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Republic editor named to Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame

October 03, 2008

The executive editor of The Arizona Republic, Nicole Carroll, is the newest member of the Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame.

Carroll, who graduated from the Cronkite School in 1991, was named to the Republic’s No. 2 newsroom position earlier this year. At age 40, she is one of the youngest executive editors of a major metropolitan newspaper.

 “It’s remarkable how much Nicole Carroll has accomplished in journalism already,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. “She’s a rising star in journalism, and we’re honored to include her in the school’s Hall of Fame.”

Carroll said she fell in love with journalism in middle school in Canyon, Texas, when she decided to start a school newspaper. She reported, typed up the stories, made the copies and delivered them.

While serving as yearbook editor at Deer Valley High School, she and other promising journalism students toured Arizona State University. Carroll decided that ASU was for her, but she said she was reluctant to declare a major in journalism.

“I thought it was too competitive,” she said, so she decided to major in education instead. But a tryout for The State Press, ASU’s independent student newspaper, changed her mind.

The paper sent Carroll and a regular staff member to cover the same event. The editors liked Carroll’s story so much, they ran it instead of the staff member’s and hired her on the spot.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this,’” she said.

Carroll went on to become editor of the opinions page, The State Press Magazine and the ASU yearbook. She also was an intern at both the Phoenix Gazette and the East Valley Tribune.

After graduation, she took a job covering the police beat for the El Paso (Texas) Times. Two years later, she was loaned to USA TODAY, where she covered teen issues for the features section. She then moved to Gannett’s national newspaper for children and began working on her master’s degree in liberal studies at Georgetown University.

She later worked as a graphics reporter for USA TODAY, gathering information that was turned into some of the paper’s signature graphics. Carroll said she ended up working on big stories, including the crash of TWA Flight 800 and the bombing at the summer Olympic games in Atlanta.

In 1997 Carroll moved back to Phoenix and began working for the East Valley Tribune newspaper as assistant city editor, metro editor and assistant managing editor for news. A year later, just after she gave birth to twins, the Republic hired her as an assistant city editor.

At the Republic, Carroll moved up the ladder quickly. After a succession of jobs ranging from city editor to managing editor for features, she was named executive editor in February, a job that puts her in charge of enterprise, local news, features and entertainment, online and new product development.

Carroll said she never planned to become an editor of her hometown newspaper, “but I’m happy to be here,” she said.

She said some of the most important journalistic lessons she learned were while a student at the Cronkite School, which is why, she said, she’s thrilled to be named to the school’s Hall of Fame.

“I remember getting failed in (beginning news writing) if you misspelled a name,” she said. “That’s something I carry with me to this day.”

If she’s found success, it’s because she has “always found ways to make things happen,” Carroll said.  “I look for ways to help people meet their goals.”

Carroll is the 41st member of the Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame. She joins ABC sportscaster Al Michaels, Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Don Podesta, Wall Street Journal correspondent Pamela Sebastian, Fox11–Los Angeles anchor Christine Devine, ABC News correspondent Bill Redeker and USA TODAY travel reporter Jayne Clark, among others.