ASU's Cronkite School and Global Sport Institute to partner in NBCU News Group’s NBCU Academy

NBCU Academy logo

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Global Sport Institute will participate in NBCU News Group’s NBCU Academy, a multiplatform journalism training and development program for four-year university and community college students that provides education, on-campus training and online programming. 

ASU was one of 13 universities, community colleges and accredited programs chosen this year for the initiative, which targets colleges with significant Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous and tribal populations, including historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) and Hispanic-serving institutions. There are 30 colleges and universities total participating in the program, which is in its second year.

The initiative was created to help college students prepare for careers in news and media technology, as well as provide training to early-career professionals and veteran journalists who want to gain new skills. This year’s cohort was expanded to include business, engineering, technology and sports programs. 

NBCU Academy will invest $2 million in grants toward building sustainable relationships to support the 13 new partner institutions, enriching the online experience and growing signature pipeline programs — all while keeping diversity and inclusion as a core driver.

ASU’s Cronkite School and Global Sport Institute will use funding from the initiative to develop classes and create scholarships for students. 

We are thrilled to partner with NBCU News Group to build a revolutionary diversity, equity and inclusion program and course at the Cronkite School,” said Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. “This partnership advances our mission to provide scholarship opportunities building a diverse next generation of journalists. Through the NBCU Academy, our students will now receive distinct access to global expertise and talent.” 

Kenneth L. Shropshire, CEO of the Global Sport Institute and a professor at the Cronkite School, said, “I am very pleased to be working with NBCU News Group on their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We are excited about the many ways we can engage with the next generation of sports media professionals, whether that’s exploring the historical nuances of different teams and leagues, sharing strategies for creating belonging in the workplace or even looking at the language we use to talk about athletes.”

William Rhoden, a longtime sports journalist and columnist with ESPN’s The Undefeated who is cross-appointed with both the Global Sport Institute and the Cronkite School, will work alongside Shropshire to develop the programming.

“This is a spectacular opportunity to continue the work of diversifying our industry by leveling the playing field,” Rhoden said. “I’m proud and honored to be part of this cutting-edge initiative by NBCU News Group.”

NBCU Academy will provide equipment and collaborate with professors to develop seminar courses, and NBCU News Group journalists, executives and management from editorial and production teams across NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo News will participate as guest lecturers to provide real-world insight and mentorship. 

This is the latest in a series of collaborations between the Cronkite School and NBC. Al Roker, the Emmy Award-winning weatherman and popular anchor for NBC News’ “Today” show, was chosen as the recipient of the 38th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. Roker will be presented with the award during a ceremony on March 1. 

In November, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt broadcast the network’s evening news show from the rooftop of the Cronkite School and held a Q&A with students, answering their questions about the journalism profession. Holt mentioned the possibility of the Cronkite School working with NBCU Academy during the Q&A event.

“We’re very invested in the future of this business and making sure that there is a pipeline of talent and great folks,” Holt said at the time.

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