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Republic Editor to Lead New Multimedia Program

December 10, 2006

An Arizona Republic editor will serve as a visiting journalism professor at Arizona State University next year, directing a new multimedia reporting program at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication sponsored by The Republic.

Starting in January, Aric Johnson will be the Cronkite School’s first Arizona Republic Editor in Residence. Johnson will be dispatched to the Cronkite School full time for the year to direct 15 students who will cover breaking news for azcentral.com, The Republic’s online site, as part of a new multimedia reporting class.

Students, who will be paid as well as receive credit for the new course, will spend two days a week assigned to the Republic’s downtown newsroom, three suburban bureaus and KPNX-TV Channel 12, which is also owned by Gannett.

Johnson has been a reporter and editor at the Fresno Bee, the Reno Gazette-Journal and the Republic, where he served as education editor, assistant business editor and interim editor of The Tempe Republic.

“Aric is perfectly suited for this new role,” said Republic Executive Editor Randy Lovely, who along with Editor Ward Bushee designed the program with Cronkite School leaders. “His passion for student journalists is contagious.” Earlier this year, Johnson served as editor of the Asian American Journalists Association’s student newspaper during the organization’s annual convention in Hawaii.

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan said the new multimedia reporting program is part of the school’s efforts to prepare journalists for the multimedia newsrooms of the future.

“We don’t know of any other multimedia collaboration like this between a journalism school and a major news organization in the country,” Callahan said. “It will be an outstanding opportunity for some of our best and brightest students, and an enormous benefit for the region’s news consumers.”

“Students will learn how to be multimedia reporters at one of the nation’s largest news Web sites, and azcentral.com’s readers will receive up-to-the-minute news from around the Valley. We believe this could be a model for other journalism schools and news organizations,” he said.

Cronkite Assistant Dean Kristin Gilger, a former Republic deputy managing editor, will oversee the program.

Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. He completed the Maynard Management Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Asian American Journalists Association’s Executive Leadership Program.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this new venture,” Johnson said. “I feel strongly this can benefit the community and the students. The Arizona Republic and ASU are leading the way by creating a model that could be used across the nation.”