  • Individual research projects
  • Travel to significant cultural sites within the American Southwest

The Cronkite School’s SUSI Team has worked hard to plan this program and make all necessary arrangements. During your time here they will serve as your cultural ambassadors while you learn about the intersection of journalism, technology and democracy in the United States. Your comfort, health, and safety are their top priority.

The Cronkite School is located on Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus, in the heart of the country’s fifth-largest city. You will be staying just a few steps away from the Cronkite School building.

Goals and objectives

The Institute is designed to provide participating scholars with a deeper understanding of the evolving role of journalism in providing the news and information citizens need to support democracy. The Institute will explore the ways technology is changing journalism, with a special focus on how social media enables both dialogue and the proliferation of misinformation, as well as how scholars are trying to study and develop strategies for countering mis- and disinformation. The Institute also will provide insight into the ethical practice of journalism in the digital age and emerging practices that support news literacy among citizens.

The overall program will be organized around examining the role of journalism in American democracy, both historically and in the present day. This will include exploring journalism as a means of civic conversation that fuels public decision-making. Sessions will reflect on current and emerging technology and how it impacts newsgathering, journalism ethics, and information presentation. Special attention will be paid to the emergence of misinformation and disinformation through social platforms, along with ways that journalism organizations and educators are working to promote media literacy,and rethink what that means in different types of societies and media contexts. The program will also examine the role of journalism in the history of American settlement and migration, and connect that history to current events

Program goals

This program has been designed to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Introduce you to the fundamental principles of journalism in the United States, particularly the role of journalism as the “fourth estate” in American democracy.
  • Offer opportunities to visit functioning newsrooms in a variety of media (print, television, news, online) and market contexts, including meeting the journalists and editors who produce the news.
  • Examine current issues relating to media literacy and challenges posed by communication technology.
  • Explore new and emerging technologies that are changing the shape of today’s information environment, and reflect on the implications of these technologies for journalism, education and democratic processes.
  • Offer opportunities for you to practice using some of these technologies to deepen your understanding of them.
  • Introduce you to U.S. democratic institutions and the people who work in them, including members of the political press.
  • Provide you with an understanding of journalism and media education in the United States, curricular concerns, instructional strategies and assessment techniques.


Your immersion in the topic of Journalism, Technology and Democracy will take place through a rich variety of speakers, workshops, and field trips. Throughout your program, Academic Director Dawn Gilpin, program staff, Cronkite faculty, and local and national experts will meet with you to help you contextualize information gained from the readings and speakers. This is a nonpartisan and interdisciplinary program aimed at deepening your understanding of the principles of journalism and how these intersect with contemporary technologies and democratic institutions.

Your learning will be enhanced by field trips and excursions. Within Arizona, these will consist of site visits to working newsrooms, visits to the Arizona State Capitol and Phoenix City Hall, as well as cultural excursions to the museums and sporting events, and trips to the Grand Canyon and the southern border region near the city of Nogales, which spans the U.S.-Mexican border. Stay tuned for information about additional educational and cultural excursions within the Southwest region of the United States.


Each weekly session of the Institute is organized around a particular theme or topic area. Readings will be assigned to enhance your understanding of the subject matter and provide you with valuable background. A detailed syllabus will be posted soon; please check back frequently.

Individual research project

During your time in the U.S., you will be expected to prepare a focused research or curricular project relating to the theme of the Institute and your own interests and needs.

This may represent the first stage of an academic study, groundwork for a course to be taught at your home institution, or another project to be completed after your return. You will present your work during the in-house symposium on Friday, July 1. During the Institute, you will have full access to Arizona State University’s extensive library holdings, and a limited amount of time each week to pursue your research and catch up on assigned readings. Academic Director Dawn Gilpin will be available to work with you to fine-tune your topic idea, identify appropriate reference materials and direct you to resources or faculty members who can assist you. We will go into more detail about your projects during your orientation in Phoenix.

Program staff

Daniel Barr

Daniel Barr

Media Attorney at Perkins Cole

Dan Barr is a partner in the law firm Perkins Cole specializing in Litigation practice. He has more than 30 years of experience in the area of civil litigation involving constitutional, employment, media and political law issues. He represents several news media organizations, including the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, and is the chair of the Phoenix office’s Pro Bono Committee.


  • Hassan Fakih, Lebanon
  • Elira Turdubaeva, Kyrgyz Republic
  • Shang Fang Hsu, Taiwan
  • Carmem Lucia Barreto Petit, Brazil
  • Peter Kravcak, Slovak Republic
  • Eman Mohamed Soliman Amin, Egypt
  • Rakib Ahammed, Bangladesh
  • Firly Annisa, Indonesia
  • Tirse Erbaysal Filibeli, Turkey
  • Mariana Kitsa, Ukraine
  • Elastus Mambwe, Zambia
  • Rachna Sharma, India
  • Tamanda Chipo Masambuka, Malawi
  • Angela Orlene Van der Kooye, Suriname
  • Alejandro Vargas Johansson, Costa Rica
  • Sokhen Sun, Cambodia
  • Anida Sokol, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Aye Myat Mon, Myanmar


Can I have packages shipped to me during the program, such as from an online retailer?

Yes, but make sure those packages will arrive between June 4 and July 13. Any packages that arrive after your departure will be returned to sender.

Do not have anything sent to you before you are assigned a room number at Gordon Commons. Once you have been assigned a room, you may have mail delivered to you directly at the following address:

Your name
120 E.Taylor St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Can I see my friends or family in the U.S. during my visit?

Of course we want you to take advantage of your time here and see any friends or family who might be living in the United States. However, participants are not permitted to leave the group, and must participate in all program activities. We therefore have included a few free days in the schedule to accommodate possible visits. We will update you on these dates as soon as the program schedule is finalized.

Unfortunately, friends and family are not allowed to stay with you at Gordon Commons. If you do receive visitors during your stay, you are required to stay in Phoenix. Thank you for understanding and observing the program requirements.

Do I need to bring formal or traditional dress for any occasions?

For sessions at the Cronkite School, business casual attire is fine. You should bring more formal business attire for select meetings. You do not need to bring your national dress unless you wish to. The only real opportunities to wear such dress are the welcome and farewell dinners. Any color attire is acceptable.

What is the weather like? What kind of clothes should I pack?

Please see the section “Downtown Phoenix and Beyond.” The weather will be very hot during most of your stay, although you may find it cool indoors. It is unlikely to rain in Phoenix, but the weather is more variable in other parts of the state and region. You should bring plenty of sunscreen.

Do I need to bring a credit card to the U.S.? What happens if I don’t have one?

You do not need to have a credit card. Sometimes people want to make purchases online, change their airline ticket, or buy Skype credit for family members, and these transactions will require a credit card. If you do not need to do any of these things, you will be fine without one. You should be aware that ASU has a strict policy that prohibits faculty and staff from lending you their cards.

Where can I keep valuable belongings such as my money, passport, laptop, etc.?

There are no safes in rooms at Gordon Commons, but the rooms are very secure. There is no problem with leaving your laptop on your desk or bed in your room. We do recommend that you keep your money and passport in your suitcase while it is in your room, also for your own peace of mind.

Do I need to bring money to pay for meals in the U.S.?

In addition to some planned group meals, we will also provide you with some cash to spend on incidentals such as casual meals out or groceries during your stay. You will have access to a small kitchen at Gordon Commons if you wish to occasionally prepare some of your own food. Extra money will only be needed if you decide you want to frequently dine at more expensive restaurants.

Downtown Phoenix and beyond

The Cronkite School is located on Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country, and the greater metropolitan area, known as the Valley of the Sun, stretches over 500 square miles. The city has a lively arts and culture scene and offers many opportunities for outdoor activities.
However, it is important that you take precautions when spending time outdoors in the summer months, since daily high temperatures average around 105°F/40°C, and can be much higher. (The record high of 122°F/50°C was set on June 26, 1990—but you’re unlikely to experience anything quite that extreme during your visit!)

Phoenix is America’s fifth largest city with over 1.7 million people (only New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston are larger). Our facility is just 12 years old and is considered the most digitally sophisticated in the nation, with two TV studios, a large radio studio, 14 digital newsrooms and computer labs, 280 digital student work stations, the Cronkite Theater, the First Amendment Forum and a gallery that displays artifacts tracing the history of journalism. We are within walking distance of The Arizona Republic (one of the nation’s largest metro dailies), (one of the largest news Web sites), and the local network TV affiliates of NBC and FOX. Arizona PBS (Channel Eight), a public broadcasting service station for Arizona, is also housed in the Cronkite School building and reaches nearly two million households each week.

Downtown Phoenix has a few distinct neighborhoods, each with a very different character and even architectural style. Just south of the Cronkite School is the business district, with tall office buildings, international business hotels, and restaurants that cater to the office crowd. A few blocks north is the Roosevelt arts district, populated with artsy cafes and restaurants, galleries and craft shops, and the location of First Friday celebrations. On the first Friday of every month, the streets are closed to traffic and filled with vendor booths for locally produced art, handcrafted items, and performers.


International and air travel have become increasingly difficult in recent years.  Though we hope you will have a smooth experience, please be prepared for extensive security procedures. U.S. government entry procedures require that your photograph and fingerprints be taken upon entry into the U.S.  If you have specific questions about this aspect of your trip, please be sure to speak with your contact at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  

Here are some important web sites that may prepare you:

A crosswalk on the downtown Phoenix campus.

Health and safety

This section covers important health and safety information for your stay in the United States. Program staff will go over this information in more detail during your orientation in Phoenix, but we recommend that you review it before your departure.

What to do in an emergency

On your arrival in Phoenix, you will be given a very basic phone that will allow calls within the United States and an Emergency Contact card that will have the cell phone numbers for your program team, other participants, and emergency numbers. We recommend that you keep this card with you at all times during your stay.

If you need urgent attention from the Police, Fire Department, or an Ambulance: Dial 9-1-1

Call 9-1-1 for emergency services if you find yourself in trouble, see a crime in progress, or witness a fire or accident. This is a free call from any phone, including pay phones. Try to stay calm and explain to the operator what happened. If you are the victim of a crime, no matter how minor, it is best to report it to the police.

There may be operators available who speak your native language, so let them know if you would be more comfortable that way.

ASU Campus Police: Dial (480) 965-3456

Each campus at Arizona State University has a dedicated police force that can help you if you need assistance. Only dial this number if you are on the Downtown Phoenix campus, and if you do not need an ambulance or fire truck.

Health information

Please let a member of your program team know immediately if you do not feel well for any reason. It’s important to us that you stay healthy so you can enjoy your program and make the most of your stay.

Common health problems

Jet lag and adjusting to a new climate can lead to fatigue, as well as headaches or other physical symptoms.

The program is intensive and makes a lot of demands on you, but please try to take care of your health during this time. In particular, make sure you get enough sleep and drink lots of water: the heat and sun of a Phoenix summer can be a difficult adjustment.

Health insurance

Health insurance is provided through the U.S. State Department for all illnesses that start during the program. It is important that you have health insurance, since the U.S. does not have a nationalized health care system.

In the event of a non-emergency medical situation, please call Alma. She will arrange your care at a local clinic. You will pay a $25 “co-pay” for each medical appointment. There are a number of clinics and health services on or near campus. Please speak with Alma if you feel you need to make an appointment with a doctor.

In the event of a life-threatening emergency or severe accident, ask someone to call 9-1-1, state your location and what is causing the emergency, then call Alma. When calling 911, expect an ambulance to be dispatched to assist you. Please note that the emergency room is to be used only in the case of a true emergency. There are a number of hospitals available in central Phoenix. There is a $75 co-pay for any emergency room visit.

Personal safety

Your safety is our top concern. Please read this section carefully.

Cash and valuables

The dorms and hotels where you will be staying during your program and study tour are generally very safe, but it’s always best to take precautions. It’s fine to leave your laptop on your bed or desk, but always lock the door to your room. We also recommend that you store your passport and any cash in your locked suitcase at all times.

The program cannot replace your per diem if it is lost, stolen, or spent in advance. We recommend that you carry only as much cash with you as you will need each day, keeping the rest locked in your suitcase in your dorm or hotel room.

Do not leave your personal items (purse, backpack, laptop, phone, etc.) unattended in public spaces such as the library or classroom.

The dorms and hotels where you will be staying during your program and study tour are generally very safe, but it’s always best to take precautions. It’s fine to leave your laptop on your bed or desk, but always lock the door to your room. We also recommend that you store your passport and any cash in your locked suitcase at all times.

Campus resources and policies

Emergency Notification System: In the event of an emergency, signs, screens and display boards across campus will indicate the emergency, as well as the actions to be taken for safety. Pay attention for these alerts and warnings.

Additional information

Tobacco Products: You must be 18 years or older to purchase or use tobacco products in the U.S. Smoking is not allowed in the ASU dorms. It is also not allowed in most restaurants, hotels, and stores in the United States. 

Alcohol: It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to possess, purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. It is against university policy to have alcohol in your dorm room if anyone in the room is under 21.

While you are not forbidden from drinking alcohol during your free time if you are over 21 years of age, please drink responsibly.