ASU professor's award-winning book promotes visual literacy

March 23, 2015

Arizona State University professor Eva Brumberger has developed a new text to offer theoretically motivated, research-supported, classroom-tested insights to faculty in a range of fields who want to help their undergraduate students develop visual literacy.

“The work of many professional communicators today requires the convergence of writing, visual communication and problem-solving skills like never before,” said Brumberger, professor of technical communication. ASU professor of technical communication Eva Brumberger Download Full Image

Think about the range of skills and decisions involved, for example, in creating an engaging website, crafting a Facebook campaign that’ll rise above the clutter, developing customer-friendly materials or trying to hammer out an infographic that brings the most salient data to life.

“Many faculty members who are now integrating visual communication into their courses have had extensive training and experience in traditional forms of verbal expression – in rhetoric, professional writing, communication and literature – but rarely in graphic design, art or visual communication more broadly,” she said.

The book, titled “Designing Texts: Teaching Visual Communication,” was recently recognized in Tampa, Florida, at the annual meeting of the world's largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, the Council on College Composition and Communication. Brumberger and co-editor Kathryn Northcut received the 2015 Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical or Scientific Communication.

Brumberger is a nationally recognized scholar in visual communication, visual literacy and the teaching of professional communication. She joined ASU in 2012 to head up the College of Letters and Sciences’ growing program in technical communication at ASU’s Polytechnic campus.

Maureen Roen

Manager, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


ASU Cronkite School alumni win Knight Foundation Innovation Grant

March 23, 2015

Four Arizona State University graduates working at news organizations across the country are recipients of the Knight-Cronkite Alumni Innovation Grant, a special journalism innovation fund for alumni of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Cronkite School alumni Nora Avery-Page of the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Lauren Gilger of ABC15 News in Phoenix, Natasha Khan of PublicSource in Pittsburgh and Kerry Oslund of Schurz Communications in Mishawaka, Indiana each received up to $15,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The alumni are the second group to receive this grant in the past year, with applications for the third round opening March 23. Cronkite alumni Download Full Image

The Knight-Cronkite Grant, created by Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen specifically for Cronkite alumni working in newsrooms, aims to disrupt the status quo in journalism and stimulate new cutting-edge technologies, practices and ideas. Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School, said the selection committee was impressed by the latest proposals from alumni.

“Our outstanding graduates are leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship at news organizations around the world,” Callahan said. “We were impressed with the trailblazing ideas proposed by Nora, Lauren, Natasha and Kerry and look forward to seeing them in action.”

Khan, a 2012 graduate who covers the environment and energy for PublicSource, will use the grant to equip families living near shale gas operations in Pennsylvania with cameras and air quality monitors to document how fracking affects quality of life. Khan plans to publish a series of multimedia stories on the collected data.

“I am very honored to be chosen for this incredible opportunity,” she said. “There are still many unanswered questions on how shale drilling affects people’s health. We at PublicSource believe this could be a turning point in the conversation in Pennsylvania and elsewhere about fracking and health.”

Gilger, a 2011 graduate, is a Peabody Award-winning investigative journalist at ABC15. She plans to use the grant to establish a digital source database that would streamline and archive news tip submissions, making it easy for reporters to locate and manage contacts and story ideas. The technology could be expanded to other newsrooms across the country.

Oslund, a 1983 graduate, is senior vice president of publishing and emerging media at Schurz Communications, a national multimedia company. He will use the funding for RedPost iBeacon applications. RedPost is a new kind of newspaper rack that is a digital display affixed atop shelves at stores. With iBeacon, it can send real-time information, including news alerts and video, to mobile devices.

“The students Dean Callahan and his A-list professors at Cronkite are sending into the media space are remarkable,” Oslund said. “With the Knight Innovation grant, we can together fast-track development of mobile proximity triggering from RedPost digital displays. Editorial teams will be able to send ultra-local push notifications and mobile messaging to the smartphones and smartwatches of people on-the-go – particularly millennials.”

Avery-Page, a 2010 graduate who serves as a reporter at the Herald and News in Oregon, will use the grant to implement an augmented reality technology that merges traditional print content with new digital features. The technology allows readers to use their smartphones with print materials to unlock dynamic features such as video or animation.

Ibargüen announced the Knight-Cronkite Alumni Innovation program during the Cronkite School’s May 2014 convocation ceremony. Ibargüen pledged $250,000 from Knight Foundation, challenging Cronkite graduates to disrupt the status quo in newsrooms. In November 2014, the Cronkite School awarded inaugural grants to National Journal correspondent Weston Phippen and Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting executive director Brandon Quester. To date, nearly $75,000 in grants have been awarded to Cronkite alumni.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More information is available at