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ASU honors Cronkite School assistant dean with faculty achievement award

portrait of Cronkite Dean Mark Lodato
April 21, 2014

Mark Lodato, assistant dean at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is a recipient of this year’s Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Curricular Innovation at Arizona State University.

Lodato received the university award from President Michael M. Crow and Provost Robert E. Page, Jr. during a university ceremony today at the ASU Tempe campus. The annual awards recognize select faculty for their excellence in research and instruction.

As professor of practice and news director at Cronkite, Lodato transformed the school’s student-produced television newscast “Cronkite NewsWatch” from a once-a-week magazine show into a nationally recognized live program that reaches 1.4 million households on Arizona PBS four nights a week.

"The trademark of Arizona State University is bold innovations in how we teach, creating new, dynamic and immersive learning environments in all disciplines," said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan, who worked closely with Lodato when both were at the University of Maryland and recruited him to Cronkite. "For Mark to be recognized as a great innovator within ASU is a tremendous and well-deserved recognition. He has redefined how television news is taught, and set a new bar nationally."

Lodato is one of 14 ASU faculty members to receive a 2014 award. He shares the Faculty Achievement Award in Excellence in Curricular Innovation with Mark P. Haunschild, an English instructor in the School of Letters and Sciences.

“It’s wonderful to see the university recognize what has truly been a collaborative effort here at Cronkite,” Lodato said. “The broadcast curriculum looks much different today than it did in 2006, and our students are taking advantage.”

Lodato joined the Cronkite School in 2006 after working 16 years as a television reporter and anchor in Phoenix, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Fort Myers, Fla. He also served as news director at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Lodato redesigned the newscast by focusing on coverage of statewide public policy issues, transforming the program to a daily experience and requiring students to participate in full-day shifts to create a professional newsroom experience.

Under his leadership, “Cronkite NewsWatch” has consistently been honored at the highest levels of student news competition, including the Broadcast Education Association, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation College Television Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists. In the Hearst Journalism Awards, considered the top recognition in collegiate journalism, the Cronkite School has finished first or second in the broadcast division six of the past eight years under Lodato's leadership – the best record of any school in the nation.

Students are recruited by many of the nation’s leading media companies, including ABC, CBS, CNN, ESPN, Gannett, Meredith Corp., NBC, E.W. Scripps and Univision.