Elon News Network's broadcast show captures ‘Best of Festival’ honors
Students from the School of Communications and Interactive Media master’s program were recognized in this year's Broadcast Education Association's Festival of Media Arts, capturing several top accolades. They will be honored at the association's annual conference April 22-25 in Las Vegas.
“Elon Local News,” the broadcast news show of Elon News Network, was awarded a top prize in the Broadcast Education Association's 2017 Festival of Media Arts. The weekly evening newscast was one of just 17 faculty and student works chosen to receive a BEA “Best of Festival” King Foundation Award, selected from a pool of more than 1,450 entries, representing over 175 colleges and universities.
“Elon Local News” was recognized in the Student News Competition’s Television Category on the strength of its Oct. 31, 2016, broadcast. The Halloween night telecast featured an investigative report into accessibility issues at Alamance County voting sites, a recap of student concerns with the campus food provider, and an update on the renovations in McEwen Communications Building. The award was presented to the newscast’s staff, led by Erik Webb '19 (producer), Elizabeth Bilka '18 (executive producer), Daniel MacLaury '18 (director) and Ashley Bohle '17 (broadcast news director).
“This show is a great example of students finding news of interest to their audience,” said Rich Landesberg, “Elon Local News” faculty mentor. “They didn’t wait for a press release. They didn’t wait for an announcement. They discovered those things that have relevance and interest and meaning to our audience.”
Landesberg singled out the show’s investigative report, compiled by journalism major Andrew Feather ’17, for its depth and breadth. “Andrew’s piece was a good exploration of a topic that many of us don’t think about: How do individuals with disabilities partake in the most important part of our political system, which is voting on Election Day,” he said. “Andrew pointed out problems which then led to government solutions, and that’s what an effective reporter does.”
Landesberg commended the entire Elon News Network organization, which includes “Elon Local News” and The Pendulum, for a successful merger last fall to “form a greater news organization.” Despite the hurdles that accompanied the organization’s restructuring, as well as relocation to a new newsroom, the staff continued to produce good work.
“While there have been some hurdles along the way, we’ve shown that we can overcome obstacles to produce some really fine journalism. And this award shows once again why journalism, especially television journalism, is a team sport,” Landesberg said. “No one person won this award. This award is shared amongst our staff, all of whom work hard every day.”
“Best of Festival” winners will be honored at the 15th annual BEA "Best of Festival" King Foundation Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 24.
Elon earns three additional awards
A group of eight students enrolled in the 2016 Interactive Media master’s program were awarded a tie for first place in the festival’s Student Interactive Multimedia Competition, Large Team Category. The students were recognized for the new website they created for Alegría Gri Grí, a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of people in Río San Juan, Dominican Republic.
In January 2016, the students traveled to Río San Juan for 10 days to collect media, then develop a new website that promotes awareness of the organization’s mission and facilitates online donations. The student group included 2016 iMedia graduates Tim Babiasz, Haley Burton, Richard Clegg, Caranita Harrelson, Jordynn McKnight, Taylor Smith, Kaitlyn Stahl and Lexi Veara.
Another 2016 iMedia group tied for third place in the Student Interactive Multimedia Competition. The seven-person team traveled to Belize to gather media content for Cornerstone Foundation, a community development organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth and adults in San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Belize.
Once back stateside, the team developed an interactive website to help support the foundation's mission and improve its online presence. iMedia graduates involved in the project included Kelly Foran, Michael Garland, Erin Turner, Carolyn Crenshaw, Tarah Holland, Tereza Novotna and Sayantan Purkayastha.
Lastly, the Elon student project “ADzMAN – ‘Serenity’” earned a third-place tie in the Student Video Competition's Music Video Category. The winning group featured Eric Hernandez ’16 (director), Daniel Spiller ’15 (producer), Rhett Lawson ’17 (camera) and Mia Ginea Watkins ’16 (editor).