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Students Complete First Meredith/Cronkite Fellowship

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January 23, 2007

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Meredith Corp. and KPHO CBS 5 in Phoenix hosted 12 of the nation’s top minority broadcast journalism students as part of a new fellowship program designed to train the next generation of TV journalists.

The students spent a week in early January working in the CBS 5 newsroom with KPHO reporters, producers, editors and videographers and instructors from the Cronkite School.

They received hands-on experience creating news packages and producing and writing a 30-minute broadcast on deadline. In the process, they learned about newsroom ethics and leadership as well as how to create powerful live shots, find and pitch compelling stories and put together a newscast.

“My experience was incredible,” Alex Villarreal of the University of North Carolina wrote in her evaluation of the program. “I received a constant flow of advice, encouragement and even some constructive criticism that I know will serve to make me a better journalist.”

The inaugural class included students from Howard University, the University of North Carolina, University of Maryland, Bowling Green State University, University of Memphis and Arizona State University. They were selected in a competitive process and received stipends to cover travel, lodging and meals.

“The students got hands-on, professional experience, and we had the opportunity to preview talented students for possible work at our 14 broadcast stations,” said Paul Karpowicz, president of Meredith’s Broadcast Group., which operates KPHO.

The fellowship program was designed to expose talented minority students to the real world of broadcasting and encourage them in their careers, said Steve Hammel, KPHO vice president and general manager. “Hopefully, going through this program gave our students the clear edge when they compete for their first jobs,” Hammel said.

Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan called the program a success. “The students left with a real world understanding of how a newsroom in a major market works and what it takes to get a job in broadcast journalism,” he said. “We’re proud to work with the Meredith Corp. and KPHO to educate these students and to hopefully help bring more people of color into the TV news business.”

Participant Kathy Park of the University of Maryland said she now feels much better prepared for her chosen profession. “Because of this fellowship I’m feeling a lot more confident about landing that first job,” she said.

The Cronkite School, the Meredith Corp. and CBS 5 plan to make the fellowship an annual program. The call for applicants for next year’s fellowship will begin in the spring.

The Cronkite School is a nationally recognized program that focuses on professional journalism education at the undergraduate and master’s level. The Meredith Corp. is one of the nation’s leading media and marketing companies, with interests in television broadcasting, magazine and book publishing, integrated marketing and interactive media. The company owns 14 television stations that reach nearly 10 percent of television households across the country.