2021 Holidays

Celebrating 2021: A Milestone Year

Friday, Dec. 17, 2021


Greetings Sun Devil Family, 

2021 proved to be a milestone year for the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS. We celebrated the graduation of about 465 students and currently have more than 14,000 alums working diligently across the globe.

I joined the journalism school and public television station this summer and I feel fortunate to work with our tremendous faculty, staff, students and supporters each day. The Cronkite School and Arizona PBS celebrated a number of accomplishments this year, including the release of a groundbreaking documentary on youth suicide, launched a three-year strategic plan focused on growing our Arizona PBS audience and received dozens of awards for investigative projects, public relations campaigns and television station programming. 

In 2021, our leadership team laid the foundation for our future by hiring a dynamic Arizona PBS general manager, as well as a number of other leaders who are expected to help both entities make a global imprint and evolve to better serve the community.

To recap our collective successes, I invite you to review our most popular website and social media stories for Cronkite and Arizona PBS in 2021. See below. As we review and highlight our 2021 accomplishments, I want to offer tremendous gratitude to our faculty, staff, students, fellows, university partners and supporters. I hope you share my excitement and optimism for all that 2022 has to offer. 

Have a joyous and safe holiday!


Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr.
Dean and Professor
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University
Home of Arizona PBS 

Most Popular Stories of 2021

New dean, general manager set new direction for Cronkite School, Arizona PBS

The Cronkite School and Arizona PBS set the path for its future with the hiring of two accomplished leaders last spring. In May, the Cronkite School hired Battinto L. Batts Jr. to become the school’s new dean. Batts’ hiring followed the announcement of Adrienne Fairwell as the new general manager of Arizona PBS. Other notable hires included Juan Mundel as associate professor and director of Global Initiatives; and Jeffrey Timmermans, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

Cronkite, Arizona PBS win numerous student and professional awards

Cronkite students and Arizona PBS staffers won more than 200 awards in numerous contests, including the Rocky Mountain Emmy® Awards, Hearst Journalism Awards, dotCOMM Awards, Edward R. Murrow Student Awards and Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Cronkite students won top prizes in both student and professional contests, outperforming veteran journalists and public relations professionals.  

“Life Is…” documentary reaches one million viewers
Cronkite students produced “Life Is…,” a documentary about the disturbing rise of youth suicide in Arizona. The documentary, which aired in January in English and Spanish on all major commercial television stations in the state, as well as on Arizona PBS, reached one million people.

Arizona PBS launches new digital music show to highlight Arizona music scene
Arizona PBS launched a new digital music show “Playlist 48” on Nov. 5 to spotlight local Arizona artists and bands of all genres with connections to Arizona, the 48th state. The idea for the “Playlist 48” project was developed from market analysis data that found Arizona PBS viewers wanted more music content.

Al Roker chosen for prestigious Cronkite Award

Al Roker, the Emmy award-winning weatherman and popular anchor for NBC NEWS’ TODAY, was chosen as the recipient of the 38th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. Roker will be presented the award on March 1, 2022 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet received last year’s Cronkite Award in March 2021.

Yamiche Alcindor speaks to Cronkite graduates at Spring convocation

Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, served as the keynote speaker for the spring 2021 convocation, encouraging Cronkite graduates to build their careers based on what inspires them, be patient with themselves and advocate for change in their workplaces. 

Humphrey Fellowship Program welcomes largest ever cohort

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program welcomed 14 global journalists and communicators to the Cronkite School in August to study journalism, receive leadership training and develop professional affiliations with media organizations in Arizona and across the country. This is the largest fellowship cohort in Cronkite’s 12-year history of hosting the Humphrey Fellowship Program.