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Cronkite students produce FOX Sports Arizona show

October 28, 2009

Broadcast students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are producing a new magazine sports show, “Sun Devils 101,” for FOX Sports Arizona.

The show, which features Arizona State University sports, debuts Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. with a 30-minute program about ASU football, diving, golf and soccer. FOX Sports Arizona, which reaches 2.8 million homes, will air the show repeatedly throughout Arizona and New Mexico

“It’s about ASU athletics through the eyes of ASU students who are aspiring sports broadcasters,” says Mark Reda, FOX Sports Arizona coordinating producer. “That the reporters and producers are college students is an important aspect of the show.”

The Cronkite student reporters may be the first in the country to produce a program for a commercial sports network. 

“We don't know of any other journalism school that is producing a 30-minute program for a commercial sports network,” says Mark Lodato, news director and professor of practice at the Cronkite School. “It will mean tremendous exposure for our students and the Cronkite School.”

In addition to reporting for FOX Sports Arizona, Cronkite broadcast students produce news reports for a number of other media outlets, including ABC15 (KNXV), Eight/KAET and AZTV7/Cable 13. 

The first “Sun Devils 101” will feature profiles of diving team members and a story about Josh Jordan, an ASU football player who also is a member of student government. It also includes a segment called “Devil’s Dish,” which shows a soccer player cooking a favorite meal. Fans of the show can follow it on Facebook and post fan videos.

Student reporters come from the staff of Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s award-wining newscast produced by advanced broadcast students. The students do all the writing, editing and shooting for the show, Reda says. They often will spend as long as 10 to 12 hours producing a two-minute piece. 

Lodato said FOX Sports staff members work closely with the students.

“FOX Sports Arizona staff has been very instrumental in leading this effort, with weekly meetings at Cronkite,” he says. “And the network has assigned professional mentors to each of the students participating.” 

The genesis of the show was in May of this year when Reda toured the Cronkite School’s new downtown Phoenix facility, realized what could be produced through the school and proposed a partnership that would utilize resources from the station and the school.

“It's an ideal example of how our move downtown enhances our relationship with local media outlets,” Lodato says. 

The first “Sun Devils 101” airs at 5 p.m. on Oct. 30 and replays at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 11; 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 13; 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 22; and 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Nov. 30. The second show will air at 8 p.m. on Dec. 3, and additional shows are planned for the spring semester.