The Stanton Foundation has awarded Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication a $150,000 grant to research the evolving concept of journalistic objectivity in newsrooms.
Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School and former executive editor of The Washington Post, and Andrew Heyward, a nationally known journalist, award-winning broadcast news producer and former president of CBS News will co-direct the project. It will examine how the concept of objectivity has evolved and how to reconcile the core principles of fact-based journalism with the values of younger journalists and modern newsrooms. This will include the development of a research paper that will serve as a resource for print, digital and broadcast news organizations to train journalists, along with the creation of a series of workshops tailored to support individual news organizations.
The project will be administered through the school’s new professional education and skills training initiative, CronkitePro, established to address the training needs of journalism and communications professionals, or their companies and eventually deliver a suite of offerings for non-degree seekers. Sree Sreenivasan, an internationally acclaimed journalist, digital media executive and educator, will join ASU as the managing director of CronkitePro.
“We look forward to working with journalists and news organizations to gain insight on the best practices across print, digital and broadcast, and integrating the traditional principles of journalism with the culture of today’s newsrooms,” said Cronkite School Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. “This is an exciting opportunity for our school and the team of CronkitePro. We are extremely grateful to the Stanton Foundation for the confidence they have shown in us.”
The first component of the project will involve developing a white paper that combines historical analysis with new insights from news practitioners and thought leaders, representing a broad spectrum of views about how to set a modern standard for news reporting. It will also include a perspective on public opinion about journalistic credibility and values.
The Cronkite School plans to distribute the paper to journalism schools, news organizations and journalism associations, and make it available as a resource on the Cronkite School website.
Once the white paper is complete, the Cronkite School will create a series of workshops that will consist of core materials gained from the initial research along with a participating news outlet’s own work to create relevance for the journalists involved. The Cronkite School will launch a pilot workshop in Phoenix and will look to expand to other cities across the country with “test” workshops, which could be virtual or in-person.
About the Cronkite School
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier professional journalism programs and has received international acclaim for its innovative use of the “teaching hospital” model. Rooted in the time-honored values that characterize its namesake — accuracy, responsibility, objectivity, integrity — the school fosters journalistic excellence and ethics in both the classroom and in its 13 professional programs that fully immerse students in the practice of journalism and related fields. Arizona PBS, one of the nation’s largest public television stations, is part of Cronkite, making it the largest media outlet operated by a journalism school in the world. Learn more at cronkite.asu.edu.
About the Stanton Foundation
The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications and one of the television industry’s founding fathers. Dr. Stanton served as president of CBS for over 30 years. He created the first televised presidential debate, between Kennedy and Nixon, which is widely viewed as having had a major impact on the outcome of the election.
The Foundation supports areas in which Frank Stanton wished to continue his philanthropy beyond his lifetime. Those areas include protection of First Amendment rights and creating a more informed citizenry.