ASU journalism student takes 1st place in Hearst radio regional competition

March 4, 2016

An Arizona State University student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication placed first among 50 students from 30 different universities in the radio news competition at the annual Hearst Journalism Awards.

Jacob McAuliffe, a junior from Tempe, Arizona, took first place and a $2,600 award for a collection of radio stories that aired on Arizona news radio station KTAR-FM and ASU’s student-operated radio station The Blaze, KASC-AM. The win qualifies McAuliffe for the Hearst Journalism Awards Championship this June in San Francisco. Jacob McAuliffe Jacob McAuliffe Download Full Image

“It’s pretty exciting,” McAuliffe said. “I’m really thankful to the mentors that I’ve had at the Cronkite School. I wouldn’t have gotten first without the classes I've taken and student media organizations I've been a part of, which have both made me a much better radio journalist.”

McAuliffe, who serves as The Blaze’s news director, won for a range of stories that highlighted Phoenix homeless centers, a pirate radio station and ASU students who professionally play video games. Olivia Richard, a Cronkite sophomore from Azusa, California, placed 18th in the same competition for stories on the GOP debate in Colorado and searching for a homeless woman in Phoenix.

Both McAuliffe and Richard scored points for the Cronkite School in the Hearst Intercollegiate Broadcast Competition, which honors the best broadcast journalism students in the nation. The Cronkite School is currently in second place.  

“We are extremely proud of the outstanding work of Jacob and Olivia,” said Mike Wong, director of Cronkite Career Services. “Their radio news stories shed light on important regional issues. We look forward to seeing Jacob compete in the Hearst national radio news championship in San Francisco.”

The annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism, is held in 108 member universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs. The Broadcast News Competition was added in 1988 to the Program which also includes writing, photojournalism, and multimedia competitions and offers awards totaling up to $500,000 annually.

Communications manager, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication


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Spike Lee frames dialogue on education and film at ASU Gammage

Spike Lee on education and the film industry.
Spike Lee says America needs to make education cool again.
March 4, 2016

Spike Lee, who has been hailed as a visionary filmmaker, the voice of a new generation and agent provocateur on many social issues, admitted to an Arizona State University audience that his point of view is firmly rooted in “old school” values of the 20th century. 

“I’m from an era where your parents told you what to do,” Lee told a capacity crowd of 3,000 people at ASU Gammage Friday evening, many of them aspiring filmmakers and artists. “There was no discussion or debate. Whether I liked it or not, I said ‘yes.’ ”

That message seemed to resonate with the standing room only crowd who came to hear Lee discuss his views on education, politics and the film industry.

The Academy Award-nominated director known for “Do The Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” was invited by ASU’s Film SparkASU’s Film Spark is a unit of ASUs Herberger Institute for the Design and Arts., a film and media program based in Los Angeles that connects students to jobs in the entertainment industry.

Sporting a New York Yankees baseball cap, white and black polka dot jacket and black T-shirt and tennis shoes, politics and education were on the filmmakers' mind.

Lee, who praised ASU’s efforts to innovate in higher education, said he believes the state of learning has gone backward and that popular culture has glamorized the idea of “keeping it real” in favor of growing intellectualism.

Spike Lee at ASU Gammage

Spike Lee speaks to the audience during
an event at ASU Gammage on the Tempe
campus Friday, March 4, 2016. The iconic
director discussed his path into film and the
industry itself. 
Photos by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

“We never, ever made fun of anybody who was smart. You got as much love for your intelligence, as much as athletes got for sports,” said Lee, who grew up in Brooklyn the son a jazz musician father and a mother who taught arts and literature. “It’s all turned around today … it’s no longer cool to have straight A’s or pursue academics. We have to turn this around.”

Lee said his life turned around when he discovered film — or as he stated — “it found him” in the summer of 1977. That’s when he returned to Brooklyn after his first year at Morehouse College, a private, all-male, historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was a “D+, C-minus” student through his first two years.

“It wasn’t because I wasn’t smart,” Lee said. “I just wasn’t motivated.”

He got motivated during the summer break before his junior year when he found a Super 8 camera on a friend’s bedroom floor and used it to film looters during a famous electricity blackout in July, 1977. Lee assembled the footage when he went back to Morehouse and with the help and guidance of a film instructor, put together his first film, “Last Hustle in Brooklyn.”

“I finally said, ‘This is what I want to do in life’ and I am doing what I love,” Lee said. “When you do a job you love, it’s not a job anymore. Hopefully you have not chosen a degree depending on how much money you can make. The worst existence you have is to go to a job you hate. For me, that’s not living, but living paycheck to paycheck.”

Lee told aspiring filmmakers that a life in cinema is not for the weak or faint of heart.

“This business is tough. It’s tough,” said the director whose latest film “Chi-Raq” was produced by Amazon Studios. “There is no such thing as an overnight success. Don’t believe it. Whatever you do, you have to learn your craft. You gotta work, work, work.”

Lee also spoke about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that caused him to skip this year's Academy Awards ceremony. (He attended a New York Knicks game while dressed in a tuxedo — a message to the entertainment industry.)

“The Academy Awards have nothing to do with jobs, the battle is with the studios, the gatekeepers,” Lee said. “Until there’s more diversity in those areas, nothing will change … filming with diverse casts make more money but we’re not in the room where these discussions are made.”