Skip to main content

Journalism majors draw on Brown's expertise

March 05, 2007

Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown is stepping away from the camera and up to the podium as he joins prestigious faculty at ASU's Barrett, the Honors College and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

On Mondays and Wednesdays Brown co-teaches the honors seminar “Turning Points in Television News History” with Cronkite School professor William Silcock. The course covers pivotal moments in the history of TV news – everything from Edward R. Murrow's earliest TV reports to the assassination of JFK, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.

“Journalism and journalists are integral to a democratic society,” says Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett, the Honors College . “Aaron Brown is a supremely good journalist, and we jumped at the chance to have him serve as Rhodes Chair this semester.”

“To me, Aaron Brown represents the very best of broadcast journalism,” says Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “His work for many years has demonstrated that you can produce thoughtful, analytical, powerful, probing and compassionate journalism within the time constraints of television.”

This spring semester, Brown is serving as Barrett's ninth Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions. The Rhodes Chair is dedicated to deepening theoretical and practical understanding of the nature and future of a democratic society.

Brown's career as an anchor and news editor spans three decades and has covered some of the nation's biggest news stories. While working in the news industry, Brown reported on the wars in Vietnam, Bosnia and Iraq, as well as other society-changing stories, such as the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, the struggle for democracy in Haiti and the Watergate scandal. He informed the public about the two horrific earthquakes in California and examined one of the most controversial court cases in this nation's history, the O.J. Simpson trial.

There are few stories in his lifetime that he has not covered, but Brown is best remembered for his reporting on the fall of the World Trade Center buildings on Sept. 11, 2001. On the air one half-hour after the first attack and broadcasting from a roof top in lower Manhattan, Brown's coverage has been called courageous, calming and insightful.

Before arriving at ASU, Brown was the anchor and managing editor of “NewsNight” on CNN from 2001 to November 2005. From 1991 to 2001, Brown was a staff member with ABC News, where he was the founding anchor of the ABC evening program “World News Now.” Before working in the national spotlight, Brown lived in Seattle and worked for its local NBC and CBS affiliates as a reporter and anchor for 18 years. His earliest steps in becoming a world-class broadcaster began in Minneapolis at the age of 18.