Eunson Award Ceremony honors alumna Tracye Hutchins, distinguished lecturer Aristide Economopoulos

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Fleeing for his life when the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, photojournalist Aristide Economopoulos continued to take photos.

Economopoulos, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, and is this year’s recipient of the Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) School of Communication Eunson Award for Distinguished Lecturer, was only fifty yards from the tower when it began to fall.

“I turned and ran the fastest I’ve ever ran in my life,” Economopoulos said.

Recipient of the Eunson Alumni Achievement Award was 1992 NAU alumna Tracye Hutchins who earned a bachelor of arts in broadcast journalism.

The Eunson Award is named for Robert Eunson, a 1936 graduate of Arizona State Teachers College of Flagstaff (now NAU).  Eunson spent the early part of his journalism career as a war correspondent, covering both the Second World War and the Korean conflict.  At the time of his death in 1975, Eunson served as assistant general manager of the Associated Press (AP) and its vice president for broadcast.

While stating that it felt “surreal” to be back at NAU, Hutchins recalled a fondness for the campus and her time spent in Flagstaff.

“My college years were some of the best that I’ve had,” Hutchins said.

After graduation, Hutchins began her broadcast career in Iowa, the 201st market in the nation.

“You gotta start somewhere. I started way at the bottom,” Hutchins said.

From there she traveled from San Diego to CNN.  She now co-hosts the Atlanta CBS affiliates morning program, “Better Mornings Atlanta.” In between jobs, she has covered the Columbia Space Shuttle explosion and the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Economopoulos is a staff photographer for the Newark Star-Ledger.  He has covered the earthquake in Haiti, the conflict in Northern Ireland and Hurricane Sandy.

Justice cannot be done in recounting the effect of his slideshow and the retelling Economopoulos gave of his time during the 9/11 disaster.  There were no pictures of the fall of the North Tower; there were pictures of the people and first responders as they were on that day.

“The story about 9/11 was not about the towers; it was about the people,” Economopoulos said.

Drawing from her experience, Hutchins gave what she felt the best piece of advice she could offer to those entering the very small world of broadcast journalism.

“Never, ever burn your bridges,” Hutchins said.



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