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Arizona Republic, Cronkite School Launch Multimedia Reporting Project

November 7, 2006

The Arizona Republic and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are launching a multimedia reporting program that will prepare students for 21st century newsgathering while providing important breaking news content for the newspaper’s Web site, azcentral.com.

The Republic will assign an experienced staff journalist to the Cronkite School to direct the program as an editor-in-residence. The editor will oversee 15 students who will cover breaking news for azcentral.com, the Republic’s online site. The students will be paid and enrolled in a new three-credit multimedia reporting course as part of the program.

The collaboration to create an ongoing reporting program is believed to be the first of its kind in the country between a major news organization and a journalism school.

“The multimedia program is a ground-breaking collaboration that will benefit both the journalism school and our readers,” said Republic Vice President and Editor Ward Bushee. “The advantages are that ASU students will be paid to learn in working newsrooms alongside professional journalists, and azcentral.com will be further strengthened as the Valley’s destination for local news and information.”

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan said the students will get a full immersion experience in reporting for the Web, which will better prepare them for newsrooms of the future.

“They’ll be reporting on everything from police, fire and airport news to courts, traffic and weather – and they’ll do it in real time, for an online audience, using the latest technology,” Callahan said. “It will be an outstanding opportunity for some of our best and brightest students.”

Bushee said it was natural for the paper to partner with the Cronkite School for the multimedia project. The newspaper and the school have a longstanding relationship, with the newspaper providing internships for many of the school’s students and hiring many of its best graduates.

In addition, over the past two years the Republic and azcentral.com have published the work of two major Cronkite class projects – on the anniversary of the murder of former Republic reporter Don Bolles and on economic ties between Mexico and Arizona. Last December, Cronkite students also formed the backbone of a Web reporting team, staking out the airport and shopping centers to provide azcentral.com readers with real-time consumer information. The project won a Best of Gannett award for the newspaper.

The new multimedia reporting program will take that a step further, placing students in Republic bureaus in Mesa, Scottsdale and Glendale as well as at the newspaper’s downtown Phoenix office. Each student will work two full days a week gathering news in their areas and updating it frequently for the Web site.

“This program is just the latest example of the relationship between the Republic and the Cronkite School,” Callahan said. “The Republic’s commitment to journalism education at the Cronkite School is extraordinary and unmatched by any news organization in the country.”

Cronkite junior Codie Sanchez, one of the students selected for the new program, said she jumped at the chance to take the class because it will give her a chance to “see the inner workings of a newsroom and how journalists today gather and write the news … It will be amazing to see and be a part of the process instead of only reading about it in textbooks.”

For more information, contact Cronkite School Assistant Dean Kristin Gilger at 602.496.5555.