Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Established 1941 (as ASU English Department- Division of Journalism)
Type Public
Dean Christopher Callahan
Academic staff 25
Students +/- 1,300
Location Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Campus Arizona State University

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (often abbreviated to Cronkite School by its students and faculties), is one of the 24 independent schools at Arizona State University and named in honor of veteran broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite. The school, which is located at the downtown Phoenix campus, offers programs leading to a bachelor of arts in journalism and mass communication, master of mass communication, and in fall 2011, the school will launch its first journalism and mass communication doctoral program.



Stauffer Hall, the former home of the Cronkite School

The Cronkite School began as the Division of Journalism under the ASU's English Department in 1949, 18 years after ASU began to offer journalism courses to its students, in 1931[1]. The school began to expand in 1954, when radio and television journalism courses were made available[1]. The entire Division of Journalism was elevated to department by the University in 1957, and changed its name to Department of Mass Communication[1]. The school moved from its original location at Old Main to what is now the Academic Services building at ASU Tempe in 1969.

In 1974 the school received its national accreditation and moved into the Stauffer Hall building[1]. The school was later renamed Department of Journalism and Telecommunication and became a part of the new College of Public Programs in 1979[1]. Stauffer Hall would serve as the school's home until August 2008, when the school moved to its current location in Downtown Phoenix.

In 1981, the Cronkite School began to offer master's degrees to its students. A year later, the school established a student radio station, The Blaze, as a place for prospective students to mature their skills[1] (The State Press used to fulfill that role, but it became independent in the '70s). In 1984, the school was renamed Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication in honor of the veteran news reporter. At the same time, the Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism Excellence was established.

In 1989, a professional news program produced by the school's students began production, and later evolved into the well-known Cronkite NewsWatch TV news program[1].

In 2001, the school voted to change its name to Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication[1]. The school received independent school status in 2004. The school chose Christopher Callahan as its founding dean in 2005[1]. A year later, the school established the Cronkite News Service for advanced journalism students to distribute TV and print stories to various professional media[1].

In 2008, the school moved to ASU's Downtown Campus and into the brand new Cronkite Building[1]. The building has six stories, is 110 feet (34 m) tall, and has an area of 223,000 square feet (20,700 m2). The building, which also houses the future KAET studio, cost $71 million to build.[2]

In 2010, the school won an International Architecture Award.The awards were presented and exhibited at ‘The City and The World conference’ in Spain, from November 4–7, 2010.[3]

New Campus

The new building at the Downtown Campus

When the Cronkite School received independent school status in 2004, plans were made to transfer the school to a newly planned campus in Downtown Phoenix. A ceremony marking the start of construction was held in early 2007, with construction being completed in mid-2008. The school moved into its state-of-the-art facility in Downtown Phoenix in August 2008, and officially dedicated the new building, and celebrated its 25th anniversary, in November of that year[4]

The new six-story, 225,000 sqf, 110-foot tall, LEED Silver building has become an integral part of the fabric of ASU’s downtown campus. Delivered in a design-build, fast-track method, work began on design in October 2006 and the school opened its doors in August 2008, 22 months later. The new building was designed by HDR, Inc. and Steven Ehrlich Archits. Sundt Construction was responsible for construction[5]


Notable faculty are former CNN-anchor Aaron Brown, retired Washington Post-editor Leonard Downie Jr., noted American technology writer and former San Jose Mercury News-columnist Dan Gillmor and former editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Tim McGuire. Walter Cronkite was not a faculty member, but visited the campus a few times a year to interact with students and present the Cronkite Award.

The school has moved away from the traditional academic structure of hiring only tenured professors. In addition it hires veteran journalists like Downie, Brown and Gillmor to be professors of Practice and also draws practicing journalists from the Phoenix area as adjuncts who teach many of its courses.


NewsWatch is the full-service television station and nightly thirty-minute news program produced entirely by students at the Cronkite School and began in 1989. The program airs four nights a week on the local PBS affiliate KAET.

NewsWatch en Español is the Spanish-language edition of the program which airs Sunday mornings on the local Telefutura affiliate KFPH-CA - sister station of the local Univision affiliate.

When the school moved into its new downtown-facility, NewsWatch began broadcasting the nightly news program entirely in high definition and moved into a new studio on the top floor of the building - housing a news set and control room designed for high definition. A traditional three camera format is used on the at the anchor desk, weather center, one of the largest green screens - all of which back onto a working newsroom, assignment desk and outdoor terrace for live reports.

The program airs stories from the school's Cronkite News Service which is a broadcast wire service that provides its content to local print, online and broadcast news outlets across Arizona.


The Cronkite School houses the national headquarters of the News21 Initiative and the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism. It is also home to the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship.

The Cronkite School offers the following programs:

Undergraduate Program

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication (B.A.)

All undergraduate journalism specializations involve heavy integration of liberal arts studies including economics, foreign language, history, and science courses.

The first two semesters of a Cronkite student's academic career focus on general understanding of journalism practices, and principles, such as a history and principles of journalism course, a rigorous grammar for journalists course, and a demanding class on news reporting and writing.[6]

New Curriculum Course Checklist

Graduate Programs

Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)

In 2008, the school moved from its two-year traditional working master's program to a 1.5 year master's program and a mid-career master's program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Journalism and Mass Communication (Ph.D.)

The school launched a Ph.D. program in journalism and mass communication that will launch in August 2011.

Student Media

Cronkite Students have traditionally served as paramount members of each of Arizona State University's student media divisions, particularly State Press, The Downtown Devil, Sun Devil Television and KASC. Cronkite Students also typically participate and contributing to the Cronkite Zine, the NASA Project or other Student Organizations.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Timeline". Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Walter Cronkite School in Arizona wins International Architecture Award". World Interior Design Network. World Interior Design Network. 
  4. ^ "Dedication of New Cronkite Home Set". Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication - Undergraduate Courses

Coordinates: 33°27′13.7304″N 112°4′23.6604″W / 33.453814°N 112.073239°W / 33.453814; -112.073239 33° 27' 13.7304" -112° 4' 23.6604"

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