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The Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture is an annual event held each spring by the Cronkite School in honor of the longtime Arizona Republic editor who taught journalism at ASU for more than 30 years.
The lecture series is made possible through a generous endowment from his widow, Laura Schatt-Thede, and an annual gift from The Arizona Republic, where Schatt worked for more than 40 years.
“Paul was committed to making a difference in the community he lived in and the profession that he loved so much,” Mrs. Schatt said. “He inspired many students and fellow journalists with his keen sense of issues and ethics. The Paul J. Schatt Lecture Series will ensure that Paul's passion for the pursuit of truth and freedom of information will live on.”
The lecture series features prominent journalists exploring topics that were most important to Schatt - coverage of political leaders and governmental institutions, investigative reporting, journalism ethics and freedom of the press.
“Paul helped start the career of countless journalists across the Valley and around the country,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “He represented the best of journalism and journalism education. We can't think of a better way to ensure that his memory, his values and his deep passion for journalism will live on for all future generations of young journalists.”
The inaugural lecture, held in the spring of 2007, was titled “Newspapers Under Siege: Ethics on the Firing Line,” and tackled the question of how the newspaper industry can survive a period of rapid change while retaining the ethics and standards that define it.
Panelists included three prominent journalists: Jim Crutchfield, former publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal and former Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics in the Cronkite School; Tim McGuire, former editor and senior vice president of the Minneapolis Star Tribune who holds the Frank Russell Chair in Business Journalism at the Cronkite School; and Jennie Buckner, a longtime newspaper industry leader who was most recently editor of the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, N.C. The panel moderator was Kristin Gilger, assistant dean in the Cronkite School and former deputy managing editor at The Arizona Republic.
The 2008 lecture, “Breaking the Barriers, Women Leaders in News,” featured four leading women journalists who discussed the gains women have made in journalism and the challenges they still face.
Panelists were Catherine Anaya, nightly news anchor at KPHO-TV in Phoenix; Susan Green of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and former managing editor at KNXV-TV in Phoenix; Ellen Soeteber, the Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor of Journalism Ethics at the Cronkite School and former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Julia Wallace, editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and former managing editor of The Arizona Republic. The panel was moderated by Gilger.
Babak Dehghanpisheh, Baghdad bureau chief for Newsweek, spoke at the third annual lecture in 2009. His presentation, "War of Ideas," covered the challenges of reporting in a war zone.
In 2010, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, spoke about her award-winning investigative work covering conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The lecture was moderated by her former editor at the Post, Leonard Downie Jr., the Cronkite School's Weil Family Professor of Journalism.
The 2011 lecture featured award-winning investigative journalist and author of a New York Times best-seller Mitchell Zuckoff.
Schatt began teaching Reporting Public Affairs at the Cronkite School in 1975. He died Nov. 18, 2005, three weeks after heart surgery. He was 60.
Schatt’s students remember an instructor who delivered an intense and practical course that improved their writing while instilling in them a keen understanding of the inner workings of local and state government.
He set professional standards in the classroom, and his students regularly traveled off campus to cover city, county and state governments and explore public records around the Valley.
Students’ only complaint about Schatt’s Reporting Public Affairs class was the starting time - 7:40 a.m. twice a week. The time, however, was necessary for Schatt to combine teaching with his full-time job as a senior editor of The Arizona Republic.
Schatt joined the newspaper in 1962 as a copy boy while earning a degree in English and political science from ASU. He served as city hall reporter, columnist, urban affairs editor, metro editor, magazine editor, associate editor and editorial page editor during a Republic career that spanned five decades.
He received the Arizona Press Club’s Distinguished Service Award posthumously.