Cronkite School lecture series to feature leading journalists, communicators

January 9, 2019

Top journalists and communicators from Bloomberg, CNBC, ESPN, Google and The Wall Street Journal are among those taking part in a spring lecture series at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

This semester’s “Must See Mondays” lecture series covers topics such as health care, innovation, sports and underreported communities as well as major new initiatives at the Cronkite School. Cronkite School This semester’s “Must See Mondays” lecture series at the Cronkite School features conversations on journalism topics, including health care, innovation, sports and underreported communities. Download Full Image

The series kicks off Jan. 14 with a panel discussion about the latest virtual tools in journalism, led by students in the Cronkite School’s New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab. Later speakers include ESPN journalist Sarah Spain, Indian Country Today editor Mark Trahant and Jessica Yu, the Doodle team lead at Google.

This year’s lecture series also will feature a number of Cronkite graduates: 2009 alumna Bailey Mosier, an on-air personality at the Golf Channel; 2012 alumnus Dan Neligh, a producer at Bloomberg; Salvador Rodriguez, technology reporter at CNBC; Stephanie Snyder, an engagement consultant at Hearken; and Dustin Volz, a cybersecurity and intelligence reporter at The Wall Street Journal.

In March, Maud Beelman, the award-winning U.S. investigations editor for The Associated Press who is joining the Cronkite School as the founding executive editor of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, will be featured. She will discuss the new Scripps Howard Foundation-funded institute and its mission to develop the next generation of investigative journalists.

“Must See Mondays” ends on April 22 with a discussion about media coverage of health issues and a new program at the Cronkite School that will provide in-depth health coverage to underserved communities across the Southwest.

“‘Must See Mondays' is a chance for our students, faculty and the community to learn about key issues and trends in journalism and communication from top professionals and innovators,” said Cronkite School Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan. “We’re especially pleased this year to showcase so many of our own graduates who are making a difference in their fields.”

Since 2008, more than 270 lecturers and panelists have participated in the lecture series. They have included Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, national and international news correspondents, public relations executives and media innovators and entrepreneurs. The talks start at 7 p.m. in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. They are free and open to the public.

Spring 2019 'Must See Mondays' schedule

Jan. 14: “Virtual Tools for Real News”

Retha Hill, director of the New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, sits down with a panel of her students to discuss the latest virtual tools for news.

Jan. 28: “The News Desert Challenge”

Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks about America’s growing “news deserts” in a discussion moderated by Mi-Ai Parrish, the Sue Clark-Johnson Professor in Media Innovation and Leadership.

Feb. 4: “New Opportunities in Sports Journalism”

Bailey Mosier, an on-air personality at the Golf Channel who graduated from the Cronkite School in 2009, explores the growing opportunities in sports journalism with moderator Brett Kurland, director of Cronkite Sports Programs and the Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau.

Feb. 11: “Covering the Uncovered: Native American Journalism”

Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, discusses the need for more news coverage in Indian Country in this talk moderated by Assistant Dean Rebecca Blatt.

Feb. 18: “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Downtown Devil and Career Paths”

Cronkite graduates from 2012 Dan Neligh, a producer at Bloomberg; Salvador Rodriguez, a technology reporter at CNBC; Stephanie Snyder, an engagement consultant at Hearken; and Dustin Volz, a cybersecurity and intelligence reporter at The Wall Street Journal, share their paths from the Downtown Devil to some of the country’s leading media organizations. The talk is moderated by Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger, Reynolds Professor in Business Journalism.

Feb. 25: “Women in Sports Media”

Sarah Spain, ESPN writer, radio host and TV personality, talks about the growth of women in sports media with moderator Paola Boivin, digital director of the Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau.

March 11: “Investigative Reporting and the New Howard Center”

Maud Beelman, the founding executive editor of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the Cronkite School, discusses the state of investigative reporting and the new center with moderator Walter V. Robinson, Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor.

March 18: “The Young Researchers”

Assistant Professors Monica Chadha, Syed Ali Hussain, K. Hazel Kwon and Sada Reed examine the latest journalism and communications research and its impact on the profession with moderator Marianne Barrett, the Louise Solheim Professor.

March 25: “Borderlands: Reporting from Peru”

Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professor Rick Rodriguez moderates a discussion with Cronkite students working on an in-depth reporting project from Peru.

April 1: “Visual Storytelling in the Digital Age”

Jessica Yu, Doodle team lead at Google, discusses the company’s popular changes to the Google logo to celebrate holidays and the lives of newsmakers as well as the importance of visual storytelling in this talk moderated by Innovation Chief Eric Newton.

April 15: “Untold Stories Around the World”

Jenna Krajeski, a freelance journalist and writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Nation and The New Republic, shares her experiences reporting from around the world in this talk moderated by Assistant Dean B. William Silcock, director of Cronkite Global Initiatives.

April 22: “Covering Health: A New Cronkite Professional Program”

Christina Leonard, executive editor of Cronkite News, moderates a discussion on health journalism with the new Robert Wood Johnson Professor in Healthcare Journalism.

Communications manager, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication


The work of writing: Bojan Louis announced as inaugural Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence

January 9, 2019

Combining the artistic space of a traditional residency with the teaching and professionalization of an academic fellowship, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to announce the Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence: a new, yearlong, full-time, benefits-eligible position presented in partnership with ASU’s Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ humanities division.

The inaugural Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence is Bojan Louis, an indigenous writer and Arizona native who graduated from the MFA program in 2009 with a focus in fiction. Picture of Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence Bojan Louis Bojan Louis (2009 MFA in fiction) is the inaugural Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence. Photo by Sara Sams Download Full Image

As a writer, educator and community organizer, Louis is uniquely qualified to serve as the center’s first fellow-in-residence. Widely published in multiple genres, Louis’ debut collection of poems, "Currents," received the American Book Award in 2018. Louis also has diverse and comprehensive experience in the classroom, having taught across the Valley since 2012. Throughout, Louis has given back to the community through extensive volunteer and organizing work, playing foundational roles in journals like Waxwing and RED INK while connecting and advocating for indigenous writers in the state of Arizona and the national field. 

While the position has some analogues and other points of reference in the academic and creative writing fields — the Stegner fellowship at Stanford University for one — the Piper fellow-in-residence is unique in spirit and design, reflecting and embodying the values of outreach, inclusion, public service and social embeddedness that distinguish ASU and its creative writing program.

Over the course of a year, the Piper fellow-in-residence will teach one creative writing course a semester to undergraduate students through the Department of English and present talks, readings and other programs for the public through the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Candidates for the fellowship are drawn exclusively from alumni of ASU’s MFA in creative writing program. 

“The English Department is delighted to welcome Bojan Louis as the inaugural Piper fellow-in-residence,” said Department Chair Krista Ratcliffe. “His teaching will support our creative writing students interested in writing poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.”

Louis’ class, “The Narrative and Poetic Forms of Work and Apprenticeship” is a multi-genre creative writing and English literature undergraduate class exploring the narratives, themes and poetics of what it means to work. In modern society, Louis explains, it’s easy to forget the people who build and design the products and experiences we enjoy.

“So the texts I had in mind are these people who are involved in work and have sort of vainglorious dreams of becoming something more, or not. Maybe they don’t want to, or maybe they’re just stuck. The poetic stuff is getting into the language of work and how we use terminology and words, (and) how they affect not just the person working with them but the audience or people they’re directed at. So through this I want my students to then become apprentices of taking apart these stories to sort of write their own.”

As a nontraditional student from a working-class background — Louis spent years working as a general contractor and electrician before entering the MFA program at the age of 26 and continued with the profession throughout graduate school and his own teaching — he hopes the class will create a haven for people who may not feel comfortable in academic spaces. 

“There’s such a disconnect between this working class and intellectualism,” Louis said. “Especially with this sort of presidency, this divide has gotten really big. Sometimes we throw all of these terms around in the academy like equity and unity and diversity and intersectionality, and at some point it stops meaning anything once you get outside of the academic circle.”

While Louis is still thinking about his programs, he’s already figuring out ways to empower young people, particularly those who come from community colleges or are otherwise nontraditional students. 

“How do we create conversations with people who might feel invisible?” he asked. “And before that, how do we get to students who are interested in community college and don’t know what to do? A lot of this comes with self-reflection, so giving them a moment or a workshop where they can self-reflect, so it’s not me telling them what to do or being all motivational, but asking them who they are and what they see.”

Louis is also thinking about a translation project with the Navajo Nation as a way to continue and advance his work with Native American communities. 

Whatever they end up being, Louis’ programs will be developed organically as the fellowship unfolds, as Louis and the center assess various community needs.

“His initiatives are by purpose designed to be new to the world,” explained Alberto Ríos, a Regents’ Professor of English who directs the Piper Center. “They’re going to, I hope, startle us in the obviousness of how good they are — they’ve been right in front of us all this time, and now we get to act on them. It’s rare today to be able to get the wherewithal to do something that isn’t already being done. They’re going to take some thinking through.”

Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is excited about the new fellowship's possibilities.

“I believe that the best future for the humanities involves working to ensure that the field better resembles and resonates with the students attending universities like ASU — students who represent the future of the United States,” he said. “They deserve a humanities that attends to them — and talented writers like Bojan Louis are creating exactly that.”

Jake Friedman

Coordinator, Virginia G. Piper for Creative Writing