Elon students capture three first-place awards in BEA competition
School of Communications students earned a total of five awards in the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts.
Highlighted by three first-place finishes, five entries submitted by School of Communications students received awards in the 2018 Broadcast Education Association's (BEA) Festival of Media Arts. This year’s festival, open to BEA faculty and student members, received more than 1,540 entries, representing more than 175 colleges and universities.
“Elon Local News,” Elon News Network’s broadcast news show, captured first place in the festival’s Television Newscast (3 days per week or less) category. The weekly newscast was recognized for its Oct. 2, 2017, episode, which featured coverage of the Las Vegas concert shooting, a Burlington abortion protest, Elon residence hall vandalism and WSOE’s 40th anniversary.
Associate Professor Rich Landesberg, faculty mentor of “Elon Local News,” praised his student team for its swift reaction to the Las Vegas mass shooting and how the new organization conveyed the topic to its campus audience.
“This show was particularly challenging for our students,” he said. “There was a huge national story – one of the worst mass shootings in American history – and it happened the night before our show. We had to find out how to cover the story so that it was relevant to our audience, which was 2,500 miles away. And our students figured out a way to localize the story and to give it great meaning and significance in a way that a network newscast or even a local newscast couldn’t do. We showed how our newscast can serve our community, Elon University and the greater Elon/Burlington area.”
Elizabeth Bilka ’18 was the newscast’s executive producer, and Brooke Wivagg ’18 and Paul LeBlanc ’18 served as producer and news director, respectively. Rachel Ellis ’19 and Perry Elyaderani ’18 anchored the show.
“30 Minutes,” the news program created as part of the School of Communications’ “60 Minutes” Master Class, earned first place in the Television News Magazine category. The Elon entry prevailed over competition from the University of Oklahoma, the University of Southern California and the University of Maryland.
The May 2017 broadcast included in-depth reporting on a 73-year-old transgender activist from Charlotte, a Greensboro amateur football team consisting of female players, and two Greensboro mothers raising awareness about gun violence following the deaths of their sons.
Landesberg, who taught the spring 2017 course, applauded his resilient class for its persistent reporting and willingness to accept criticism. As part of the course, the students spent three days in New York City, with stops at ABC’s “Good Morning America” and MSNBC, and participated in a 90-minute project critique with “60 Minutes” Executive Producer Jeff Fager and Senior Producer Michael Radutzky.
With what Landesberg called “some serious critique” from Fager and Radutzky, “the students built up their pieces, got them knocked down, built them back up … and eventually came up with this award-winning show,” he said.
Landesberg noted the class’ nine students had an array of professional aspirations, from journalism to cinema production and political science. This eclectic makeup helped produce “three fascinating pieces,” the professor said.
“30 Minutes” executive producers were Zachary Bocian ’17 and Ashley Bohle ’17. Jacob LaPlante ’17 and Lauren Duncan ’18 served as lead production managers.
Interactive Media graduate Kelly Dunville G’17 was Elon’s final first-place finisher, with her interactive digital magazine winning the Student Interactive Media and Emerging Technologies Competition’s solo category. For her thesis project in the iMedia program, Dunville created Twenty Something Magazine, a lifestyle magazine that targets post-graduates.
Dunville is now the creative director at Riithink Digital Marketing, a digital marketing agency in Chapel Hill.
A group of 2017 Interactive Media graduates also captured third place in the Student Interactive Media and Emerging Technologies Competition’s large team category.
While in San José de Las Matas (SAJOMA) for its Winter Term fly-in project, a team of six students worked with APACOS, an association of agricultural producers in the mountainous Sierra Region of the Dominican Republic. With input from the APACOS staff, the students created a website, apacos.org, as a marketing and branding tool to strengthen relationships with national and international markets.
Led by project manager Maggie Boulton G’17, the team consisted of Carmen Erdie G’17, Beth Pandone G’17, Sydney Plovsky ’16, G’17, Bridget Sheffler G’17 and Darrien Staton G’17.
Lastly, a student team from Phoenix All-Access finished third in the festival’s Television Sports Event Production category for its 2017 broadcast of the Elon women's basketball team’s win over the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
The game was crewed entirely by students studying in the School of Communications. Michelle Manzo, coordinating producer of Maroon Sports, directed the broadcast, and John Zimmer ’17 served as technical director. Jake Young ’20 handled the broadcast’s play-by-play responsibilities and David Flynt ’19 was the analyst.
Phoenix All-Access works in conjunction with Maroon Sports, a School of Communications student organization, to broadcast and live stream sporting events. For more information on All-Access’ winning entry, visit this Elon Athletics release.