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Cronkite School’s “Hooked” heroin documentary wins top honors


NORTH VALLEY – A statewide TV special exploring the deadly rise of heroin use in Arizona, created by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, received two of the region’s top professional honors at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards.

“Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” produced by the Cronkite School, won an Emmy in the category of “Societal Concerns – Program/Special.” The documentary, which was watched by an estimated 1 million Arizonans, also won the Governors Award, marking the first time a journalism school has won these prestigious honors, typically reserved for professional media organizations.

Arizona PBS, which is operated by the Cronkite School, took home two other Rocky Mountain Emmys. “Check, Please! Arizona,” a popular local restaurant review program, won in the category of “Interview/Discussion – Program/Special or Series” for the fourth time in five years.

Arizona PBS producer Jen Burke won an Emmy Award for a second consecutive year for her work on the weekly arts series “ArtBeat Nation” in the category of “Arts/Entertainment” for the segment “Alabaster Stone Carvers.” The eight-minute piece profiles a local couple who hand gather rare colored and translucent alabasters from the southwestern desert and carve them into remarkable and unusual pieces of art. In 2014, Burke won the Emmy for the "ArtBeat Nation" segment “Tin Can Art.”

The awards were presented by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Oct. 17 at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.

The Emmy-winning “Hooked,” produced in partnership with the Arizona Broadcasters Association, traces the rise of heroin use and its impact in Arizona. More than 70 students and eight faculty members at the Cronkite School worked on the project under the direction of Cronkite professor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.

“To be recognized with two of the region’s top professional broadcast news awards is a testament to the tremendous work of our outstanding students and faculty,” said Cronkite School Dean and Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan. “We are extremely proud of their accomplishments, and we will continue to cover the stories that are important to Arizonans.”

In the Student Emmy Awards portion of the ceremony, Cronkite students dominated the competition, winning eight of the 11 awards. Cronkite News, which reaches an estimated 1.9 million households on Arizona PBS, won the Student Emmy Award for best newscast. Cronkite students also took home awards in categories including “News General Assignment,”  “Sports,”  “Public Affairs/Community Service,” and “Talent.”