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Cronkite School announces American Public Media partnership

January 12, 2012

A new partnership between American Public Media (APM) and Arizona State University will help foster collaborative reporting and innovative storytelling in public affairs journalism.

The first phase of the partnership will bring Linda Fantin, APM’s director of network journalism and innovation, and Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president of digital innovation, to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as visiting professionals during the spring semester.

Fantin and Alvarado will lead a class on public insight reporting for radio in which students report and produce stories of national interest and regional relevance. The students’ work will be featured on national programs, air on local public radio stations and include story elements suitable for Web, mobile and social media outlets. 

The class, which will combine creative storytelling with in-depth public affairs reporting, will make use of APM’s Public Insight Network, an industry-leading crowd-sourcing platform that allows journalists to engage their audiences as expert sources.

In addition, David Brancaccio, one of the hosts of APM’s daily business and economics show “Marketplace,” will come to the Cronkite School in January as a Hearst Visiting Professional. During his time at Cronkite, Brancaccio will speak to students as part of the school’s “Must See Mondays” speaker series and visit classes.  

“The work being done by American Public Media is some of the best journalism happening in America today,” said Mark Lodato, assistant dean and news director at Cronkite. “Some of our brightest students have a great interest in practicing journalism through public radio. Linda Fantin, Joaquin Alvarado and their colleagues will enrich the Cronkite curriculum by sharing innovative newsgathering techniques and best practices in radio storytelling.”

Lodato added that he expects more opportunities for Cronkite students in the future as the partnership grows.

Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media, said that the organization is “proud to partner with Arizona State University’s Cronkite School to begin building important bridges between public media and the next generation of journalists. This partnership represents two great centers of innovation coming together to explore opportunities to better engage diverse communities in news reporting.”

Founded in 2003, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network is a platform for connecting trusted journalists with knowledgeable individuals and for fostering journalistic excellence, innovation and collaboration. Through PIN, more than 140,000 sources inform reporting at 60 news organizations, through websites, social networks, blogs, surveys, virtual forums, serious games and face-to-face interactions. Their demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database, allowing journalists to do smart, targeted crowd-sourcing and identify trends. Public Insight Network was founded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is funded in part today by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

With 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students, the Cronkite School is one of the largest and most recognized journalism schools in the country. Faculty include a number of former top editors and media leaders, including Leonard Downie Jr. of The Washington Post; Tim McGuire of the Minneapolis Star Tribune; Retha Hill of Black Entertainment Television Interactive; Rick Rodriguez of the Sacramento Bee; William K. Marimow of The Philadelphia Inquirer, National Public Radio and The Baltimore Sun; Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News; and Aaron Brown of CNN. The school’s professional programs include multimedia news bureaus in Phoenix and Washington as well as labs devoted to innovation and entrepreneurship, broadcast news and public relations.