Arizona PBS will be part of ASU journalism school

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona PBS will officially become part of Arizona State University's journalism school in downtown Phoenix next week, the school announced Thursday.

The public television station has a 53-year history with ASU, mostly on the school's Tempe campus.

It will be moving from the university's Office of Public Affairs to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, officials said.

Arizona PBS operates three television channels along with a website. It will become part of the Cronkite school on Tuesday.

Arizona PBS will begin to serve as a "teaching hospital" for journalism students, university officials said. The Cronkite school plans to add new immersion programs in business and sports reporting within the next six months.

Arizona PBS reaches nearly 2 million households and has a weekly viewership of more than 1 million, ASU officials said.

Out of the 170 PBS stations nationwide, 57 are university-run, Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan said. But very few are run by college journalism programs.

"It's going to be a much more integrated, organic approach," Callahan said. "What we'll spend the summer doing is collecting information on how these two enterprises operate."

Callahan said he anticipates the school being able to offer expanded and redesigned programs in the fall. The school also wants to amplify the station's daily public affairs programming.

"This could be a test bed of new ideas," Callahan said.

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville has a similar relationship with the PBS affiliate there, said the school's dean, Diane McFarlin. She applauded ASU's announcement.

"ASU is doing so many things well," McFarlin said. "I'm sure they'll figure ways to do this even better. It's exciting they're going to have this kind of opportunity."

Publicly owned TV stations make for better "living labs" for enterprising college students, McFarlin said. "It affords all sorts of opportunities for discovery and experimentation that private affiliates simply can't have," she said.

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