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Arizona PBS Moves to Cronkite School, Becomes ‘Teaching Hospital’ and Innovation Hub
Arizona PBS, the 53-year-old public television station based at Arizona State University with more than 1 million viewers, will become part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, continuing to provide quality PBS programming while serving as a national hub for news innovation and reinvention, the university announced Thursday.
Eight, which includes three TV channels and azpbs.org, will be the largest media organization operated by a journalism school in the world when the move becomes official next Tuesday. The station had been part of ASU’s Office of Public Affairs.
“Eight has served Arizonans for more than 50 years, providing important national and regional content in public affairs, education, the arts, science and culture across our state,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “That critical mission will continue and we will redouble our efforts to make Arizona PBS the best public television enterprise in the nation featuring all of the outstanding PBS programming now available on Eight.”
Under Cronkite, Arizona PBS also will serve as a journalistic “teaching hospital,” tapping into the talents of advanced students in journalism and other disciplines who work under the guidance of top professionals from the ASU faculty and Eight staff to provide rich, new and innovative broadcast and digital content.
A leading journalism school joining forces with one of the nation’s largest PBS stations at a university known globally for its leadership in innovation is a powerful and potentially game-changing combination,” the ASU president said. “We will be able to serve Arizonans on new levels while providing a national testing ground for new approaches to digital storytelling, audience engagement and revenue models to help serve a news industry that needs to rapidly adapt in the fast-changing digital world.”
Since ASU made the school a free-standing college in 2005, Cronkite has been at the vanguard of a movement in journalism education to create highly immersive, professional programs in which students create journalism products under the guidance of top professionals recruited onto the faculty from some of the nation’s leading newsrooms. Harvard University documented Cronkite’s leadership role earlier this month in Nieman Reports.
Like a teaching hospital in medical education, these immersive professional programs provide intensive learning environments for students, important services to the community and the ability to experiment and innovate. In this case, the community service is providing critically needed, in-depth journalistic content to readers and viewers.
“We have called this a ‘teaching hospital’ approach to journalism education, but until now, we haven’t had the hospital,” said Cronkite Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan. “Now we do – a multiplatform media organization in one of the nation’s largest media markets.”
Cronkite leaders will spend the next few months designing the new enterprise, starting with combining the school’s immersive professional programs with Arizona PBS.
An expanded version of the school’s TV newscast, Cronkite NewsWatch, which covers public policy news around the state, will give Arizona PBS one of the nation’s only daily local PBS newscasts. A new study by the Radio Television DigitalNews Association found that only 16 of the nation’s 170 PBS stations have some kind of daily local public affairs programming. And most of those are not newscasts but public affairs interview shows, such as Eight’s award-winning “Arizona Horizon.”
Some of the other established Cronkite professional programs that will become part of Arizona PBS include multiplatform daily news bureaus in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles, which provide news coverage to professional media outlets across the region; an innovation lab that creates new digital media products for clients; the community engagement Public Insight Network Bureau that serves news organizations nationally; and the Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative multimedia initiative whose publishing partners include The Washington Post and NBCnews.com.
Cronkite plans to add new immersion programs in business reporting and sports within the next six months and will look to other disciplines across the university to create other professional programs within Arizona PBS.
“As a veteran newsman now on the Cronkite faculty who has been immersed in the reconstruction of American journalism, I could not be more excited,” said Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post who helps lead the News21 program. “This is a very important development, not just for journalism education and the development of outstanding journalists for tomorrow, but also for the transformation of the news media in the digital age.
“The future of news depends on the kind of ‘teaching hospital’ innovation and training that the creative combination of the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS will make possible,” Downie said. “At the same time, it promises to provide residents of the Phoenix area and much of the rest of Arizona with significant public service journalism in a university-based non-profit model that could serve as a blueprint for universities and public broadcasting stations everywhere.”
ASU also hopes other media organizations will bring their ideas to Cronkite to experiment on the Arizona PBS platforms.
“There remains a tremendous need for reinvention and disruptive innovation in today’s news industry,” Callahan said. “Our Arizona PBS initiative can provide a place where commercial news operations can try out their ideas.”
Kelly McCullough, a Cronkite alumnus and general manager of Arizona PBS, said histeam is excited about Eight becoming a more integrated part of the university while continuing to serve Arizonans at the highest levels.
“We will continue to proudly bring Arizonans all of the quality programming they want and deserve,” McCullough said. “And now, as part of the Cronkite School, we will be able to develop new local content to complement our current signature PBS programs — everything from ‘Arizona Horizon’ and ‘Horizonte’ to ‘PBS NewsHour,’ ‘NOVA’ and ‘Downton Abbey.’”
Arizona PBS reaches nearly 1.9 million households and 4.8 million people across 80 percent of the state. Located in the 12th largest media market in the U.S., it has more than 1 million weekly viewers and the fourth-highest prime-time viewership per capita among the nation’s major market PBS stations. Eight also has the second-largest viewership of the 57 university-operated PBS stations.
Photo Courtesy of Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University is building a new Arizona Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix on the block between Polk and Taylor and First and Second Streets.
With Phoenix’s City Council approving $12 million from the Community Reinvestment Fund to help finance ASU’s project, last December Mayor Greg Stanton joined ASU President Michael M. Crow to announce the Center’s intended 260,000-square-foot layout.
Crow and Stanton described a $129 million, six-story complex with two levels of underground parking, reserving 25% of the city block for the option of future development. Facilities will include not only the ASU College of Law but also a public law library and civic outreach center, a bookstore, a café, a “Great Hall,” and offices for the ASU Alumni Law Group, a non-profit, privately financed teaching law firm.
Members of the downtown Phoenix community expressed concern over seven proposed variances. In response, ASU organized public forums with participants from the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, the Thunderdome Neighborhood Association for NonAuto Mobility, and the Roosevelt Action Alliance. One meeting brought together Downtown Voices Coalition with representatives from the city, ASU, and the two design firms involved with this project (New York’s Ennead Architects and Phoenix’s Jones Studio). Discussion covered the project’s compatibility with the foot- and bike-friendly improvements made to First Street last October, which included tree plantings, parklets, and revised parking.
“First Street is developed as a pedestrian corridor,” maintained the Center’s zoning narrative, “accommodating pocket parks/pedestrian plazas/places of respite at the north and south ends of the site.”
While two of the variances reduced frontage on Taylor, First Street, and Polk, allowing more room to build, the narrative suggested that the shaded public areas on Polk and the mid-block cut-through will actually encourage pedestrian activity.
“All of these [variances] are consistent with a good urban building that invites the community and the campus onto the site, and with good planning by the City for greater density on the site over time,” says ASU Senior Vice President and University Planner Richard Stanley.
“Within the context of the campus and the context of the downtown,” Stanley continues, “it fulfills the intent and spirit…for that…district in terms of its ‘urban-ness,’ its walkability, and its general respect for downtown ambiance.”
Regarding foot-traffic concerns, “The pedestrian walkway along First Street is actually enhanced as a result of the building being there,” he says. “The landscaping and the trees that are in place along the edge of the parking lot now will be maintained, and then in addition to that we would build a berm on the building side of the sidewalk and put some benches in…and have some benches that would be integral into the berm itself.”
“The façade that will be along First Street starting from the south is an extremely open space…something which I think is visually quite active as you walk along the street,” Stanley elaborates. “And then at the northern corner of the building, on Taylor Street, there’s a seating area…and what some people have referred to as sort of a Speaker’s Corner.”
He concludes, “So I think there’s a lot of reasons why someone might choose…an equal choice of walking down First Street to get to Taylor or walking through the building.”
While the community appealed the variances through the standard process, the original approval of the design was ultimately upheld.
Initial discussion within ASU’s administration began around 2009, and the construction schedule spans two years. “I think it’s been a very good process,” he says, “a continuation of the partnership with the city…. It’s a big project both financially and programmatically for us, and so we needed to be very careful that we were planning it properly and that we had the financial wherewithal to be able to handle it.”
Stanley says that ASU’s endeavor may break ground as early as June, and the Center is scheduled to open for the fall term of 2016. “We’re just getting to the point of having the finalized bid prices in on the project,” he explains, “and that’s the point in the standard process at the universities that we take the project to the Board of Regents…we go back to them to have the final approval to proceed with the actual spending of the money.” Stanley adds, “We won’t be bringing them any surprises.”
“I will certainly be following up with…the groups that represent downtown neighborhoods,” said Stanley. “I’ll offer up regular progress reports on the building…. If there’s any dramatic change in the nature of the plans as we go along…we’d come back and talk to them about that.”
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
“What we need next is focus and execution.”
We sat down for coffee recently with Ed Zito, President of Alliance Bank, a locally-owned, Arizona-based bank headquartered in CityScape. A long-time downtown advocate, Zito has been involved in many of the economic development changes over the last thirty years in Phoenix and is a member of the board of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
He’s been in Phoenix since 1981, when he started his involvement in downtown through his position on the Corporate Contributions Committee of First Interstate Bank. “Sitting on that committee opened my eyes to the array of development challenges we had at the time, and the alignment we needed to meet those challenges,” said Zito.
“The alignment began when the business community took hold and took leadership on the importance of revitalizing downtown,” he continued. “But the business leadership couldn’t do it alone. They needed to align with the public sector, the philanthropic sector and the academic sector to create not just a vision, but a collaborative environment to take Phoenix to the next level, or two or three.”
“…the business leadership couldn’t do it alone. They needed to align with the public sector, the philanthropic sector and the academic sector to create not just a vision, but a collaborative environment to take Phoenix to the next level, or two or three.”
From Zito’s perspective, a specific development that has had tremendous impact on downtown was the coalescing around bioscience and life science that led to the creation of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (better known as TGen). Zito served on Governor Napolitano’s Committee for Innovation and Technology, which grew an ecosystem around TGen and the life and biosciences, and he sees this development as a key step in revitalizing downtown. Coincidentally, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce just selected TGen to receive a 2014 Economic Driver Impact Award.
He also points to the creation of the sports venues; the collaboration to overhaul the Phoenix Convention Center (“a beacon of the public and private sectors working together”); and CityScape (which represents “downtown coming into its own and flourishing”). These key developments build off the synergy of others. “The light rail, the growth of Local First, the impact of the arts community and thriving daily growth in downtown…it’s all part of the central nervous system.”
Alliance Bank was a key player in making CityScape a reality. “Alliance is only 11 years old,” said Zito, “but we made the $40 million loan for this entire block in the middle of the Great Recession. We closed that loan for RED Development on December 28, 2009…really the trough of the recession.”
For Zito, the key to long term vitality in downtown is the ongoing nurturing of the public/private partnerships that have brought us this far. Alliance is the largest, locally-owned bank in Arizona and he believes that “it’s in our DNA to be part and parcel of economic development. We understand that growing the pie is in everyone’s interest.”
He’s very proud of the fact that Alliance Bank is locally owned. “We believe in putting our money where our mouth is,” added Zito. “It resonates from our CEO, Robert Sarver, all the way down. We have an ‘investing forward’ mentality in our organization that is very powerful. One of the things we’re focused on is passing on that DNA deeper into the organization and the next generation of leaders.”
“We have a great mix of talent on the (DPI) board. What we need next is focus and execution.”
When asked what he believes are the most significant lessons we’ve learned in downtown over the last 20 years, he said, “Lesson one is think big, leadership counts, and the alignment that comes from that can be really powerful.”
The last twenty years or so have seen tremendous progress in the development of this alignment among all of the key stakeholders, but, for Zito the biggest challenge ahead is capital needs. “We continue to be blessed with great leadership in all of the sectors (public, private, philanthropic, academic). It’s very encouraging, because these are the four pillars that support continued growth and development, but it is critical that we meet the capital requirements to do the next generation of bold and audacious things.”
Zito sees the creation of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. as inspirational. “DPI gives us the ability to really take it to the next level. We have a great mix of talent on the board. What we need next is focus and execution. We need to agree on our needs in downtown. For example, if we agree that it’s more residential development, then let’s focus on that and execute it really, really well. Make the process diverse, accessible, inclusive and user-friendly. If we do it well, the leverage you get out of it is phenomenal.”
“We’ve spent too long as a real estate-centric economic story, and now we’re much more multi-faceted and diverse.”
What Zito brings to the DPI board is history and perspective, business acumen, and financial reality. “I’m a collaborator,” he said. “I can convene, but I’d rather coalesce with other leadership. The vision, time and talent of other board members, such as Mike Ebert and Don Brandt is unquestioned, but you mix that with a Kimber Lanning of Local First, add in the arts community, and the public sector piece with the Mayor and Ed Zuercher, the City Manager, and it becomes electric.”
Zito sees DPI as the next phase of the alignment and collaboration that downtown needs. “From the get go,” he says, “DPI has made a clear statement of inclusion and has been very effective at getting everyone to the table to take the city to the next level. There’s a stronger pulse and heart beat. We’ve spent too long as a real estate-centric economic story, and now we’re much more multi-faceted and diverse.”
In his free time, Zito enjoys visiting the Phoenix Art Museum and he follows a particular sports team (hint, hint…the Suns). He feels that there is a certain energy and spirit of hope that is created with the public when their sports teams are doing well. As he puts it, “a lot of hope and inspiration is part of what creates a successful urban environment. Our best days lie ahead.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
ASU Art Museum receives $2.5 million challenge grant from Windgate to support international artist residency
For each dollar donated in the next three years to the ASU Art Museum and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Windgate Charitable Foundation will provide a dollar-for-dollar match, with the matched portion going to support the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program at Combine Studios.
The impact of each gift will in effect be doubled by this grant and will assist the ASU Art Museum in its mission to be a center for the exchange of new ideas, perspectives and experiences among artists, students and the public, as well as fulfill the mission of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to educate the designers, artists, architects, performers and creative scholars who are essential to developing solutions to current and future issues facing society.
The ASU Art Museum’s relationship with the Windgate Charitable Foundation has been strong for well over 15 years prior to this current gift, with the foundation providing financial support for several museum exhibitions, ranging from Turned Wood Now: Redefining the Lathe-Turned Object IV (1997) to the recent Wayne Higby: Infinite Place (2013) and Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft (2013). Also in 2013, support from the Windgate made possible the museum’s symposium FlashBackForward: Rethinking Craft, which explored critical issues facing the field of contemporary craft locally, nationally and internationally.
Windgate has also supported the museum in providing two paid curatorial internships each year since January 2005. Art and art history graduate and undergraduate students in the ASU Herberger Institute School of Art are eligible for the annual internships. These interns are integrated into departments across the museum, working hands-on alongside the museum’s staff. After their graduation, many have continued on to become staff members at the ASU Art Museum and at other museums across the country.
“Due in great part to the generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the ASU Art Museum has become an international force in contemporary craft and a recognized supporter of artists accomplishing their artistic vision through residencies, exhibitions, commissions and acquisitions,” says Gordon Knox, the ASU Art Museum’s director.
Established Feb. 14, 2011, the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program brings accomplished professional artists from around the world to develop new work in partnership with the intellectual resources of Arizona State University and the diverse communities within Arizona. Through the program, artists develop work in collaboration with scientists, technologists, social agencies and community organizations that investigate the pressing issues of our time.
Thanks to the efforts of Jill Johnson (Program Manager) and Doctor Diane Facinelli, students who participate in the course are steeped like tea bags in everything “downtown Phoenix” through a combination of tours and presentations by local historians, business people, city officials, arts community representatives, local community development wizards and urban sustainability advocates.
The goal is to break down any myths and misapprehensions young people who are new to downtown may have about their surroundings, and to give them access to the people on the ground who are transforming our urban core.
The course is divided into six areas, including Downtown Phoenix History; Entrepreneurship & Local Business; Governance, Politics and Activism; Places, Spaces and Adaptive Re-Use; Promoting Arts & Culture; and Sustainable and Vital Living.
Local experts in each area are brought in to meet with students and share their insights about how and why they do what they do and to show the impact they’re having. Students are not only encouraged to get involved, they are introduced to the very people and organizations that can get them started bringing their own passions and skills to bear on making the urban core vibrant.
“Incoming freshmen are sometimes disappointed to find themselves in downtown Phoenix versus the ASU campus in Tempe,” says Jill Johnson, the “connector” who makes the class viable and relevant. “We use ‘Community Encounters’ to dispel their fears, to show them what is happening right outside their student bubble, and to educate them about the wealth of opportunities they have available to them in downtown.”
The value of growing this connection between young ASU students and the downtown community is in reaching a potential new generation of residents who will want to live, work and play in downtown and create sustained vibrancy on our streets.
Jim McPherson, co-author with J. Seth Anderson and Suad Mahmuljin of Downtown Phoenix History, opens the course by sharing the historic context of the city’s evolution. “Students read our book before class,” said McPherson, “and then we take them on a combination bus and walking tour that enables them to see some of the areas featured in the book. We show them how historic places are contributing to the contemporary landscape of the city.”
“The purpose of the class is to provide students with variety of entry points for them to become active, engaged urban citizens,” said Johnson. “The students benefit from being exposed to the rich variety of experiences available to them in downtown, and the community benefits from the talent and energy the students can bring to making the best downtown possible. It’s as they say, a ‘win-win’ situation.”
Find out what this years’ students learned and how the class has impacted their perceptions of downtown at ENCOUNTER THIS! Community Encounters Showcase. At this free public event, groups of students who have worked together will show the community what they’ve learned and share how it has changed their perspective.
If You Go
When: Thursday, December 5, 7:00 pm
Where: A.E. England Building, Civic Space Park
Cost: FREE to public, but reservations are appreciated. Reserve your space now.
Contact: Jill.Johnson@asu.edu; 602-496-0557.