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Cronkite director to be honored at Rocky Mountain Emmys

October 13, 2011

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will induct Michael Wong, director of career services at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, into its Silver Circle Society, Oct. 15, at the 2011 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards.

The Silver Circle Society, established in 1992, honors those who have at least 25 years of service to the television industry and have made meaningful and significant contributions to the field, with the majority of service in the Rocky Mountain Southwest. Inductees come from various disciplines within the industry, including broadcast journalism, engineering, editing, production, photography, promotions and sales.

"Mike Wong is a true Arizona treasure," said Cronkite dean Christopher Callahan. "He has taught, inspired and mentored hundreds of aspiring young journalists over the years, and added richly to the Cronkite School and the broadcast news industry across the state and around the nation. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious award."

Wong, a Cronkite alumnus, is the school’s first full-time director of career services, serving as the liaison between students and the profession. After graduating from the Cronkite School in 1983, he began his career at KPNX-TV, Phoenix’s NBC affiliate, as an associate producer and editor. He later became a producer of the station’s morning show.  

After four years at KPNX, he became the manager of news and public affairs at Eight/KAET-Phoenix, Arizona’s PBS station, a position he held for 12 years. Throughout his time at KPNX and KAET, he also taught at the Cronkite School as a faculty associate.

In 1999, he began coordinating broadcast internships and awards at the Cronkite School on a part-time basis. The following year, he joined the school full time as the news director of the award-winning weekly student newscast, then called ASU NewsWatch. In 2006, he assumed his current role as the director of career services.

“Mike's tremendous professional achievements have been well-documented, but his legacy will be the accomplishments of his students,” said Cronkite assistant dean Mark Lodato. “The young women and men he has taught or counseled over the years have taken on leading positions in journalism across the country.”

“Mike has probably had more to do with people getting jobs in broadcasting all over the country than anybody else in the state of Arizona,” added Cronkite professor John Craft, a Silver Circle Society member who was part of the committee that selected this year’s inductees.

Wong also serves as a trainer and consultant for the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, a government agency that oversees all U.S. civilian broadcasting. He has conducted television reporting workshops for visiting journalists from six Eastern European countries and trained broadcast journalists in Kosovo and Indonesia.

Wong said the best part of his job is helping students succeed as professional journalists.

“The (Silver Circle) award is nice, and it’s an honor, but helping a new generation of journalists is even more rewarding,” he said.

NATAS is a membership organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of television. It represents television professionals from every discipline in the field. The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of NATAS, serving Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and El Centro, Calif., was founded in 1959. 

In addition to the Silver Circle Society, NATAS awards Emmys each year to reward excellence in professional broadcasting. The organization also recognizes exceptional student work with the NATAS Student Achievement Awards and this year added eight new student categories. Cronkite students received 11 nominations for the 2011 awards.

The 2011 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards will be presented on Saturday evening, Oct. 15 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.