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Cronkite Students to Cover Olympic Games in Brazil

August 1, 2016


Olympics, Cronkite School

A team of 25 Cronkite students are reporting from Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics.


Twenty-five Arizona State University students from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are heading to Rio de Janeiro today to cover the 2016 Olympic Games.

Students will report and produce content for Cronkite News, the student-staffed, professionally led news division of Arizona PBS, as well as for The Arizona Republic, FOX Sports Arizona, Pac-12 Network, 12 News KPNX-TV and news outlets in other markets. It is the second time Cronkite News students have covered the Olympics; a group of 19 students traveled to London to report on the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The three-week trip is led by Cronkite Assistant Dean Mark Lodato, Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau Director Brett Kurland and faculty associate Sarah Muench. Students will report on stories with ties to Arizona and other markets in the Pac-12 region as well as on Brazilian culture and other topics.

Ao Gao, a two-time Olympian who competed on the Chinese National Water Polo team in the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, is among the Cronkite students heading to Brazil.

“It is definitely rewarding because you spend four years to prepare for the Olympics, and this time, I actually spent four years (preparing) to be a journalist,” Gao said. “That preparation finally paid off, so it is worth it.”

Students have been preparing for the trip by researching story ideas for digital and broadcast reports. “Right now, we are in the home stretch for preparations so I am feeling a mixture of emotions,” Cronkite student Katie Faller said. “I feel incredibly honored to have been selected into the program, and I am thrilled to test my journalistic talents on such a high level.”

Kurland, an Emmy Award-winning sports producer, said students — 19 undergraduates and six graduates — were competitively selected for the 25 reporting slots. They will spend their time in Rio de Janeiro on the ground reporting from the games.

“Such a small percentage of reporters get to go cover the Olympics,” Kurland said. “So to get to do this very early in their careers is going to make a big difference when they go out for job interviews.”

The trip is part of a growing sports journalism program at the Cronkite School that features a range of sports journalism classes and sports reporting bureaus in Phoenix and Los Angeles. Recently, Cronkite students have covered Super Bowl XLIX, the College Football Playoff National Championship, Major League Baseball Spring Training and the funeral of boxer Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky. They also will be reporting from the 2017 men’s Final Four in Glendale, Arizona.

Lodato, who led the Cronkite News reporting trip to the 2012 London Olympics, said Cronkite students have the skills to report from biggest sporting events. “At the London Olympics, we produced more than 100 stories for our commercial partners in the U.S., and I suspect we will exceed that this year,” he said.