ASU journalism alumni find success in public service

The Arizona flag flying against a blue sky background.

Most students who attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication seek careers in news and public relations, but three Cronkite School alumni have used their training to pursue a different path. 

Arizona state Reps. Andrés Cano and Analise Ortiz and former Mesa Vice Mayor David Luna have leveraged their journalism experience into political careers.

Cano graduated cum laude from the Cronkite School in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication, focusing on broadcast journalism. He was the editor and founder of his middle school and high school newspapers, and he worked with Cronkite News and Arizona PBS for a semester while enrolled at ASU.

“I have a deep appreciation for journalists and their ability to share the stories of people and local communities. I’ve always been interested in helping use journalism as a means of creating good change,” Cano said.

Cano’s journalism background has served him well as a state representative, he said.

Andres Cano

Andrés Cano

“Journalism school teaches you to do two things: Figure out what the issue of the day is and how you’re going to ensure that the public is aware of what’s happening in their community. In our legislature, it really is no different. Now as an elected official, I think it is my goal to really remind my colleagues that we have work to do,” he said.

Luna was driven by a similar desire to serve and represent his community.

Luna ran for office in 2014 after being appointed by the Mesa City Council in 2013. The city had never had a Latino serve in that capacity. He served two terms as councilmember and was appointed vice mayor of Mesa from 2017 to 2019. His second term ended Jan. 5 of this year.

Luna attended the University of Arizona, earning his Bachelor of Arts in radio and television production in 1978. He received his master’s degree in mass communication from the Cronkite School in 1999.

He began his broadcasting career at KVOA in Tucson before becoming the director of educational television for Mesa Public Schools, where he produced educational videos for district families and ran the educational television department.

David Luna

Luna said he has enjoyed the switch from journalism to public policy, which has provided him with opportunities to make positive changes in his community. But he is appreciative of his journalism background.

He currently serves on the Arizona Museum of Natural History board and is a National Civic League Senior Fellow.

Ortiz worked as a multimedia journalist in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and at KTNV in Las Vegas. Ortiz moved back to Phoenix in 2018 before she was elected in November 2022 to the Arizona House of Representatives for Legislative District 24 in Maryvale and Glendale. She graduated summa cum laude from the Cronkite School in 2014 with her Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication, with a focus on broadcast journalism.

“As I was growing up, I took a love for English and writing, and I realized I wanted to become a reporter so I could investigate injustice that I saw happening in my community while also being able to utilize my skills and my love of writing,” she said. 

Analise Ortiz

“There’s so much about journalism that teaches you empathy, how to listen and more importantly, it teaches you to look at every side of a particular issue. And to understand the nuance of all the very complex things that we debate as politicians.”

Ortiz has sponsored many bills that touch issues close to her values, including legislation that has addressed rent control and the housing crisis in Arizona.

“I was very humbled to be elected by the people of Maryvale and Glendale for a two-year term here in the House of Representatives, and I do plan to run for a second term,” she said. “But right now, I am focused on doing this job the best that I can for my community.”

Written by Sierra Alvarez

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