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Cronkite News Service off to Fast Start

January 30, 2007

The Cronkite School has launched a professional news service that is serving as a new source of in-depth stories on critical public policy issues for daily newspapers, TV stations and Web sites around the state.

Under the direction of Steve Elliott, a 19-year veteran of The Associated Press who ran AP’s Arizona operations for five years, Cronkite News Service print journalism students have reported on rural water issues, debate over tributes to Navajos who served as code talkers during World War II and development around Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.

In its first weeks of operation, student stories have appeared in the Arizona Daily Star, East Valley Tribune, Tucson Citizen, Casa Grande Dispatch, Arizona Daily Sun, Kingman Daily Miner, Mohave Valley Daily News, The (Yuma) Sun, White Mountain Independent, Gallup (N.M.) Independent and Holbrook Tribune-News.

Meanwhile, the broadcast division of Cronkite News Service has started sending out satellite feed of news packages to TV news outlets around the state.

Sue Green, former managing editor of ABC15 in Phoenix and director of the CNS broadcast operations, said the stories will be available to stations in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma.

The first TV news packages covered a controversy over whether to use men on practice squads for women’s basketball teams at colleges around the country and a story on the state’s plans to deal with avian influenza, or bird flu.

Green said students will be going to the Arizona-Mexico border soon to see first hand how federal money is being used to stop illegal immigration.

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan said the news service is already “proving to be invaluable to our students, news organizations and news consumers around the state. Our students are learning lessons and gaining critical experience, reporting on major issues under the guidance of two top-flight journalists. Newspapers, TV stations and news Web sites are getting terrific stories that are ready to be published and aired. And Arizonans across the state are getting stories and learning about issues that they might have not otherwise known about.”

The students are based in a newsroom at University Center on ASU’s new Downtown Campus. The newsroom will move next door into the Cronkite School’s new building in fall 2008.