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Reynolds Gives ASU $3.5M for Business Journalism Center

June 1, 2006

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation announced today a $3,517,895, three-year grant to Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to operate the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

The Center, created three years ago by the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, is a national program devoted to improving the quality of business journalism.

Nearly 4,000 journalists from 1,200 newsrooms nationwide have participated in the Center’s free daylong business journalism workshops, specialized journalism workshops and business journalism online seminars and tutorials. The programs are open to business editors and reporters and other journalists seeking to improve their business and financial news coverage.

The Center also operates BusinessJournalism.org, a comprehensive Web site designed specifically for journalists interested in business coverage.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provided initial funding to the American Press Institute in Reston, Va., in 2003 to create the Center after conducting national research that showed a strong need for improvement in U.S. business journalism.

“We’re very proud of the work that Andrew Leckey and his team at the Reynolds Center have carried out through the past three years, and the improvements in the quality of business journalism that have been realized because of their work,” said Fred W. Smith, the Foundation’s chairman. “We believe that the tremendous enthusiasm shown by the Center’s new hosts at Arizona State will help carry the Center to new levels of achievement.”

ASU President Michael Crow said the Reynolds Center will be a powerful addition to ASU and the new downtown Phoenix campus.

“We are honored the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has entrusted ASU with this important national journalism program,” Crow said. “The Reynolds Center is the latest example of our commitment to reach beyond the bounds of campus. We are looking forward to working with Chairman Smith and the rest of the Reynolds Foundation team in our joint efforts to improve business journalism across the country.”

The Reynolds Center will not only continue to offer free one-day workshops to journalists around the country, but also expand its programs. New features and program expansions will include:

  • Free week-long online seminars and one-hour self-directed tutorials will be expanded to include new topics specifically requested by business journalists.
  • BusinessJournalism.org will include daily blogging on key business journalism topics and add new features and tools.
  • An internship program will be created to place business journalism students from across the country at publications each summer. In addition, a scholarship program to finance the study of business journalism will begin in the second year of the grant.
  • A four-day seminar will be held annually to train prospective business journalism professors.
  • An applied research component will be added with “white papers” on important business journalism topics and various spot polls on key issues. A major national survey will be initiated in the second year of the grant.
  • Three new national awards will be created to celebrate outstanding business journalism.

“We’re delighted by the opportunity to not only continue and expand our proven programs through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, but also actively seek additional donors in building a powerful force for the improvement of business journalism,” said Andrew Leckey, director of the Reynolds Center since its inception. “ASU President Michael Crow and Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan are committed to this goal.”

Leckey, long-time syndicated investment columnist for The Chicago Tribune, former CNBC anchor, and author or editor of 10 financial books, will continue to head the staff. The Center will be housed on ASU’s Tempe campus until the summer of 2008, when it will move to the Cronkite School’s new journalism education complex in the heart of downtown Phoenix’s financial district.

Leckey, who was the first director of the Bloomberg Business Journalism Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and ran the business and economics journalism master’s program at Boston University, also will have a faculty appointment in the Cronkite School.

Callahan said the Reynolds Center, under Leckey’s leadership, has accomplished an “extraordinary amount in three short years in the education and training of business journalists nationwide.”

“We’re thrilled to expand the great work Andrew and the Center have done over the past three years and proud to enter into this partnership with the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation,” Callahan said. “The Reynolds Center will continue to make great strides in improving reporting on business and economic issues.”

The grant is the largest in the history of the Cronkite School.

The Center will open at ASU on July 1.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by Mr. Reynolds. It is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, named in honor of the longtime CBS news anchor in 1984, is a leading professional journalism school with nearly 2,000 undergraduate and master’s students.