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Cronkite innovation chief to receive Freedom of the Press Award

Eric Newton

Cronkite Innovation Chief Eric Newton is the co-recipient of a Freedom of the Press Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

March 14, 2016

Cronkite Innovation Chief Eric Newton is receiving one of the nation’s highest press-freedom honors for his work at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Newton, who joined Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication last year, and Knight President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen will receive the Freedom of the Press Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press during a dinner ceremony May 17 at the Pierre Hotel in New York.

Ibargüen and Newton are receiving the honor for their efforts at Knight Foundation to address the evolving needs of a changing media landscape, while maintaining a commitment to the preservation and protection of First Amendment freedoms. In addition to his role at Cronkite, Newton serves as a Knight Foundation consultant. He previously worked as a top executive at the foundation, overseeing the development of more than $300 million in grants, $160 million of which went to universities for pioneering projects in journalism education.

At the Cronkite School, Newton works closely with the school’s leadership to drive new, cutting-edge ideas and initiatives at Cronkite News, the school’s multiplatform daily news operation.

Ibargüen also has played a significant role in driving innovation at the Cronkite School through the Knight Foundation’s tremendous support of the school. Most recently, during his keynote convocation speech to graduating Cronkite students in May 2014, Ibargüen announced a special $250,000 grant for ASU journalism graduates to accelerate innovation in newsrooms across the country.

Also at the awards dinner, NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw will receive the Fred Graham Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his two decades on the Reporters Committee board and his dedication championing press freedoms. Brokaw, the 2006 recipient of the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, also was a driving force in the recent establishment of the Public Service Academy at ASU, the first undergraduate program in the nation to integrate cross-sector and civilian-military experiences to develop collaborative leaders of character.

“These honorees have spent their careers defending press freedom and the right to information,” said Reporters Committee chair Pierre Thomas of ABC News. “We are honored to recognize their impact on the world of journalism and, in turn, public accountability, and look forward to an evening of applauding their work and dedication.”

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources. Today, it provides legal resources and support to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations and thousands of reporters, editors and media lawyers.

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