Today, Moody College of Communication unveiled a major renovation to its Walter Cronkite Plaza and announced an expansion of Ben Rubin’s digital installation, And That’s The Way It Is.
The plaza, which serves as the original center of the Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex, bridging the CMA, CMB and William Randolph Hearst Student Media buildings, now has grass turf and a pergola with a retractable shade to shield the students from the hot Texas sun.
In 2012, the plaza was dedicated in honor of revered broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite, who attended The University of Texas at Austin in the 1930s and studied political science, economics and journalism. He was the anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years.
A centerpiece of the plaza is Ben Rubin’s And That’s The Way It Is, which was commissioned by Landmarks in 2012. Named for Cronkite’s CBS Evening News signoff, Rubin’s large-scale video projection illuminates the façade of CMA each evening, displaying scrolling text drawn from archival transcripts of Cronkite’s broadcasts and from recently published news. As daily news is generated, the language adapts to reflect current events, connecting the past and present.
As part of the transformation to Walter Cronkite Plaza, Moody College commissioned an update to the installation, upgrading the programming and design to reflect a much deeper archive of original Cronkite transcripts. Now, on any given date, the work pulls from that exact date in history to use Cronkite’s archival transcripts from that day for the video projection, which was Rubin’s initial vision for the piece. The transcripts are held in the archive of the Briscoe Center for American History.