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New Clifford Gallery Honors Journalism History

November 18, 2008

A gallery honoring the career of Walter Cronkite and the history of journalism is now open at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The Marguerite and Jack Clifford Gallery was dedicated Nov. 19 before a crowd of nearly 100 people, including Clifford, the veteran TV executive for whom the gallery is named.

The 1,500-square-foot gallery houses artifacts of the history of journalism, including items from the school’s namesake, Walter Cronkite. It is located on the second floor of the Cronkite School’s new building at 555 N. Central Ave. and is open to the public.

“It is an honor to be associated with the gallery because it is important to me that students for generations to come know about journalism history and understand Mr. Cronkite’s important role in it,” said Clifford, the founder of the Food Network and a longtime supporter of the Cronkite School.

Hundreds of items are on display, including pipes and books from Cronkite’s New York office, a microphone used by Edward R. Murrow in 1938, and collections of typewriters and broadcast editing equipment. Artifacts of local significance include a Phoenix Gazette street sales box with a copy of the last issue of the paper from 1997 and early mini-cam equipment used by the news department of KOOL-TV, the forerunner of KSAZ-TV in Phoenix.

Most of the items were donated or loaned by individuals and organizations, including Cronkite, the House of Broadcasting, The Arizona Republic and Cronkite faculty.

Professor John Craft, the senior member of the Cronkite faculty, oversaw the selection and display of items.

The gallery is named after Clifford, who launched his television career in Phoenix in 1957. He was president and general manager of KTAR-TV in Phoenix, and held similar positions at other stations around the country before joining the Providence Journal Co. in Rhode Island, where he was executive vice president. Clifford developed the company’s electronic media business into one of the nation’s largest broadcast TV, cable television and TV programming companies. He founded and was chairman of both the Food Network and Northwest Cable News.

Clifford currently is a member of both the ASU Foundation Board of Trustees and the Cronkite Endowment Board.