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Cronkite dean appointed to ASNE Board of Directors

April 26, 2011

Christopher Callahan, who has led the dramatic transformation of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University into one of the nation’s premier journalism programs, has become the first dean named to the Board of Directors of the American Society of News Editors.

ASNE, established in 1922, is widely considered the U.S. news industry’s top leadership organization. The Reston, Va.-based nonprofit promotes newsroom leadership, upholds journalism values, defends First Amendment rights and advocates for freedom of information and open government.

The other 21 members of the ASNE Board of Directors are current or former top editors of news organizations such as The Washington Post, The Seattle Times and Bloomberg News. Callahan is the first non-editor to join the board.

ASNE President Ken Paulson said Callahan’s experience in journalism education will be an asset to the board.

“Dean Christopher Callahan brings a special perspective to the board of the American Society of News Editors,” said Paulson, former editor of USA Today who now serves as president and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. “He’s a leading thinker in both digital media and journalism education, and a driving force in support of innovation in news media.”

Callahan is the founding dean of the Cronkite School, who since arriving in 2005 has directed the design and construction of a $71 million state-of-the-art media complex, launched new professional programs such as Cronkite News Service, the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, the New Media Innovation Lab and Cronkite NewsWatch and brought to campus the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the Carnegie-Knight News21 digital media initiative and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program for international journalists.

He also doubled the size of the school’s faculty and recruited top news professionals, including two former ASNE presidents – former Minneapolis Star Editor Tim McGuire and former Sacramento Bee Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez – and former Washington Post Executive Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., who served on the ASNE Foundation Board.

Last year he was named Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Administrator of the year.

Callahan said he was honored by the appointment.

“ASNE has been a critically important leadership voice in American journalism for nearly a century,” he said. “And that leadership is needed today more than ever as the news industry continues revolutionary changes driven by our new digital world.”

As a member of the ASNE board, Callahan will work with Paulson and other board members on a variety of projects, including building stronger ties between the news industry and universities.

“High-quality, university-produced journalism like that created by News21 and Cronkite News Service is becoming an increasingly integral part of the nation’s news ecosystem,” he said. “Hopefully I can help ASNE bridge these two worlds.”