ASU’s Cronkite School gets investigative journalism grant


TED: GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON". I'M TED SIMONS. THE BALLOT INITIATIVE TO RAISE INCOME TAXES ON THE WEALTHY TO HELP SUPPORT EDUCATION IS STAYING ON THE BALLOT, AT LEAST FOR NOW. THAT'S ACCORDING TO A MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE WHO TODAY RULED AGAINST EFFORTS BY THE STATE'S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY TO BLOCK THE INITIATIVE. THE CHAMBER ARGUED THAT THE INITIATIVE DIDN'T COMPLY WITH THE NEW STATE LAW REGARDING STRICT COMPLIANCE REGARDING WORDING ON PETITIONS AND THE PETITION GATHERING PROCESS BUT THE JUDGE RULED THE LAW ITSELF WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND THE PREVIOUS LEVEL OF SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WAS MET IN THIS CASE, THAT WAS GOOD ENOUGH. THAT LIKELY WILL NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE CHAMBER WHICH PLANS TO APPEAL.

TED: ASU'S WALTER CRONKITE SCHOOL OF JOURNAL AND MASS COMMUNICATION HAS RECEIVED A $3 MILLION GRANT FROM THE SCRIPPS HOWARD FOUNDATION TO START AN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM CENTER. THE GOAL IS TO TRAIN A NEXT GENERATION OF REPORTERS THROUGH HANDS ON INVESTIGATIVE PROJECTS. WE LEARN MORE FROM THE DEAN OF THE CRONKITE SCHOOL CHRIS CALLAHAN. DEAN GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

DEAN CALLAHAN: TED, THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON.

TED: THIS IS INTERESTING, $3 MILLION NOW. THIS IS THE LARGEST SINGLE INVESTMENT FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM EVER AT A UNIVERSITY LEVEL?

DEAN CALLAHAN: AT A UNIVERSITY LEVEL, EXACTLY RIGHT.

TED: SO WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING FOR? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?

DEAN CALLAHAN: SO WE ARE GOING TO CREATE THE HOWARD CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM HERE AT ASU'S CRONKITE SCHOOL. COULDN'T BE MORE EXCITED AND IT'S GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF DIMENSIONS BUT THE TWO MAIN GOALS ARE ONE, TO CREATE REALLY THE NEXT CADRE OF GREAT, YOUNG INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS WHO CAN BE FANNED OUT ACROSS THE UNITED STATES DOING FANTASTIC WORK AND AT THE SAME TIME WHILE THEY'RE HERE AT THE HOWARD CENTER TO CREATE THEIR OWN IMPACTFUL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS THAT WE WILL THEN PARTNER WITH NATIONAL NEWS ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY TO DISTRIBUTE SO AMERICANS CAN GET TO SEE SOME OF THESE IMPORTANT STORIES.

TED: AND THESE WILL BE – KIND OF THE HUB WILL BE REPORTING CENTERS? WHAT EXACTLY IS A REPORTING CENTER GOING TO BE?

DEAN CALLAHAN: SURE, SO THIS IS, THINK OF IT A – FINISHING SCHOOL, A CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE OF THESE MASTER STUDENTS, IT WILL BE A GRADUATE LEVEL PROGAM, SO WE'LL BRING THE STUDENTS IN, THEY'LL GO THROUGH OUR CURRICULUM FOR TWO SEMESTERS AND IN THEIR FINAL SEMESTER THEY WILL SPEND THE ENTIRE 15 WEEK PERIOD IN THE HOWARD CENTER WORKING WITH OUR NEW HOWARD CENTER FACULTY ALONG WITH FANTASTIC TERRIFIC FACULTY WHO ARE ALREADY HERE, TO BE PRODUCING THESE REPORTS FOR MAJOR NEWS ORGANIZATIONS UM NOT UNLIKE WHAT WE DO NOW WITH THE CARNEGIE NIGHT NEWS 21 PROGRAM BUT REALLY AN EXPANSION OF THAT IN A DRAMATIC WAY.

TED: AND WE HEARD ABOUT THE LATEST PROJECT THEY HAD, HID IN AMERICA. UM SO, DATA MINING, MEDIA, ETHICS OF INVESTIGATIONS. THESE SORTS OF THINGS, YOU LEARN ABOUT THEM THEN PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE.

DEAN CALLAHAN: EXACTLY RIGHT AND THAT IS WHAT THE SCRIPPS HOWARD FOUNDATION IS SO EXCITED ABOUT BECAUSE ROY HOWARD WHO IS REALLY ONE OF THE GREAT NEWS LEADERS OF THE EARLY 20th CENTURY, UM THAT WAS HIS PASSION TO LEARN THROUGH DOING, BY LEARNING IN THE NEWSROOM AND THAT'S WHAT THE CRONKITE SCHOOL IS ABOUT.

TED: AND THE RESULT WILL BE A MASTERS DEGREE IN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM. NOW THIS IS THE FIRST MASTERS IN THE COUNTRY FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM?

DEAN CALLAHAN: I WAS SURPRISED, TOO BUT EXACTLY RIGHT. BUT OF COURSE THERE ARE A LOT OF SCHOOLS WHO’VE BEEN DOING A LOT OF WORK IN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING BUT THIS WILL BE THE FIRST MASTERS DEGREE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.

TED: YOU HAVE BEEN QUOTED AS SAYING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER. EXPLAIN.

DEAN CALLAHAN: WELL, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, IN MY HEART, IN MY MIND IS THE HEART OF JOURNALISM, IT'S THAT NOTION OF HOLDING THE POWERFUL ACCOUNTABLE, WHETHER THE POWERFUL IS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OR BUSINESSES OR NONPROFITS OR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS. UH, ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL TO OUR DEMOCRACY, TO BE ABLE TO GET UNDERNEATH AND TO BE ABLE TO REPORT ON THINGS THAT ARE GOING WRONG IN THESE PLACES AND BRING THOSE TO BEAR. UM, TODAY, AS YOU KNOW, SOME BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT JOURNALISM ARE UNDER FIRE. IT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO ME NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE TO TAKE A STRONG STAND, TO BE CONTINUING TO DO AND REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO DO GREAT IMPACTFUL, INSIGHTFUL, ACCURATE, FAIR AND UNBIASED JOURNALISM.

TED: EVEN THE MOST BASIC REPORTING, THE MOST BASIC INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM RIGHT NOW, YOU ARE BOMBARDED BY NOT ONLY INFORMATION BUT MISINFORMATION.I MEAN THAT HAS TO BE A GOAL OF THE CENTER AS WELL IS TO WEED THIS STUFF OUT AND SEPARATE WEED FROM CHAFF.

DEAN CALLAHAN: WELL THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT AND ALSO, THERE IS A PROBLEM ON OUR SIDE, ON THE READER'S SIDE, ON THE NEWS CONSUMER'S SIDE. WE HAVE ANOTHER INITIATIVE AT THE CRONKITE SCHOOL THAT MY COLLEAGUES, DAN GILLMOR AND ERIC NEWTON ARE LEADING, UM TO HELP GET AT THE NOTION OF MEDIA LITERACY. HOW CAN WE HELP AMERICANS BE BETTER INFORMED TO DO EXACTLY THAT, TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS REAL JOURNALISM, WHAT IS REAL FACT-BASED JOURNALISM AND WHAT IS FAKE NEWS, IF YOU WILL EXCUSE THE EXPRESSION.

TED: I CAN'T BELIEVE I HEARD YOU UTTER THOSE WORDS. BACK TO THE INVESTIGATIONS PART, THE INVESTIGATION JOURNALISM HERE, WE TALKED ABOUT MISINFORMATION. ALL OF IT, IT'S JUST FLOATING AROUN, YOU ARE BOMBARDED BY IT, BUT FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS THAT ALSO MEANS HAVE YOU MUCH MORE ACCESS TO INFORMATION THAN YOU DID IN THE PAST.

DEAN CALLAHAN: IT IS, THIS IS THE GOLDEN AGE OF JOURNALISM FOR EXACTLY THAT REASON, TED, THAT WE'RE LIVING IN THE DIGITAL AGE, SO WE HAVE ACCESS TO INFINITELY MORE INFORMATION THAN WE EVER HAD BEFORE, AND BECAUSE OF THE DIGITAL AGE, WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO TRANSMIT THAT INFORMATION AND TO TELL STORIES IN MUCH MORE POWERFUL WAYS USING THE NEW TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES AND TO ENGAGE IN OUR AUDIENCES IN WAYS WE REALLY COULDN'T BEFORE.

TED: THE CENTERS ARE GOING TO BE MULTIDISCIPLINARY. DOES THAT MEAN THAT SOMEONE GOOD AT MATH IS WELCOME HERE BECAUSE SOMEONE GOOD AT MATH CAN BE A PRETTY GOOD INVESTIGATOR?

DEAN CALLAHAN: THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT. WE MEAN IT IN TWO WAYS, ONE ARE THE STUDENTS THEMSELVES AND WE’RE LOOKING FOR CAREER SWITCHERS. WE’RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO STUDIED IN OTHER DISCIPLINES AND MAYBE EVEN HAVE HAD OTHER PROFESSIONS THAT WE'RE GOING TO BRING IN AND TEACH THEM THESE INVESTIGATIVE TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES AND THE BASICS OF JOURNALISM AND JOURNALISM VALUES. SO THAT’S ONE DIMENSION OF THE MULTIDISIPLENARY NATURE OF THE HOWARD CENETER BUT THE OTHER IS IN THE COURSE WORK. AND WE'RE GOING TO BE REACHING OUT ACROSS ASU, ACROSS ALL THE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES TO BRING IN GREAT PROFESSORS FROM THE LAW SCHOOL, FROM THE BUSINESS SCHOOL, FROM SOCIAL SCIENCES TO TEACH THESE YOUNG JOURNALISTS HOW TO USE THOSE DISCIPLINES, RESEARCH METHODS IN THEIR OWN JOURNALISM.

TED: I COULD IMAGINE A PHILOSOPHY PROFESSOR IN DEDUCTIVE REASONING OR LOGIC COULD MAKE FOR A FASCINATING, AT LEAST SEMINAR IF NOT A CLASS.

DEAN CALLAHAN: EXACTLY, I MEAN WE’RE THINKING SMALL CLASSES, ONE CREDIT CLASSES, SO WE CAN GET IN A LOT OF THEM BUT THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT. IMAGINE I BRING IN SOMEONE FROM THE O'CONNOR COLLEGE OF LAW TO TEACH HOW LAWYERS DO RESEARCH.

TED: HOW TO READ A CONTRACT FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

DEAN CALLAHAN: YES, FORENSIC ACCOUNTANTS. I MEAN REALLY THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.

TED: OKAY, SO THIS IS THE HOWARD CENTER, IT'S GOING TO HIT THE GROUND WHEN?

DEAN CALLAHN: UH, WE HAVE LAUNCHED A SEARCH ALREADY FOR OUR EXECUTIVE EDITOR WHO WILL THEN GO AHEAD AND RECRUIT A NEW TEAM. THE RECRUITMENT FOR THE MASTERS STUDENTS FOR THE NEW COHORT IS ALREADY UNDER WAY AND WE WILL OPEN OFFICIALLY A YEAR FROM NOW.

TED: WOW. UM I KNOW THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SCRIPPS HOWARD IS QUOTED AS SAYING WE ARE TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORLD. THAT'S ALL WE'RE TRYING TO DO IS CHANGE THE WORLD. IT REALLY IS A FASCINATING WORLD RIGHT NOW FOR JOURNALISM.

DEAN CALLAHN: AND THAT'S WHAT JOURNALISM IS ABOUT. IT’S MAKING THE WORLD BETTER. IT’S MAKING YOUR COMMUNITIES BETTER. YOU KNOW WE JUST WELCOMED OUR NEW CLASS OF STUDENTS AT THE CRONKITE SCHOOL TODAY. TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF ASU CLASSES, AND I WROTE TO THEM THIS MORNING, WELCOMING THEM, GETTING THEM EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW YEAR BUT ALSO TALKING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF JOURNALISM AND HOW IT REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST NOBLE PROFESSIONS, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PROFESSIONS AND A PROFESSION WHERE CAN YOU SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY IN WAYS THAT YOU REALLY CAN'T IN MOST OTHER PROFESSIONS.

TED: AND THE PROFESSION OBVIOUSLY THAT NEEDS ITS OWN OMBUDSMEN, IT NEEDS TO BE WATCHED OVER BY, YOU KNOW, OTHERS AND ITSELF. LAST QUESTION, WE TALKED ABOUT THE NEWSPAPERS TODAY GETTING TOGETHER AND ADDRESSING CRITICISMS FROM THE PRESIDENT. YOU’RE THOUGHTS ON THAT, AND THE STATE OF NEWS TODAY. YOU GOT ALTERNATING FACTS OUT THERE, CHRIS.

DEAN CALLAHAN: YEAH, YEAH. WELL WE’RE, YOU KNOW, IN MY MIND, TED, WE'RE NOT IN A WAR WITH ANYBODY. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS DOING OUR JOB, AND OUR JOB IS TO COLLECT THE FACT, TO REPORT THE FACTS AND DISTRIBUTE THOSE FACTS TO PEOPLE SO THEY CAN MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS. UM WE'RE IN THE TRUTH-TELLING BUSINESS, AND FACTS ARE OUR CURRENCY, IF WE REMAIN STEADFAST TO THOSE VALUES, UM, THEN THAT WILL SERVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY.

TED: YOU THINK IT WILL WITHSTAND THE CURRENT STORM?

DEAN CALLAHAN: ABSOLUTELY.

TED: ALL RIGHT, DEAN CHRIS CALLAHN CRONKITE SCHOOL, CONGRATULATIONS ON THE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM PROGRAM. GOOD TO SEE YOU.

DEAN CALLAHN: THANKS SO MUCH TED.

TED: THANK YOU

TED: AND LATER ON ARIZONA HORIZON SEE HOW AN INVASIVE FRESH WATER MUSSEL IS CAUSING PROBLEMS AT GLEN CANYON DAM.

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has received a $3 million grant to start an investigative reporting center.

The Scripps Howard Foundation awarded the money to ASU and the same grant to the University of Maryland to open the Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism, which Scripps describes as “multidisciplinary, graduate-level programs focused on training the next generation of reporters through hands-on investigative journalism projects.”

We get more from Cronkite School Dean and Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan.

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In this segment:

Christopher Callahan, Dean of the Walter Cronkite School and CEO of Arizona PBS

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