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Interactive news show to be produced at Cronkite School

April 12, 2011

Three of the nation’s top television station groups will produce a new interactive daily news show from the state-of-the-art media complex at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

“RightThisMinute” will merge digital media with traditional on-air programming to produce a new kind of on-air show that incorporates the Internet, mobile devices, social media and citizen journalism into its reports, according to the program’s creators.

The audience will be able to influence the program’s content by interacting with the program through digital and social media, and newscasters will scour new media platforms to report up-to-the-minute information on stories viewers are talking about.

Cox Media Group, Raycom Media Inc. and The E.W. Scripps Company have joined with Phoenix-based MagicDust Television to create the program. It will debut this fall in markets that cover up to 30 percent of U.S. households and is expected to be available for national syndication.

“RightThisMinute” broadens the appeal of traditional television news and information by reaching out to “an entirely new generation of viewers who have come to expect an interactive experience when accessing relevant news and information,” said Brian Lawlor, senior vice president of television for Scripps.

Doug Franklin, president of Cox Media Group, said the program “breaks new ground in television.”

“Consumers have demonstrated a growing hunger for timely information, but no on-air product meets that need by harnessing the potential of social and digital technologies,” Franklin said. “RTM will exploit the vast opportunities presented by combining new-media platforms with the broad reach of broadcast television.”

The Cronkite School in downtown Phoenix, with its emphasis on new media innovation, is an ideal place to produce the program, said Bill Miller, founder of MagicDust Television and former president and general manager for KTVK-3TV and KASW-TV in Phoenix.

“We are so excited to be producing this show in the magical environment of the Cronkite School,” Miller said. “The school has produced some of the brightest young journalists in America, taught and mentored by a visionary team of remarkable professionals. It has one of the most advanced technical facilities of any journalism school in the country. Put it all together and you have the perfect place to create and produce a daily, national television show focused on the next generation of journalism.”

Miller said the partners haven’t yet determined what stations will carry the program, but two of the partners own stations in Arizona. Scripps owns ABC15 in Phoenix and Raycom Media owns KOLD News 13 in Tucson.

MagicDust Television, producer of NASCAR Angels, one of the most successful programs in national weekend syndication, was created by a group of local television and radio professionals that include Miller; Tom Chauncey, legal counsel for the Arizona Broadcasters Association; and former KTVK executive Phil Alvidrez. Chauncey serves on the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees, a group of local media executives who advise the school, and Miller is a past president of the board. Alvidrez, a graduate of the Cronkite School, is a member of the Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame.