Hundreds of Walter Cronkite School alumni, undergrads and prospective students attended the first Cronkite Day on Friday.
The event featured more than 25 panels, workshops and presentations and was a product of the Cronkite National Board of Advisors. The board, formed in April 2010, consists of 10 Cronkite School alumni.
On Thursday, when registration was capped, more than 750 people had registered for the event, events coordinator Megan Calcote said. More were expected to show up at the event, but there was no estimate of overall attendance.
“It was exciting to see everyone there, having a good time, and we’re excited to start planning for next year,” Calcote said.
Linda Kauss, deputy managing editor for USA Today and member of the National Board of Advisors, said the idea for Cronkite Day was first suggested about a year ago.
“We wanted something where alums could reconnect,” Kauss said. “There isn’t a lot of outreach with the Cronkite School and this was an opportunity for support and networking. The event grew to celebrate the Cronkite School.”
Calcote said the Board of Advisors brought the idea for Cronkite Day to her in February because the board wanted to be more active and connect alumni across the country and world to the school.
“Our main goal was to get alumni into the new facility to see how much the program has changed since they went to school here. It’s also good for current students to make connections and build a support network of people in the industry,” Calcote said.
Kauss, who served as the moderator for the Covering Politics: Election 2012 panel, said the benefits of Cronkite Day are twofold, in terms of its impact on both alumni and current Cronkite School students.
“Attendees have an opportunity to learn from each other. The event exists to find and inform alumni and encourage them to visit, but current students also have valuable networking opportunities as well,” Kauss said.
Jeff Kida, photo editor for Arizona Highways Magazine, said it was exciting to connect with old friends and classmates and see the up-and-coming talent being produced by the Cronkite School.
“I think there’s a valuable exchange of ideas taking place at this event. It’s an exciting event,” Kida said.
Dave Seibert, multimedia producer at the Arizona Republic, said he saw the event as being most beneficial for prospective students.
“Cronkite Day has potential as a recruitment tool. If anybody came here and saw this in action, they would definitely want to attend the Cronkite School,” Seibert said.
Current and prospective students could see first-hand what people can do with a journalism degree, journalism freshman Daniel Santa Cruz said.
“Besides the networking, I think that was a big benefit of Cronkite Day. Students could see where they might be in five or 10 years,” Santa Cruz said.
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