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Cronkite School announces American Public Media partnership

January 12, 2012

A new partnership between American Public Media (APM) and Arizona State University will help foster collaborative reporting and innovative storytelling in public affairs journalism.

The first phase of the partnership will bring Linda Fantin, APM’s director of network journalism and innovation, and Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president of digital innovation, to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as visiting professionals during the spring semester. Download Full Image

Fantin and Alvarado will lead a class on public insight reporting for radio in which students report and produce stories of national interest and regional relevance. The students’ work will be featured on national programs, air on local public radio stations and include story elements suitable for Web, mobile and social media outlets. 

The class, which will combine creative storytelling with in-depth public affairs reporting, will make use of APM’s Public Insight Network, an industry-leading crowd-sourcing platform that allows journalists to engage their audiences as expert sources.

In addition, David Brancaccio, one of the hosts of APM’s daily business and economics show “Marketplace,” will come to the Cronkite School in January as a Hearst Visiting Professional. During his time at Cronkite, Brancaccio will speak to students as part of the school’s “Must See Mondays” speaker series and visit classes.  

“The work being done by American Public Media is some of the best journalism happening in America today,” said Mark Lodato, assistant dean and news director at Cronkite. “Some of our brightest students have a great interest in practicing journalism through public radio. Linda Fantin, Joaquin Alvarado and their colleagues will enrich the Cronkite curriculum by sharing innovative newsgathering techniques and best practices in radio storytelling.”

Lodato added that he expects more opportunities for Cronkite students in the future as the partnership grows.

Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media, said that the organization is “proud to partner with Arizona State University’s Cronkite School to begin building important bridges between public media and the next generation of journalists. This partnership represents two great centers of innovation coming together to explore opportunities to better engage diverse communities in news reporting.”

Founded in 2003, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network is a platform for connecting trusted journalists with knowledgeable individuals and for fostering journalistic excellence, innovation and collaboration. Through PIN, more than 140,000 sources inform reporting at 60 news organizations, through websites, social networks, blogs, surveys, virtual forums, serious games and face-to-face interactions. Their demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database, allowing journalists to do smart, targeted crowd-sourcing and identify trends. Public Insight Network was founded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is funded in part today by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

With 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students, the Cronkite School is one of the largest and most recognized journalism schools in the country. Faculty include a number of former top editors and media leaders, including Leonard Downie Jr. of The Washington Post; Tim McGuire of the Minneapolis Star Tribune; Retha Hill of Black Entertainment Television Interactive; Rick Rodriguez of the Sacramento Bee; William K. Marimow of The Philadelphia Inquirer, National Public Radio and The Baltimore Sun; Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News; and Aaron Brown of CNN. The school’s professional programs include multimedia news bureaus in Phoenix and Washington as well as labs devoted to innovation and entrepreneurship, broadcast news and public relations.

A 'Quick Fix' to combat obesity

January 12, 2012

The struggle to eat healthy for many Americans has expanded as fast as our waistlines. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about one-third (33.8 percent) of adults are considered obese, while nearly 12.5 million (17 percent) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese. The dramatic increase in obesity over the past 20 years has created an urgency to educate the public on proper dietary habits coupled with regular exercise.

Obesity contributes to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Fighting obesity can prevent these medical conditions and also lessen the risks to ensure a lasting life. "Healthy eating is not complicated, hard or expensive,” said Robin Miller who hosts a program on cable TV. “It's a balance between a variety of different foods: complex carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables." Food Network host Robin Miller Download Full Image

Last November, Robin Miller, host of Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller on the Food Network, conducted cooking demonstration and answered questions from attendees on how to create quick healthy meals at an event sponsored by the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion and College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Miller earned her master's degree in food and nutrition from New York University, has written nine cookbooks dedicated to healthy eating and is a contributing writer to a number of publications including Cooking Light. Her current book, "Robin Takes 5,” contains 500 recipes that use five ingredients or less, are 500 calories or less and can be made five nights a week.

Growing up, Miller gained an appreciation of good food from her mother who would garden in the family’s huge backyard. “Our food was from the garden to the dinner table. I grew up with healthy good food and exercise. I would go outside to play until it was dark.”

As a busy athlete at college, Miller mostly relied on her roommates to prepare less than nutritious meals. While she maintained a strong understanding of nutrition, it wasn’t until she was living on her own that she truly began to be passionate about cooking and fixing healthy meals.

Her first book, “The Newlywed Cookbook,” was a compilation of recipes for newly wed couples to create easy meals, which also included a guide to common cookware and a spice index for novices in the kitchen. “As a new wife, I was unsure of the difference between a sauce pan and a skillet or which spices I should be using. I thought, if I have this problem, then maybe others do, too,” Miller said.

As her life changed from a young wife to a full-time working mom with two boys, she learned to relate to many families who struggle with time constraints to get dinner on the table. Her approach today is to create “stress free meals” by cooking pastas, chicken or rice ahead of time. When it comes to meal times, it’s a matter of assembling or reheating and serving a fast nutritious and delicious dinner.

With obesity getting the national spotlight individuals can become confused with slick advertising for pills and shakes that promise to eliminate fat fast. Miller simply stated, “There is no fast fix.” She does suggest people take steps today towards a lifestyle they can live with. Miller believes it’s important for individuals not to give up anything you can’t live without and don’t take on an exercise regime you know you’re not going to sustain.

According to the nutritionist and TV host, being healthy can and should be a family effort, and it’s something many modern families lost along the way. She’s firm in the belief that parents need to instill healthy habits in their children by being good role models. This can include exercising together as a family by taking an evening walk or cooking together so kids can appreciate food preparation.

Learning to be healthy shouldn’t stop in the home. Miller suggests middle and high schools should include nutrition classes that combine an understanding of how to eat and how to prepare wholesome foods. That early education should also be extended to the college level so young adults, who are on their own for the first time, can be reminded of the importance of healthy eating.

Obesity cannot be fixed overnight but Robin’s insights allow time-strapped Americans the ability to embrace a healthier life in an attainable approach. By being a role model, children can learn smart habits. Busy families can enjoy a healthy meal by preparing ingredients ahead of time and avoiding processed foods. “When you cook at home you can control what is going in your mouth and body. And that will ultimately help your weight,” said Miller.

Contributed by Laurie Trowbridge.