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Cronkite Student Takes First in National TV News Competition

December 21, 2006

A portfolio of television stories produced by an Arizona State University journalism student was judged the best in the nation in the prestigious Hearst Broadcasting Awards competition.

Elias Johnson, a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, finished on top in the television news feature category of the nation’s most respected intercollegiate journalism competition. The award gives the Cronkite School an overall ranking of first place in the Hearst standings after the first five of 12 competitions.

Johnson was a reporter/anchor for Cronkite NewsWatch, the award-winning student newscast produced twice a week by Cronkite students. The senior journalism major from Manson, Iowa, will represent the Cronkite School in the national semi-finals competition in April.

One of his stories focused on Anthony Robles, a Mesa teenager with one leg who is competing for the ASU wrestling team as a freshman. The second story features Rosie’s House, a non-profit music academy located near downtown Phoenix that provides talented inner city children with free music lessons.

In addition to Johnson’s top honor, three other Cronkite students placed in the top 20 of the contest. Senior Hailey Frances Gindlesperger of Scottsdale, Ariz., placed 11th in the same television competition. In radio, senior Justin Karp of Santa Clara, Calif., finished 15th in feature reporting and junior Laura Kennedy of Phoenix was 16th.

“The work of Elias, Hailey, Justin and Laura proves once again that the best students at the Cronkite School are truly among the very best in the country,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “We are extraordinarily proud of these students, and we are indebted to faculty mentors such as Mike Wong, Mark Lodato and Sue Green, who are so dedicated to their students.”

The Cronkite School is a nationally accredited school that focuses on professional journalism education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Cronkite School, which was named in honor of longtime CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite in 1984, has finished in the top 10 of Hearst competitions for the past five years.

The Hearst Intercollegiate Journalism standings after five of 12 competitions:

1. Arizona State
2. Nebraska
3. Missouri
4. Western Kentucky
5. North Carolina
6. Montana
7. Florida
8. Syracuse
9. Brigham Young
10. Kentucky