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New Visiting Professors Will Teach Investigative Reporting, Visual Journalism Classes

December 21, 2020

Juan Arredondo and Fernando Diaz

By Lisa Diethelm

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will welcome two visiting professors next month: Fernando Diaz, a veteran investigative journalist, and Juan Arredondo, the school's first visiting professor in visual journalism.

Diaz, a Chicago-based investigative editor, joins the Cronkite School with more than 10 years of experience. He will teach “Techniques in Investigative Reporting” to help prepare students for their work at the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism next summer. The position is funded by the Inasmuch Foundation.

Diaz will teach various investigative skills, including how to write rapid and longer form stories, how to file successful public records requests and work toward getting students published at news organizations like the Arizona Republic.

“I would like to bring a sort of practical approach to investigative reporting. I'm hoping that I can get students to think about how to identify and execute topical investigations,” he said.

Diaz holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and was most recently the editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter. He has also worked at The San Francisco Chronicle, and Hoy, a Spanish-language newspaper. He has also led award-winning coverage at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

In 2016, he was honored at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast award category and the New Approaches: Current News Coverage category for “The Dead Unknown.” He also received regional Edward R. Murrow awards for Small Online News Organization, Video Continuing Coverage and Video News Documentary and Video News Series.

Diaz says he will bring both his newsroom experience and his passion for learning to the classroom.

“I am a student, and we don't ever stop learning. The other professors are living legends, and just giants in the field. So being able to partner with them, being able to learn from them, being able to share students with them, I think it's going to be fantastic,” he said.

Arredondo is a veteran photojournalist whose visual and multimedia experience ranges from social issues, such as migration, conflicts and politics, to sports photography, including a 2018 World Press Photo award-winning story on the reintegration of former guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia through soccer. Arredondo’s work has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Getty Images, Vanity Fair and ESPN Magazine.

In addition to his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, Arredondo holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and German literature from Rutgers University and a master’s in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2019, Arredondo worked on the GroundTruth Project and studied as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, focusing on the impact of photography in post-conflict societies. In 2020, Arredondo was honored with the Overseas Press Club Scholar Award.

Arredondo’s appointment at Cronkite is funded through a gift from the Howard Buffett Foundation. From January through July, Arredondo will teach an advanced photojournalism course, work with students in Cronkite News, and work with students in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program.

Arredondo says he is excited about meeting, teaching and mentoring his new students. In addition to his teaching position, he will continue working on multiple projects, including a story based in Chicago and a documentary on the border in Arizona.

Arredondo said he hopes to inspire students to get excited about meeting new people and exploring different avenues of storytelling, such as photography and audio.

“I'm very excited about this – to teach and to be energized by students. I think that's the best part. I love academia, I love studying, and I think I just want to be amazed by what the students can come up with,” he said. “I just want to be a resource to them, too, for whatever they need or whatever knowledge I can share to make their stories better.”

Arredondo’s freelance work includes a 2,000-word article on the killings of leaders in Colombia’s peace movement for The Atlantic, and a feature documentary “The Prosecutors,” about the work of three prosecutors on war crimes in Congo, Bosnia, and Colombia. Most recently, he covered the pandemic in New York City and the economic effects on the immigrant community for The New York Times.

Arredondo said that one of his goals for the spring is to emphasize that students can find unique ways to tell their stories.

“I think the visual part is also a very important component for our society today, so I'm hoping I can bring that perspective to students and make them aware that there's endless possibilities with other formats,” he said. “So, I think it is judging what would work best for whatever story you're working on and knowing that there's a set of tools in your box.”

Cronkite Interim Dean Kristin Gilger said the school is excited to welcome Diaz and Arredondo.

“These two professionals have a lot to offer students in areas that are very important to us – investigative reporting and visual storytelling,” she said. “We’re grateful to the Inasmuch Foundation and the Howard Buffett Foundation for making these visiting professorships possible.”