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Cronkite School Heroin Documentary Wins Top Honors at Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards

October 2, 2015

A statewide TV special exploring the deadly rise of heroin use in Arizona, created by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, received two of the region’s top professional honors at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards.

“Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” produced by the Cronkite School in partnership with the Arizona Broadcasters Association, won an Emmy in the category of “Societal Concerns – Program/Special.” The documentary, which was watched by an estimated 1 million Arizonans, also won the Governors’ Award, marking the first time a journalism school has won these prestigious honors, typically reserved for professional media organizations.

Cronkite faculty and students were on hand to accept the awards presented by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Oct. 17 at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.

“To be recognized with two of the region’s top professional broadcast news awards is a testament to the tremendous work of our outstanding students and faculty,” said Cronkite School Dean and Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan. “We are extremely proud of their accomplishments, and we will continue to cover the stories that are important to Arizonans.”

The Emmy-winning “Hooked” traces the rise of heroin use and its impact in Arizona. More than 70 students and eight faculty members at the Cronkite School worked on the project under the direction of Cronkite professor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.

“Hooked was an historic endeavor, as it was the first time in the nation a state broadcasters association partnered with a top journalism school such as Cronkite,” said ABA President Art Brooks. “We have the greatest local free over-the-air television and radio stations in the country, as we had 100 percent of the TV stations and 93 radio stations air the program. This also included Spanish language stations.”

In the Student Emmy Awards portion of the ceremony, Cronkite students dominated the competition, winning eight of the 11 awards. Cronkite News, which reaches an estimated 1.9 million households on Arizona PBS, won the Student Emmy Award for best newscast. Cronkite students also took home awards in categories including “News General Assignment,” “Sports,” “Public Affairs/Community Service” and “Talent.”

Arizona PBS, which became part of the Cronkite School last year, took home two other Rocky Mountain Emmys. “Check, Please! Arizona,” a local restaurant review program, won in the category of “Interview/Discussion – Program/Special or Series” for the fourth time in five years. Arizona PBS producer Jen Burke won an Emmy Award for a second consecutive year for her work on the weekly arts series “ArtBeat Nation” in the category of “Arts/Entertainment” for the segment “Alabaster Stone Carvers.” The eight-minute piece profiles a local couple, who hand gather rare colored and translucent alabasters from the southwestern desert and carve them into remarkable and unusual pieces of art.

NATAS is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter, formed in 1959, represents Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and El Centro, Calif.

Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards

Societal Concerns – Program/Special

Jacquee Petchel, Mark Lodato, Erin Patrick O’Connor, Elizabeth Blackburn and Sean Logan “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona” Cronkite News

Arts/Entertainment – Program Feature – Segment
Jen Burke “Alabaster Stone Carvers” ArtBeat Nation

Interview/Discussion – Program/Special or Series
Kelly McCullough, Nancy Southgate, Suzanne Guery, Mark Harms, Angela Steele, Robert McGrath and Scott Wallin Check, Please! Arizona

Student Emmy Awards Newscast
Shannon Scharrer Cronkite News – Jan. 26, 2015 newscast

News: General Assignment
Megan Thompson “Old-fashioned Dairy Farm” Cronkite News

Peyton Gallovich and Melissa Yingst Huber “The Man Accused of Pretending to Interpret Is Actually Certified” DHN: The Deaf and Hearing Network

Long Form: Fiction/Non-Fiction
Maria Thompson, Florentino Luna and John Martinez “Good as Gold”

Kari Osep "Concussions: It's a Girl Thing, Too" Cronkite Sports on FOX Sports Arizona

Public Affairs/Community Service
Kassandra Gonzalez, Kristen Hwang and Jacob Tibi “Thicker Than Water”

Documentary Photographer
Kari Osep “Greener Side of Golf” Cronkite Sports on FOX Sports Arizona

Jamie Warren Anchor/reporter reel Cronkite News

Video Essay (Single camera only)
Laura Sposato “The Annual Mexican Grey Wolf Count” Cronkite News