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Prior to receiving his Ph.D. at Ohio University in 1989, he was a newspaper reporter at the Oregon Journal in Portland and a news reporter and manager at KMGH in Denver, KRDO in Colorado Springs and KHQ in Spokane. In March 2003, Allen was named an International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) Fellow. His works have appeared in Presidential Studies Quarterly, Journalism Quarterly and the Journal of Broadcasting.
He also has been active as a consultant to television news organizations outside the United States. His foreign assignments have included ICTV in Ukraine, TVB in Indonesia and Pop TV in Slovenia. He has contributed to numerous television productions, including a documentary on the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign that was prepared by Channel 4 in London and telecast to viewers in the United Kingdom. Part of this series was seen domestically on PBS.
Allen is active in ASU faculty affairs as past president of the Downtown Campus Faculty Senate and member of the University Academic Council and the ASU General Studies Council.