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Cronkite School Welcomes New Student Clubs

September 2, 2010

Two new clubs for journalism students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication foster diversity within the Arizona State University community and beyond.

Cronkite students have established the nation’s first student chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and one of the first student chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Both organizations provide mentoring and a professional support network for students while promoting inclusion across campuses and advancing awareness of diversity outside the university.

The student chapter of NLGJA was founded when student Anthony DeWitt approached Sue Green, broadcast director of Cronkite News Service, with the idea.

Green started the Arizona chapter of the NLGJA more than 10 years ago and is a member of the organization’s national board.

The ASU group, a chapter within the Arizona chapter, is open to all students and provides resources that students, as well as professional journalists, can benefit from.

“This club really caters to anybody and everybody that wants to be a part,” DeWitt said.

The group provides mentoring to students grappling with issues of gender and sexual identity. It also serves as a resource for student and professional journalists seeking to provide fair, accurate and balanced coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the media.

“I’m really proud that we were the first student chapter in the country,” Green said, “because it says our school believes in diversity and training opportunities for everyone.”

Like the student NLGJA chapter, the student NAHJ club provides mentorship and professional development opportunities for its Cronkite members.

NAHJASU was started by Gitzel Puente, who had been a member of the national organization.

Under the guidance of club faculty adviser Anita Luera, who is a member and a past president of the Arizona Latino Media Association, the chapter partnered with ALMA to match 18 club participants nearly one-to-one with working media mentors in a Mentor Mixer Match. Students can follow up with those mentors to ask career-related questions or arrange to shadow them in the workplace.

“Arizona Latino Media Association has been wanting to do a mentoring program with college and high school journalism students for some time,” Luera said. “This was a great win-win event.”

Puente said the group enables students to envision opportunities for themselves both as Hispanic journalists and as journalists within Hispanic media outlets.

“We’re bringing awareness about the Hispanic media to these students,” Puente said. “It’s another opportunity for them in their careers.”

Members of the NAHJASU chapter are also eligible to compete for scholarships, internships and attendance at the organization’s national convention.

The group has already set up a Web site and a blog. NAHJASU members also volunteered to help put on the February ALMA High School Multimedia Journalism Workshop held at Cronkite.

Both NAHJASU and NLGJA are open to all Cronkite students.

In addition to these clubs, the Cronkite School at ASU is home to student chapters of the Association of Multicultural Journalists, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association.