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Cronkite Professor Retha Hill to Receive Prestigious Journalism Honor

February 18, 2015

Retha Hill, director of Cronkite's New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, is the recipient of the Louis R. Lautier Award for Career Achievement.

Retha Hill, a professor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is being honored today for her achievements as an educator, journalist and media entrepreneur.

Savannah State University is presenting Hill with the Louis R. Lautier Award for Career Achievement at its Southern Regional Press Institute Feb. 19-20 in Savannah, Ga. The annual honor is bestowed upon a media professional that embodies the journalistic spirit of Lautier, an African-American journalist who broke political reporting color barriers on many fronts in Washington, D.C., in the 1940s and 1950s.

“We are excited to recognize and honor professor Hill, who has distinguished herself as an outstanding journalist on the cutting edge of digital innovation and content development,” said Wanda Lloyd, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Savannah State University. “We know she will enlighten and inspire students on her visit to our campus in Savannah.”

Hill will participate in a keynote panel discussion on entrepreneurial journalism during the two-day conference. She is the director of Cronkite’s New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, a digital hub that teams ASU students from different disciplines to create innovative new media products for professional organizations.

Hill joined the Cronkite School in 2007 after serving nearly eight years as vice president of content at BET Interactive, the online unit of Black Entertainment Television. Prior to working at BET, she was executive producer of special projects at washingtonpost.com, developing new online products for The Washington Post.

“It is an honor to receive the Louis R. Lautier Award,” Hill said. “He broke through many barriers as a black political reporter in his day. But also, I especially look forward to working with the students and faculty at Savannah State University for a few days to help them think about media entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Hill also is the recipient of the New Media Catalyst Award, given by the National Association of Minority Media Executives, and is president of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists. She has been president of the Washington Association of Black Journalists and a fellow at the McCormick Tribune Management program and the Al Fitzpatrick Leadership Development Institute.

“Retha has been a leader of many of Cronkite’s most important innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives, and has been a critical part of our school for the past eight years," said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “We are delighted her great work is being recognized with the Lautier Award.”

Savannah State University established the Lautier Award in 1997, honoring the late journalist, who was one of the first African-Americans to gain membership to the White House Correspondents’ Association and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Press Galleries. Recent Lautier Award recipients include CNN correspondent Tory Dunnan and Kenny Irby, senior faculty and director of community relations at the Poynter Institute.

The Southern Regional Press Institute is a media conference organized by Savannah State University’s Department of Mass Communications. The event brings journalism professionals and educators from across the country to explore issues and trends in the profession.