Cronkite News - Phoenix

Cronkite News – Phoenix is a daily news operation in which students report and produce important stories for Arizona audiences on the web, on the air and on social channels.

Guided by professional editors for Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS, students get a full newsroom experience – from generating stories and reporting in the field to posting and producing stories across platforms, often on a tight deadline.

Students develop a wide range of skills – reporting and source development, writing for digital and broadcast, on-air delivery, shooting and editing photos and video, creating graphics and audio stories, and using a wide range of social media tools, including Facebook Live and Instagram, to reach and engage with audiences.

In fact, students are expected to experiment with new tools and new ways to tell stories, engage as journalists on social media platforms, and understand and use analytics.

Students also develop expertise in key topic areas, such as sustainability, politics, social justice, education and business and the economy. They cover public policy, the state Legislature, the governor’s office and stories of interest to a statewide audience – all while meeting the expectations of a professional news organization.

Students with an interest in broadcast careers may serve as anchors, on-air reporters or producers for the Cronkite News half-hour newscast, which airs weekdays at 5 p.m. during the academic year on Arizona PBS. The newscast reaches 1.9 million homes across the state and airs on the nation’s 12th largest media market, giving students remarkable visibility. In addition, individual packages are fed to network affiliates throughout the state and published on the Cronkite News website and on YouTube, where archives are available.

Other students focus on digital content, which can include reporting, web video, photography, audio storytelling, social media, analytics and web production. Their stories are shared with media organizations throughout the state, region and across the nation, many of whom regularly publish student work.

Each year, Cronkite News garners top awards in student and professional journalism competitions. The newscast has been recognized by the Emmy Foundation, the Broadcast Education Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hearst Journalism Awards, among others. Digital content has earned honors in national contests administered by the Online News Association, Investigative Reporters & Editors and Best of the West, among many others.

Students emerge with skills that put them in high demand for today’s rapidly changing, cross-platform newsrooms. Students go on to jobs at local television and radio stations, network and cable television, and print and digital news organizations of all sizes. They work as reporters and editors, web and broadcast producers and audience engagement and social media specialists.

Cronkite News – Phoenix is headed by Christina Leonard, a former reporter and editor at The Arizona Republic. She leads a team of a dozen editors, all with extensive professional experience, who work closely with students every day.

Cronkite News – Phoenix benefits from the support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for coverage of business and economics issues, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for coverage of health issues, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for sustainability and environmental coverage.


Undergraduate digital reporters: JMC 305, and JMC 301 or JMC 315

Graduate digital reporters: MCO 502

Undergraduate broadcast reporters: JMC 305, and JMC 330

Graduate broadcast reporters: MCO 502, and MCO 531

Undergraduate digital producers: JMC 305, and JMC 301 or JMC 315 (JMC 460 preferred)

Graduate digital producers: MCO 502

Undergraduate social media producers: JMC 305, and MCO 307, and JMC 301 or JMC 315

Graduate social media producers: MCO 502 (MCO 561 preferred)

Undergraduate photographer/web video producers: JMC 305, and JMC 301 or JMC 315 (JMC 351 preferred)

Graduate photographer/web video producers: MCO 502

Undergraduate newscast producers: JMC 305, and JMC 320

Graduate newscast producers: MCO 502, and MCO 521


Christina Leonard

Christina Leonard

Executive Editor, Cronkite News

Sadie Babits

Sadie Babits

Sustainability Director, Cronkite News

Christy Bricks

Christy Bricks

Executive Producer, Cronkite News

Heather Dunn

Heather Dunn

Content Director, Cronkite News

Venita James

Venita James

Professor of Practice

Lori Todd

Lori Todd

Digital Director, Cronkite News