Cronkite dean shares vision for global expansion at open house

Friday, Oct. 29, 2021


The Cronkite School has already established satellite locations across the country, but Cronkite Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. wants the school to make a global impact, too.

Batts shared his vision for expanding the Cronkite School’s reach and influence during a discussion moderated by Vaness Ruiz, Cronkite’s director for diversity initiatives and community engagement, at an Open House on Oct. 28. The event was attended by dozens of students, faculty, staff and supporters. 

The dean covered a number of topics during the half-hour session, including the Cronkite School’s growth in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C, the school’s global initiatives, and how Cronkite can lead in solving some of journalism and society’s biggest challenges. 

Most of the ideas and initiatives Batts discussed are part of the school’s “Cronkite 2.0” plan, which is designed to expand Cronkite’s national and global footprint and allow the school to play a role in changing the journalism landscape.

“It’s about growth. It’s about spreading our mission. We want to heighten the presence of the Cronkite brand. We want to reach more audiences, we want more people to be exposed to Cronkite and what we’re about,” Batts said. 

Some of Batts’ top priorities includes expanding the school’s presence in Los Angeles at the historic Herald Examiner Building, the centerpiece of ASU’s California Center, as well as in Washington, D.C. The Cronkite School’s locations in these cities will play a huge role in advancing the school’s mission and brand while connecting with more diverse audiences. 

In addition, Batts wants to expand beyond the United States and provide an opportunity for students in other parts of the world. He described efforts to partner with ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management to place students in locations such as Moscow, Russia; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Nairobi, Kenya; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Geneva, Switzerland; and Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Cronkite School has already launched several initiatives with its media and academic partners in Mexico and has created a partnership with a journalism organization in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s about building connections around Cronkite, ASU and the community, and continuing to carry our flag and looking for additional partners,” he said. 

The dean also discussed the school’s relationship with Arizona PBS, saying the partnership will provide students with an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the industry while serving the community.

Ultimately, Batts wants the school to lead the way in addressing some of the most pressing needs in journalism, such as improving media literacy, increasing diversity and culture in media, and saving local news.

“How can we inspire and support these entrepreneurs who are coming into the industry and want to utilize journalism to build bridges in our communities?” he said. “Journalism is not dying. It is evolving. And I’m encouraged by this evolution of journalism.”

By Jamar Younger