'CBS Mornings' anchor Gayle King to receive 39th Cronkite Award

September 13, 2022

Gayle King, the award-winning co-host of “CBS Mornings,” has been chosen to receive the 39th Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University.

King, who is also editor-at-large of Oprah Daily and hosts a live, weekly radio show titled “Gayle King in the House” on SiriusXM, will be honored during a ceremony in Phoenix on Feb. 21, 2023, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Still of 'CBS Mornings' anchor Gayle King smiling at a news desk. "CBS Mornings" co-host Gayle King broadcasts live from Times Square. Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Download Full Image

The Cronkite Award — named after the late CBS News anchor — has honored prominent journalists since 1984. The award recognizes the recipients’ accomplishments and leadership over the course of their careers.

Registration is now open for the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism luncheon.  

“Gayle King’s career and accomplishments are remarkable, and her professionalism embodies everything that Walter Cronkite valued in journalism,” said Battinto L. Batts Jr., dean of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Her approach to covering important events and interviewing politicians, leaders and celebrities is unparalleled. It’s an honor to present Gayle with this prestigious award.” 

“I am honored to accept the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism," King said. "The work myself and other journalists do is important, but I don’t do it alone. My colleagues at CBS News also share in this honor and I’m inspired by the unique and meaningful stories we tell.

“Thank you for this award and I hope to inspire others when I meet the students at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in February.”

King’s notable interviews have included embattled R&B singer R. Kelly; former President Barack Obama; former First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Robinson, in their first TV interview together; former House Speaker Paul Ryan; Tina Turner; Cher; Taylor Swift; Dave Chappelle; Amy Schumer; Elizabeth Smart; Dylan Farrow; Elon Musk; and the first interview with Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz following the controversial arrest of two Black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks.

King also landed the only national TV interview with former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke after he announced that he would run for president.

In addition, King has covered numerous significant events, including George Floyd’s murder; the Derek Chauvin verdict; the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut; the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2016; and the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy on the Texas border.

She has reported on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., prior to the museum’s opening, and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

King previously hosted “The Gayle King Show,” a live, weekday television interview program on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. The program, which featured a discussion of a variety of topics ranging from politics to cultural developments, was also broadcast on XM Satellite Radio, where it premiered in 2006.

Prior to that, she worked for 18 years as a television news anchor for CBS affiliate WFSB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut, where she also hosted her own syndicated daytime program. She has worked at several other television stations, including WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri, WJZ-TV in Baltimore and WTOP-TV in Washington, D.C.

King has won numerous awards, including three Emmys. In April 2019, she was named to Time Magazine’s Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the hundred most influential people in the world, and was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2018. King was named a Variety Power of Women honoree in 2017, and was honored with both the Individual Achievement Award for Host-Entertainment/Information and the New York Women in Communications’ Matrix Award in 2010.

In addition, she received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award as part of CBS News’ division-wide coverage of the Newtown tragedy. King was honored in 2008 with the American Women in Radio & Television Gracie Award for Outstanding Radio Talk Show.

King spent several years of her childhood in Ankara, Turkey, before returning with her family to the United States. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in psychology.

Other Cronkite Award recipients include award-winning weatherman and anchor Al Roker; TV news anchors Lester Holt, Robin Roberts, Anderson Cooper, Scott Pelley, Christiane Amanpour, Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill; sportscasters Al Michaels and Bob Costas; newspaper journalists Dean Baquet, Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and Bob Woodward; and media executives Katharine Graham, Al Neuharth and William Paley.

Jamar Younger

Associate Editor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Researchers pioneer new technique that could help determine habitability of planets

Scientists at ASU, UC Boulder and other institutions measured intensity of explosions on stellar surfaces using archival observations taken by Hubble Space Telescope

September 13, 2022

Our sun is surrounded by multi-million-degree plasma called the corona, beautifully visible during a total solar eclipse.

About once a day, a magnetic explosion on the sun will send a chunk of the corona hurtling into interplanetary space. This is called a coronal mass ejection (CME) and scientists believe that this almost certainly happens on other stars. Artist's impression of a coronal mass ejection impacting a planet's protective magnetosphere, generating a polar aurorae. Artist's impression of a coronal mass ejection impacting a planet's protective magnetosphere, generating a polar aurorae. Photo courtesy Chuck Carter/Keck Institute for Space Studies Download Full Image

Average CMEs will produce aurorae — beautiful ribbons of colorful light that dance across the sky near the Earth’s poles. The biggest CMEs are awesome, once-in-a-century events that can disrupt the electronics of satellites and even our electrical grid.

During a massive CME that hit Earth in the mid 1800s, electric currents literally shocked telegraph operators working at their stations and shut down the entire system. That CME also purportedly produced such a bright display of light that it woke people up in the middle of the night.

When CMEs, or showers of fast particles that spray out ahead of them, hit Earth, they also affect the chemistry of the atmosphere in ways we can’t see, sometimes even destroying bits of the atmosphere's protective ozone. 

“Even though CMEs appear obvious and dramatic when we see them through our sun-observing telescopes, CMEs from stars have proven very hard to detect,” said R.O. Parke Loyd, a scientist at Eureka Scientific and previously an ASU postdoctoral research scholar in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Loyd, along with the help of a team of current and former researchers at ASU, including Evgenya Shkolnik, Tahina Ramiaramanantsoa, Tyler Richey-Yowell and Adam Schneider, and collaborators from several other institutions, have pioneered a new technique to measure the intensity of CMEs that will help to determine the habitability of other planets in our galaxy. Their findings were recently published in The Astrophysical Journal.

“Much like the topic of exoplanets 40 years ago, we are all but certain stellar CMEs are out there, waiting to be detected. And, like exoplanets, there have been a smattering of one-off candidate detections of stellar CMEs. The scientific community is still in search of definitive proof that stars other than the sun produce CMEs. We need methods to search for stellar CMEs that can more clearly indicate if one occurred and, if so, how big it was — how massive and how energetic,” Loyd said.

As scientists, members of the team are also interested in the opposing question: If stars aren’t producing CMEs, how is that proven? And what does either result say about the planets orbiting other stars?

“Our innovation is the development of a method to do both of these. The data in our pilot study enabled us to say that the sun-like star Epsilon Eri is, at the very least, not producing CMEs at a rate greater than about 10 times that of the sun. Applying this tool to new, broader and more extensive data will help us to understand how prevalent CMEs are across stars of varying size and age,” Loyd said.

“One of the reasons this is so exciting and important is that most of the planets in our galaxy orbit red dwarf stars, but we don't yet know if these planets could end up as habitable as the Earth. Certainly there are plenty of red dwarf planets that could have the right surface temperature for liquid water, the basis for life,” Loy said. “However, we suspect the CMEs from these stars are more intense. If they are, they could strip these planets of their atmosphere, and without an atmosphere, these planets could not have liquid surface water.

"Additionally, if they are directly exposed to the radiation from the CME, their surfaces would be harsh environments for life. Our tool is a step toward being able to finally measure the intensity of red dwarf CMEs, and all stars’ CMEs, so we know whether their planets are in danger of losing their atmospheres or not.“

As a proof of concept, Loyd and the team of scientists analyzed archival observations taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, including two sets of observations originally intended just for calibration of the young star, Epsilon Eridani, about 75% the size of the sun.

“The observations captured three clear flares, spikes in UV light that indicate a magnetic explosion occurred on the stellar surface, and our novel analysis enabled us to place first-of-their-kind limits on the amount of million-degree plasma that could have been ejected by CMEs accompanying those flares,” Loyd said.

ASU was the setting where this work began in earnest through receipt of a grant from NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute in 2019, but Loyd emphasizes it was a group effort.

“The project represents a broad collaboration of institutions. It was conceived at the University of Colorado, Boulder, spun up at ASU and completed at Eureka Scientific, Inc. In addition, it includes significant contributions from other researchers at ASU, CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, and the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute."

What lies ahead? With the successful demonstration of this new method, scientists can start exploring its broader application to other data from the Hubble Telescope, X-ray observatories and even future space missions.

Andrea Chatwood

Communications Specialist, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences