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CBS 5 News anchor Catherine Anaya urged graduating students of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to be fearless and preserve their integrity as they step into an ever-changing field.
The three-time Emmy Award winner at KPHO-TV in Phoenix was the keynote speaker for the school’s spring 2009 convocation held May 15 at Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium on the Tempe campus.
The digital age, a sagging economy, layoffs and folding newspapers are rapidly changing the landscape of the news industry, Anaya said, but some things are just as vital today as they were at the inception of the journalism profession.
“Here’s what has not changed: The need for information, the need for great story telling, the need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, the need to hold those in power accountable,” she told a crowd of more than 2,000, including about 170 graduating students.
She urged every graduate to be passionate, take risks, pursue criticism, preserve integrity, embrace experience, believe and have faith, find balance between work and life, mentor others, respect responsibility, and lastly, make it all matter.
“If you don’t like the state of journalism today then I challenge you to get out there and make something for yourself,” she said.
Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan expressed confidence that this most recent class would do exactly that.
“You are, quite simply, the best and brightest journalism students anywhere and we are enormously proud of each and every one of you,” he told the graduates. “We are confident that you will not only succeed but lead us into an exciting new digital age.”
Forty-two Cronkite students graduated cum laude, 25 magna cum laude and 23 graduated with the highest academic honor, summa cum laude.
The graduating class also excelled outside the classroom. Callahan said Cronkite students participated in more than 1,600 professional internships over the past four years.
Jill Galus, a 2009 Cronkite graduate who has held six of those internships in addition to co-hosting Sun Devil Television and reporting for Cronkite NewsWatch, delivered the final words to her fellow graduates.
“Uncertainty is what keeps us all grounded and really living,” she said. “Not knowing what’s going to happen next is what life’s all about”
Galus, who will represent the Cronkite School in the Hearst Journalism Awards national championship in San Francisco, added that Cronkite has prepared this class to have an immediate impact in the world.
“We don’t need a perfect economy and endless time to follow what we love,” she said. “We’re ready to do this now.”
Student award winners included:
Outstanding Undergraduate Students
Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award
Outstanding Graduate Student
Highest Grade Point Average
Inductees into Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society
Cameron Lue Sang