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'Washington Week' moderator, Travel Channel president headline Cronkite speaker series

January 14, 2013

The moderator of PBS’s “Washington Week,” the president of the Travel Channel, a documentary filmmaker and a bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires are among those headlining a speaker series this spring at Arizona State University.

The events are part of the “Must See Mondays” series, which brings prominent media and communication professionals to ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The series kicks off tonight with FOX 10 anchor John Hook speaking about interviewing President Obama. Download Full Image

Following Hook are speakers including Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week”; Laureen Ong, president of the Travel Channel; Peter Byck, director and producer of the documentary “Carbon Nation”; Angel Gonzalez, Houston bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires; Discovery Studios producer and Cronkite alumnus Rob Hammersley; and Poynter Institute faculty member Sara Quinn. They will speak on topics ranging from digital media and community journalism to travel writing and political reporting.

The talks, which are free and open to the public, take place from 7 to 8 p.m. each Monday of the semester in the school’s First Amendment Forum on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Attendees can blog about the events and share insights on the school’s blog, Cronkite Conversations, at Videos of past speakers can be viewed online at

The Cronkite School also hosts “Cronkite Night at the Movies,” a journalism-themed film series, at 7 p.m., Wednesdays, in the First Amendment Forum. Cronkite faculty and staff introduce the movies and then lead discussions after the showings.

In addition, on Jan. 17, the Cronkite School and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will host “Thinking Past the Present,” a national event at which the 2013 Knight News Challenge mobile winners will be announced. There were more than 2,500 entries for the mobile news challenge, part of the Knight Foundation’s program to encourage breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners will receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from the Knight network.

Spring 2013 “Must See Mondays” Schedule:

Jan. 14, “Interviewing the President”
John Hook, anchor, FOX 10, KSAZ-TV, Phoenix

Jan. 22 (special Tuesday presentation), “The Making of a Documentary”
Peter Byck, director and producer, “Carbon Nation”

Jan. 28, “The Future of What It Means to Be Human – and The Prevail Project”
Joel Garreau, Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values, ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and director, The Prevail Project

Feb. 4, “Journalism and the American Underclass”
Leon Dash, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and University of Illinois professor

Feb. 11, “Adventures in Community Journalism”
Mark Zusman, editor, Willamette Week

Feb. 18, “Evolution of Cause Marketing”
Scott Pansky, co-founder and senior partner, Allison+Partners

Feb. 25, “Becoming a Global Journalist”
Angel Gonzalez, Houston bureau chief, Dow Jones Newswires

March 4, “Covering the Olympics”
Featuring a panel of Cronkite student reporters

March 18, “Real-life TV”
Rob Hammersley, producer, Discovery Studios

March 25, “Visual Storytelling”
Sara Quinn, faculty member, The Poynter Institute

April 1, “Diversity and Inclusion in the News”
Gwen Ifill, managing editor and moderator, “Washington Week”
This presentation is part of ASU’s Diversity Scholar Series.

April 8, “Bricks & Bytes: Political Activism in the Social Media Age”
Merlyna Lim, Distinguished Scholar of Technology and Public Engagement and director, Participatory Media Lab, Arizona State University

April 15, “Build It, Fix It, Reimagine It – Your Business and Your Career”
Laureen Ong, president, Travel Channel

April 22, “Canada and Puerto Rico: Reporting Abroad”
Featuring a panel of Cronkite depth reporting students

Spring 2013 “Cronkite Night at the Movies” Schedule:

Jan. 16, “Cronkite:  Legend and Legacy”
Hosted by Melanie Alvarez, executive producer of Cronkite NewsWatch, and Jim Jacoby, Cronkite NewsWatch television production manager

Jan. 30, “Almost Famous”
Hosted by Andrew Leckey, Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism

Feb. 20, “Nothing But the Truth”
Hosted by Sue Green, assistant news director and broadcast director, Cronkite News Service

March 20, “The Newsroom”
Hosted by Marianne Barrett, senior associate dean and Solheim Professor

April 24, Student Showcase
Hosted by Mark Lodato, assistant dean and news director

For a full schedule of events, visit Cronkite Events at

Reporter , ASU Now


Levine named co-director of Mayo Clinic/ASU Obesity Solutions Initiative

January 15, 2013

James A. Levine, professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic and a world-renowned leader in obesity research and child advocacy, has been named co-director of the Mayo Clinic/Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative. 

Levine has been appointed a tenured professor in ASU’s School of the Science of Health Care Delivery in the College of Health Solutions, as well as in the School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Biological and Health Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He also will continue as a professor at Mayo Clinic Dr. James Levine Download Full Image

The obesity initiative, co-directed by ASU Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth D. Phillips, will move beyond traditional modes of doing medicine and science, applying new approaches that are more multi-faceted, trans-disciplinary, innovative and agile. The goal is to develop simple solutions that work for real people in the real world. Researchers will seek to understand how different facets of obesity impact each other – from surgical solutions, to helping someone talking with their doctor about how to eat better, to creating walkable neighborhoods and promoting thoughtful global food policy.

Levine is an international expert on obesity. In the United States, he has been an invitee to the President’s Panel and the State Department. Internationally, he has consulted with governments around the world. 

The author of the non-fiction work “Move A Little Lose A Lot,” he has published more than 150 articles on building effective solutions to obesity for adults and children, including five in the journals Science and Nature. His research has focused on physiological, technological and environmental approaches to help people become more active, decrease cardiovascular risk and become healthier. He has developed multiple body-worn devices that measure physical activity and caloric intake, and the desk treadmill, which is in use in some ASU offices. 

He also has crusaded against the abuse of children, and his international best-selling novel about childhood prostitution, "The Blue Notebook," has been published in 27 languages in 34 countries and has effected policy changes concerning child prostitution. 

“Obesity is perhaps that fastest spreading epidemic in the United States, threatening the health of young and old alike.  It is exactly the kind of challenge that ASU, as the New American University, must undertake,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “The Mayo Clinic/ASU Obesity Solutions Initiative, another innovative partnership between ASU and Mayo Clinic, will make tangible and significant headway in solving this challenge. One glance at James Levine’s credentials and it is obvious that there is no one better to help lead this effort.”

“Jim Levine is a highly creative entrepreneurial scientist who energizes all of us to do our best and make progress on the problem of obesity,” said Philips. “He crosses many disciplines and fields, a true Renaissance man. We are thrilled he has joined us.”

“Only by many societal actors marching together – as one – will we solve obesity,” said Levine. “We can reverse obesity and we must.”

“Together, Mayo Clinic and ASU are poised to advance research in obesity solutions, to provide education about preventing obesity and to care for patients suffering from obesity. Dr. Levine’s connection to both Mayo and ASU will be a crucial component of our work together,” says Wyatt W. Decker, CEO, Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Levine received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London, and doctor of philosophy and doctor of medicine degrees from the Royal Free Hospital and was the Elmore Medical Research Scholar at the University of Cambridge, UK. He did postgraduate internships at the Royal Free Hospital (in medicine), Wellhouse Trust (in surgery) and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (in internal medicine), where he also was a fellow in endocrinology.

He became a senior associate consultant in endocrinology, nutrition and internal medicine at Mayo in 1998 and later became a professor of medicine (2004), the Richard Emslander Professor of Nutrition and Metabolism (2006), professor of physiology (2007) and professor of bioengineering (2007). He continues to hold all four positions Mayo Clinic.

Levine has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 30 federal grants and contracts. In addition, Levine has won more than three dozen awards across a range of disciplines, including nutrition, biomedical research, tropical medicine, surgery, endocrinology, cardiology and journalism.

Levine is a member of the Board of the International Society for Missing and Exploited Children. In 2010, Doctors Without Borders commissioned him to visit people living with SIDA (AIDS) in Kinshasa, where the novella he wrote, "Makass," appeared in a collection, "Dignita," with Mario Vargus Llosa, the Nobel laureate. His team has a keen focus on underserved communities with a particular reference to poverty and he has worked with the Native American and Hispanic communities. 

Sharon Keeler

associate director, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering