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The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is welcoming the strongest freshman class in the school’s history.
The Cronkite School, now entering its second year in its new home on the downtown Phoenix campus, saw a record 1,165 freshman applications to the school this year.
This year’s incoming freshman class of 264 is 45 percent larger than last year’s cohort. And 42 percent of the incoming students are from out of state, with students coming from 29 states, ranging from Washington to Massachusetts.
The new Cronkite freshman class also boasts a record number of students enrolled in ASU’s prestigious Barrett, The Honors College. Fifty-two of the Cronkite freshmen – 20 percent of the class – are Barrett students, more than any other college on campus. And more than half of the Cronkite freshman class won university scholarships.
Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan attributes the record class to the new building and unprecedented national publicity about the school’s innovative professional programs and new top faculty members.
“This is the first class that had the opportunity to see our new building in operation,” Callahan said. “There’s no better way to recruit students than giving them the opportunity to see bright, young aspiring journalists working in professional state-of-the-art newsrooms, labs and studios.”
Callahan also noted the national publicity the school received over the past year, including a major feature story in The New York Times that focused on its forward-looking, digitally focused curriculum and innovative programs.
In the past three years, the Cronkite School has launched the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Cronkite News Service, the New Media Innovation Lab, Cronkite NewsWatch, the Carnegie-Knight News21 digital media initiative, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and specializations in Latino issues and business and economics coverage.
The school also recruited national journalism figures to the faculty, including Washington Post Editor Leonard Downie Jr.; former CNN anchor Aaron Brown; digital media leaders Retha Hill, Dan Gillmor and Jody Brannon; former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire; former Sacramento Bee Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez and former Lexington Herald-Leader Editor Linda Austin.
Callahan also pointed to Cronkite students’ performances in national journalism competitions. This year, for the second time in three years, the school finished first in the Hearst Journalism Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism, and won the national Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence competition for the fourth consecutive year.