March 01, 2011

Cronkite School names broadcast center in Tobins' honor

Posted: March 01, 2011

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University dedicates its sixth-floor broadcast center in honor of the late Stanley and Erika Tobin, longtime supporters of public-service journalism. 

Stanley Tobin had a driving passion for politics, law and public policy, said Kate Driesen, close friend of the Tobins and trustee of the Tobin Foundation, who attended the private ceremony to commemorate the naming.

He was a great admirer of Walter Cronkite and believed that the late “CBS Evening News” anchor epitomized the very best in high-quality, accurate, ethical and objective journalism, Driesen said. His wife was a strong advocate of education.

Upon the Tobins’ passing, the trustees of the Tobin Foundation made a $1.4 million contribution to support the broadcast center and the school named in Cronkite’s honor.

“Walter Cronkite epitomizes everything that Stan and Erica lived for,” Driesen said.

The newly renamed Stanley and Erika Tobin Broadcast Center is home to Cronkite NewsWatch, a live student-produced newscast that airs on Arizona PBS four nights a week and is broadcast to 1.2 million households.

NewsWatch students produce stories on topics not always covered elsewhere in local media, thereby providing a vital public service to Arizona residents across the state.

“We know that these students here at the Cronkite School today – as well as students for generations to come – will carry on the Tobins’ legacy of passion for higher education and public service here in the Stanley and Erika Tobin Broadcast Center,” said Dean Christopher Callahan.

At the center’s commemoration, Driesen said she was impressed with the school and admonished its students to take seriously the journalist’s calling of “writing the first draft of history.”

“You are writing the history for the next generation. That’s going to be your job. That’s a very special job,” she told students.

Callahan also addressed students, encouraging them to relish the types of stories favored by Stan Tobin: “comprehensive reporting that was objective and fair and accurate, the very kind of stories that you’re trying to put out every single day.”

Cronkite School student and senior Kylee Gauna thanked the Tobins for their support of the school and thanked mentors NewsWatch News Director Mark Lodato and NewsWatch Assistant News Director Sue Green along with the school for the education she had received.

“I truly believe there’s no other experience like this,” Gauna said. “My time here at ASU has just been remarkable. The facility, the faculty, the curriculum have just been truly incredible.” 

Archived reports produced by Cronkite NewsWatch students can be seen on cronkitenewsonline.com, which showcases professionally edited content produced by Cronkite NewsWatch and other professional experiences at Cronkite such as Cronkite News Service, which provides hard-hitting reports for use by news media statewide.