Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are traveling to the Republican and Democratic national conventions this month to cover important election issues.
Students are reporting from Cleveland and Philadelphia for Cronkite News, the student-staffed, professionally led news division of Arizona PBS. Cronkite News will have the largest presence of any Arizona news organization at the national conventions this year, with a total of 18 student reporters split between the two conventions.
Students will report and produce broadcast and digital stories on a range of topics for the Cronkite News newscast, airing on Arizona PBS at 4:30 p.m., and the Cronkite News website at cronkitenews.azpbs.org . Working under the direction of Cronkite School faculty members at the conventions, students will cover immigration, education, health care and tax reform, among other issues.
“We are looking for stories that matter to Arizona,” said Kevin Dale, Cronkite News executive editor. “We will be keeping in touch with the Arizona delegations at each convention, talking to Arizona elected officials in attendance and looking for issue stories that align with the state.”
Carnegie-Knight News21, a national multimedia investigative reporting initiative headquartered at the Cronkite School, also will send a student to each of the conventions to report on voting rights. Established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, News21 brings top journalism students from across the country to produce innovative and deeply reported multimedia projects for a national audience.
Cronkite News is expanding upon its coverage of the 2012 national conventions. In addition to the larger team of journalists attending this year, there also will be dedicated faculty working with the student reporters onsite as they develop their stories.
Coverage at the conventions will be led by former Washington Times political journalist Steve Crane, who directs the Cronkite News Washington Bureau, and Heather Lovett Dunn, the Cronkite News content director, who was previously content manager for 12 News, KPNX-TV in Phoenix. They will be joined by veteran borderlands journalist Alfredo Corchado, who co-directs the Cronkite News Borderlands Bureau.
Selena Makrides, a Cronkite School graduate student, has been meeting with the group of Arizona delegates that she will be tracking and checking in with throughout the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia for Cronkite News. “This is definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
According to Mark Lodato, Cronkite School assistant dean and Arizona PBS associate general manager, the convention reporting experiences offer students the rare opportunity to cover two of the nation’s largest political events. Lodato said the content produced by Cronkite News and News21 students will provide valuable information to voters in Arizona and across the country.
“We’re excited to be able to bring all of this fresh local content to our viewers and readers,” Lodato said. “This is content they won’t find anywhere else.”
Cronkite student Krandall Brantley is part the Cronkite News convention team that will produce multimedia stories directly from the GOP convention next week in Cleveland. Brantley said he is working on a variety of stories, including the possibility of a contested convention.
“I’m extremely excited,” Brantley said. “I haven’t heard this much buzz about a political convention in my lifetime. It’s amazing that a journalism program can have access to get us credentials to cover a national event of this magnitude. This will probably be an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life and I’m hoping it will position me well for the rest of my career.”