Elon News Network, alumni recognized with RTDNAC awards

The student-run news organization was honored with eight awards, including four first-place finishes, and several School of Communications graduates were recognized for their professional journalism efforts.

Elon News Network, Elon University's student-run news organization, received eight awards at the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas awards luncheon, including a sweep of first and second place in the Multimedia Report (TV) category.

In the ceremony’s professional categories, several School of Communications alumni were also recognized, highlighted by Zora Stephenson ’15 receiving the TV News Reporter of the Year honors.

During the Nov. 11 luncheon, hosted by RTDNAC and The Associated Press in Charlotte, ENN and its staff collected four first-place and four second-place awards. The award categories, Elon's finishes, and links to the students’ entries are below:

Multimedia Report (TV)

– First Place: Elon University – North Carolina Organization Listed as Hate Group – Paige Pauroso ’17
– Second Place: Elon University – Elon InterVarsity Reflects After National Reiteration – Jackie Pascale '18, Leena Dahal ’17

News Reporting (TV)

– First Place: Elon University – Organization Headquartered Near Elon Listed as Hate Group – Paige Pauroso ’17

Sportscast (TV)

– First Place: Elon University – Phoenix Women's Basketball Heading to NCAA Tournament – Alex Hager ’19

Photography (TV)

– First Place: Elon University – Local Organization Listed as Hate Group – Paige Pauroso ’17

Newscast (TV)

– Second Place: Elon University – ENN: Elon Local News (Oct. 31, 2016)

TV Weathercast

– Second Place: Elon University – Weathercast (May 8, 2017) – Ashley Bohle ’17

Feature Reporting (Radio)

– Second Place: Elon University – A New Type of Family Weekend – Maya Eaglin ’19

In the luncheon’s professional competitions, Nick Ochsner ’11, a WBTV investigative reporter, captured first and second place in the Investigative category. His recognized reports were “WBTV Investigates: Holding Law Enforcement Accountable” and “WBTV Investigates: Union County Parents Speak Out.” Additionally, Ochsner earned second place in the Political category for his Hidden Camera Investigation Uncovers Campaign Tricks” report.

Jacquie Vargas ’12 received two first-place awards, recognized in the Evening Newscast (South Carolina) and News Special categories. Vargas is an executive producer at WCIV, ABC News 4 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Joe Bruno ’14 was honored as part of a WSOC-TV investigative team that captured The Associated Press’ First Amendment Award of Excellence. The team was honored for its reports on the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Lastly, Stephenson was named TV News Reporter of the Year (Division II) for her work as a reporter at WNCT, the CBS affiliate in Greenville. In July, she relocated to Denver and joined FOX31 and Colorado’s Own Channel 2 as a reporter.

After the awards ceremony, Stephenson posted the following on social media:Wasn’t in NC to accept this in person, but so honored by it!! I’m on a new adventure now, but you know I’ll never forget the work done in Eastern NC. One of the best professors I’ll ever know, Rich Landesberg says it best. ‘We never do work for awards, but we always do award-winning work!’”

Landesberg commended the many award recipients with Elon connections, noting the importance of their reporting and coverage. “It is one of the great joys of teaching to see professionals recognize the great work of our students and alums," he said. "Now more than ever it is important for our current and former students to keep their communities informed and to make sure those who we trust to lead us are working in our best interest.”

This year's awards competition recognized the best of television, radio, website and collegiate work from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.


The Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas sponsors professional development meetings and seminars for journalists in North and South Carolina. It holds an annual fall meeting, which offers training for professionals and honors winners of the awards competition. The organization’s annual spring workshop is geared toward helping students hone their skills as they prepare to enter the job market.