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Former anchor Brown finds second career in teaching

August 15, 2007

Aaron Brown, the former lead anchor for CNN, has been appointed the inaugural Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Brown will join the full-time faculty of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in January. He will hold the faculty rank of professor of practice.

ASU President Michael Crow says Brown is the ideal person to be the school’s first Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism.

“Aaron Brown is a master of the kind of high-quality, thoughtful, in-depth, objective journalism that was the hallmark of the great Walter Cronkite for so many years,” Crow says. “We are confident Aaron will be a leading national voice on the future of journalism and play a significant role in helping us reach our goal of making the Cronkite School the finest and most inclusive professional journalism program in the country.”

Cronkite, the longtime CBS News anchor, was active in recruiting Brown to the school that bears his name.

“I have long been an admirer of Aaron Brown both on ABC and later on CNN,” Cronkite said from his vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. “He’s a terrific journalist with high ideals and great integrity. His passion for our profession and his commitment to its highest standards of objectivity and fairness has been the hallmark of his work – and will be a source of great inspiration for our students. I could not be more proud that he is joining our journalism school.”

Brown was at ASU in the spring semester as the John J. Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions, a one-semester visiting lecturer position at the Barrett Honors College.

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan saysBrown “was nothing shortly of spectacular” in the seminar he taught with Assistant Professor B. William Silcock, “Turning Points in Television News History.” Brown is a “natural teacher” who will “inspire Cronkite students for years to come,” Callahan said.

Brown, 58, served as news anchor of CNN’s flagship show, “NewsNight,” from 2001 to 2005, covering stories from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to the 2004 presidential elections and the Iraq War. Brown won the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award for his Sept. 11 coverage, broadcasting from a rooftop in lower Manhattan.

Before joining CNN, Brown was a founding anchor for ABC’s “World News Now,” the network’s overnight newscast, and later was the anchor of “World News Tonight Saturday” as well as a correspondent for “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.”

In addition to the Murrow Award, Brown also won three Emmys, a DuPont, two New York Film Society World medals and a George Foster Peabody Award during his illustrious career.

I can’t wait to begin,” Brown said. “This is a great and wonderful chance to work with smart and capable professors, engaged, ambitious and talented students and a university administration that is committed to the journalism program and all its potential.”

Brown is the 12th new professor to join the Cronkite School in the past two years. Others include former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire, BET Vice President Retha Hill and former Akron Beacon Journal Publisher Jim Crutchfield.

The Cronkite School, a nationally recognized professional journalism program with more than 1,600 students, is home to the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, the New Media Innovation Lab, the Frank Russell Chair in the Business of Journalism and the Knight Chair in Journalism. Cronkite students this year took first place nationally in both the Hearst Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence awards.

The school, located on ASU’s Tempe campus, will move into a new six-story 223,000- square-feet journalism education complex in downtown Phoenix in August 2008.