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KAET Airs Student Newscast

December 20, 2008

For the first time, Cronkite NewsWatch, the award-winning student newscast produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, is airing on Eight/KAET, Arizona’s public television station.

The 30-minute newscast has a prime-time slot on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the school year. It can be seen both on KAET digital (Cox Cable Channel 88) and over the air on digital channel 8.3 at 9 p.m. from early February until daylight savings time starts in March, when it moves to 8 p.m.

“This is big step forward for Cronkite NewsWatch,” said News Director Mark Lodato. “It gives us a true broadcast (over-the-air) presence and expands our reach across Arizona.”

It is extremely rare for student productions to air in a major media market such as Phoenix, which is the nation’s 12th largest television market, said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. Eight, which has been operated by ASU since 1961, reaches more than 80 percent of Arizonans. It is among the most-viewed public TV stations per capita in the nation with 1.3 million viewers each week.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the great support of the entire Eight team,” Callahan said. “Now thousands of new homes will have access to the strong content Cronkite students produce each week.”

The newscast will continue to air live on ASUtv, Cox Cable 116, at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Plans are under way to expand the newscast to four nights a week this spring with the addition of a Friday broadcast, Lodato said. The spring semester’s programs begin airing in February.

Cronkite NewsWatch, under the direction of Lodato, sends student journalists across the Southwest to find compelling stories that impact the lives of Arizonans. The program, which began in 1975, has been widely recognized as one of the top student newscasts in the country. Cronkite NewsWatch students were named the Best Collegiate News Team in America by the Broadcast Education Association last year and won nearly two dozen awards in the regional Society of Professional Journalists awards program. In addition, Cronkite NewsWatch students have contributed to a string of top placements nationally in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

Many Cronkite NewsWatch pieces also are fed to network affiliates throughout the state via the Cronkite News Service and have appeared on media outlets including ABC News, MSNBC, ABC15 in Phoenix and the washingtonpost.com.