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Boston Globe Spotlight editor named Reynolds Visiting Professor at Cronkite School

Walter Robinson

Walter V. Robinson, the longtime Boston Globe investigations editor who led the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning report on the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, has been named the Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor at the Cronkite School.

August 03, 2016

Walter V. Robinson, the longtime Boston Globe investigations editor who led the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning report on the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal recounted in the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” is coming to teach at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Robinson, currently an editor-at-large at the Globe, is joining the Cronkite School in January as a Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor, teaching an investigative journalism class for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. He also will work with reporters in Cronkite News, the student-staffed, professionally led news division of Arizona PBS.

With more than three decades as a journalist at the Globe, Robinson was editor of the newspaper’s Spotlight Team, which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its comprehensive investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The investigation, which exposed a decades-long cover-up that shielded the crimes of nearly 250 priests, was made into the film “Spotlight,” which won 2015 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

“I am delighted for this opportunity to play a role at one of the best — and certainly the most innovative and exciting — journalism schools in the country,’’ Robinson said. “I’m honored to be a part of the school’s distinguished faculty, and I’m looking forward to working with so many talented students.’’

Before his professorship begins, Robinson will visit the Cronkite School this fall to screen and discuss “Spotlight” as part of the school’s regular movie night. The public screening, sponsored by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.

“Walter Robinson represents the very best in investigative journalism,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “His reporting and newsroom leadership have brought to light important issues that have uncovered serious corruption and abuse. We are thrilled to welcome Robby to the Cronkite School and look forward to him mentoring our tremendous students.”

Robinson joined the Globe in 1972 and went on to report on politics and government before covering the White House during the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. He has covered four presidential elections and was the lead Globe reporter for the 1988 and 1992 elections.

In 1990 and 1991, Robinson was the newspaper’s Middle East Bureau chief during the first Persian Gulf War. He went on to be the Globe’s city editor in 1992 and then the metro editor for three years.

In the late 1990s, he was the Globe's roving foreign and national correspondent and spent much of that time reporting on artworks looted by the Nazis during World War II that ended up in American museums. For his reporting on the illicit trade in antiquities, Robinson was awarded the Archaeological Institute of America's first-ever outstanding public service award in 1999.

From 2007-2014, Robinson was a distinguished professor of journalism and Northeastern University in Boston. His investigative reporting students produced 26 Page One investigative stories for The Boston Globe. He returned to the Globe in 2014 as an editor-at-large.

Robinson served four years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Vietnam as an intelligence officer with the 1st Cavalry Division.

Robinson is a 1974 graduate of Northeastern University and has been awarded honorary degrees by his alma mater and Emerson College. He was a journalism fellow at Stanford University and is co-author of the 2002 book, “Betrayal: Crisis in the Catholic Church.”

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $115 million nationwide through its Journalism Program.

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