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Top Phoenix Journalists Join Cronkite to Expand TV Programs

June 11, 2006

Two leading Phoenix television journalists are joining the Arizona State University faculty to expand the award-winning TV newscast produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and create a new program to provide news packages to stations around the state.

Mark J. Lodato, an investigative reporter at KPHO-TV/CBS5 and former news director at the University of Maryland’s journalism school, will become news director for the Cronkite School and its newscast, ASU NewsWatch, in August.

Susan C. Green, managing editor at KNXV-TV/ABC15 and former executive producer at WABC-TV in New York, will be founding director of the Cronkite News Service in downtown Phoenix and executive producer of NewsWatch.

“The school and our students will benefit enormously from the journalistic and teaching talents of Mark and Sue,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “These are top-flight journalists and passionate, caring teachers who inspire young journalists. They truly will be a dynamic duo.”

Lodato, a 1989 University of Missouri graduate, started his broadcast journalism career at WINK-TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Myers, Fla., and then came to the Valley in 1994, where he served three years as a reporter at KNXV-TV. During that period he also taught at the Cronkite School as a member of the adjunct faculty.

He left Phoenix in 1997 to join WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., where he served as a reporter and anchor.

Three years later, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. At Maryland, Lodato designed, implemented and directed a new daily student television news operation with bureaus in D.C. and the state capital of Annapolis.

Under Lodato’s leadership, that show, which reached 500,000 households in suburban Washington and the city of Baltimore, was named the best college-produced daily newscast in the nation by the Society of Professional Journalists in its first two years.

“What Mark accomplished at Maryland – taking a weekly newscast and turning it nearly overnight into the best daily college show in the nation – was nothing short of remarkable,” said Callahan, who as associate dean at Maryland helped recruit Lodato for that position. “There is simply no one better prepared for taking our award-winning weekly show and making that transition into a premier daily newscast.”

Lodato has been back in Phoenix since 2003 as an investigative reporter at KPHO-TV.

Green, a 1985 graduate of the Cronkite School, started her career at KPNX-TV in Phoenix as a graphic artist, and moved up to associate producer and later producer before being named producer at KTTV-TV in Los Angeles in 1990.

She returned to Phoenix in 1992 as a producer, and later executive producer, at KPNX-TV. In 1996, she was named executive producer at WUSA-TV in Washington, and then returned to Phoenix as KPNX-TV’s executive producer.

In 2000, she became executive producer at WABC-TV in New York before returning again to the Valley as managing editor at KNXV-TV. As managing editor, Green is responsible for story planning, assigning crews and managing the news flow throughout the day. She also coordinates the station’s internship program.

“Sue has been an important leader in the Valley’s broadcast news industry for the better part of two decades,” Callahan said. “She also has been a regular guest speaker at the Cronkite School, and one of our finest alumni. Sue has the ability to develop young journalism talent with a caring, but firm, hand. She will be a tremendous asset to our school and our students.”

Green will be the first director of the Cronkite News Service, a program that will supply top-quality, student-produced TV news packages to stations across Arizona. She also will serve as executive producer of the ASU NewsWatch newscast.

"I have always been proud of my roots at ASU, and I am now excited to be part of this unique and challenging expansion project,” Green said. “For the past 20 years I have had the opportunity to hone my skills in newsrooms across the country, and I am thrilled to now be able to share my knowledge with students every day.”

“I look forward to being part of the Cronkite School’s pursuit to become the best journalism school in the country," she said.

Lodato takes over for Mike Wong, who led ASU NewsWatch to national prominence during his five years as news director. Under Wong’s leadership, the show was again named best college-produced weekly newscast in the nation this year by the Society of Professional Journalists. And Cronkite students under Wong’s tutelage regularly finished in the top five nationally in the Hearst intercollegiate journalism awards program, including last year’s first-place finish.

Wong will start July 1 as the Cronkite School’s first full-time director of career services.

“Mike will be doing formally what he has done informally for years – matching the right students with the right professional internships and job experiences,” Callahan said. “We’re indebted to Mike for the extraordinary broadcast news program he helped build, and now look forward to having his work benefit all Cronkite students for years to come.”

Lodato said he was “looking forward to building upon what is already a very successful student news operation. It’s an exciting time to be joining the Cronkite School.”

Lodato and Green will be working closely with Cronkite School engineers Jim Dove and Jim Rush and a new faculty member who will focus on the show’s production.