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Cronkite taps best-selling author, journalist for Schatt Memorial Lecture

September 07, 2011

An award-winning investigative journalist and author of a New York Times bestseller will be the featured speaker at the fifth annual Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture at Arizona State University this fall.

Mitchell Zuckoff will talk about his transition from journalist to book author with a focus on his latest book, “Lost in Shangri-La,” Amazon’s “No. 1 Best Book and Best Nonfiction Book of 2011” for the first six months of this year. It has been on the New York Times’ Combined Hardcover / eBook list for 10 weeks, on its eBook list for 18 weeks and on the Times’ Hardcover list for seven.

The Schatt lecture will take place at 7 p.m., Oct. 27 in the First Amendment Forum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. The lecture is free and open to the public. A book signing will be held following the talk.

Cronkite Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan will introduce the lecture.

“Mitch Zuckoff is a gifted storyteller,” Callahan said. “He was a marvelous daily journalist for many years, and now he has taken his talents to the book world. Lost in Shangri-La is a powerful work that showcases Mitch's extraordinary reporting and unique storytelling abilities. This will be a very special Schatt lecture."

The Schatt series was started in 2007 to honor the late Paul Schatt, who served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Arizona Republic for five decades and taught Cronkite students as an adjunct professor teaching public affairs reporting for 30 years.

The series is funded by an endowment by his widow, Laura Schatt-Thede and an annual gift from the Arizona Republic.

Zuckoff, a journalism professor at Boston University, was formerly a special projects reporter for The Boston Globe, where he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. He has written four books and co-authored a fifth.

His most recent, “Lost in Shangri-La,” is the true story of an unfathomable rescue of three survivors of a World War II plane crash who ended up stranded in a jungle inhabited by cannibals.

The others are “Robert Altman,” “Ponzi’s Scheme,” “Choosing Naia” and “Judgment Ridge,” which he co-authored with Dick Lehr.

Zuckoff has also contributed to magazines including The New Yorker and Fortune. His many awards include the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Livingston Award for International Reporting, the Heywood Broun Award and the Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.