New grant brings latest broadcast technology to ASU journalism school

Starting this fall, Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will report live from across the state using cutting-edge technology, thanks to a new grant from Women & Philanthropy, a program of the ASU Foundation for A New American University.

The Cronkite School received the grant in support of a new initiative called Access Across Arizona, which will make it possible for students to more easily report news from Arizona’s rural and remote regions. The school will use the grant funds to acquire a mobile video transmitter for live broadcast reports and pre-recorded video from the field. Cronkite is one of a handful of schools in the country to offer this new technology to students.

"The Access Across Arizona initiative will greatly enhance and expand the ability of our students to cover areas of Arizona that are too often underrepresented by the media,” said Mark Lodato, Cronkite School assistant dean and news director.

The Cronkite School is one of four ASU programs to recently be awarded grants by Women & Philanthropy, which this year distributed more than $300,000 to fund arts entrepreneurship, biomedicine, engineering outreach and journalistic access. Since its inception 11 years ago, the philanthropic group has awarded $2.57 million in grants to 71 ASU programs and initiatives.

“The Women & Philanthropy grant process allows this dynamic group of women to have a significant, collective impact on ASU each year. Additionally, the site evaluations and finalist presentations provide a critical opportunity for them to become more engaged with the students, faculty and top initiatives of the university,” said Michele Rebeor, assistant vice president of engagement programs and director of Women & Philanthropy. “We are thrilled to award this grant to the Cronkite School, and we look forward to seeing its impact across Arizona.”

Christopher Callahan, Cronkite School dean and university vice provost, said he sincerely appreciates the continued support from Women & Philanthropy in helping train the next generation of journalists and communicators.

“Women & Philanthropy plays a critical role in supporting ASU, inspiring and empowering women as visionary investors and connecting the community with the university’s many offerings,” Callahan said. “The group has been a tremendous champion of our school through its support of innovative programs and experiences for our students, and we couldn’t be more grateful for this new gift.”

In 2013, Women & Philanthropy helped fund the Cronkite School’s Carnegie-Knight News21 student investigation into the battles facing post-9/11 women veterans as they returned home from war. Previously, the group funded a news van that brings the Cronkite School journalism experience into high school classrooms.

Through Access Across Arizona, ASU journalism students will use a Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitter for Cronkite News Service, an immersive professional program in which students produce multimedia news stories that are widely used by professional media outlets across Arizona, and Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s award-winning television newscast that reaches 1.9 million households on Arizona PBS.

Lodato said students will be able to use the transmitter to report live anywhere in Arizona, from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Navajo reservation. And that means Arizonans living in metropolitan areas will have a better understanding of the state’s smaller communities, he said.

The Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitter fits into a backpack and transmits broadcast-quality live video at a fraction of the cost and complexity of satellite and microwave trucks. In addition to the transmitter, the grant supports a broadcast server, software and accessories.

Women & Philanthropy is part of ASU's Foundation for a New American University. The group inspires and empowers accomplished women to become visionary investors through a collective, significant force supporting a range of ASU activities, including research, educational and health care initiatives, community outreach programs and student scholarships.