Elon News Network, alumni recognized at RTDNAC/AP Awards

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

Elon News Network, Elon University’s student-run news organization, received six awards on Nov. 10 at the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas (RTDNAC) awards luncheon, sweeping first and second place in the Best Student TV News Producing category.

Alex Hager ’19 and Meagan Gitelman '19 present Elon News Network’s “Best Student Newscast” award to Communications Dean Rochelle Ford on Nov. 12. ENN received the plaque at the Nov. 10 Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas (RTDNAC) awards luncheon in Charlotte. North Carolina. 
​Additionally, recent graduate Brooke Wivagg ’18 took first in the D. Haney Howell Student Journalist of the Year competition, named in recognition of the former CBS News correspondent and RTDNAC board member emeritus. Wivagg is the fourth Elon student to win the award, following past recipients Joe Bruno ’14, David Hodges ’12 and Drew Smith ’11. The recent Elon graduate is now a news producer at ABC 4 (WCIV) in Charleston, South Carolina.

During the luncheon, hosted by RTDNAC and The Associated Press in Charlotte, professionals and students from North and South Carolina were recognized for outstanding work in television, radio and online journalism. In all, ENN and its staff collected four first-place and two second-place awards.

“It is gratifying to have our students and their work recognized by professional journalists located throughout the Carolinas,” said Associate Professor Rich Landesberg, who advises Elon News Network. “While we don’t seek out awards, instead focusing our attention on sharing news important with our audiences, it is nonetheless great to be recognized for our students’ high level of work.”

Elon’s winning entries and links to the students’ work are listed below:

Best Student Multimedia Report

First Place: Elon University – “Coinciding with the Confederacy” – Anton L. Delgado ’20

Associate Professor Rich Landesberg snaps a selfie with members of Elon News Network. The student media organization presented its half-dozen RTDNAC awards to Dean Rochelle Ford and the School of Communications on Nov. 12 in Williams Studio. 
Best Student Newscast

First Place: Elon University – Elon Local News Morning (Sept. 28, 2017)

Best Student TV News Producing

First Place: Elon University – Elon Local News (Oct. 2, 2017) – Brook Wivagg ’18, Paul LeBlanc ’18, Elizabeth Bilka ’18

Second Place: Elon University – Elon Local News – Grace Morris ’20

Best Student TV Weathercast

Second Place: Elon University – ELN Morning Weather with Selina Guevara – Selina Guevara ’19

D. Haney Howell Student Journalist of the Year

First Place: Elon University – Brooke Wivagg ’18

Elon alumna Brooke Wivagg ’18 (left), winner of the D. Haney Howell Student Journalist of the Year award, grabs a photo with Dean Rochelle Ford during the Nov. 10 RTDNAC awards luncheon.
​In the luncheon’s professional competitions, Nick Ochsner ’11, a WBTV investigative reporter, and his colleagues Corey Schmidt and Connor Gantt captured first place in the First Amendment Award of Excellence category. The trio’s August report highlights Terry Buchanan, the disgraced former sheriff of Ashe County.

Ochsner and Schmidt also earned first place in the RTDNAC’s Series category for their “WBTV Investigates: North Carolina’s Deadly Prisons” segment.

Connor Del Prete ’16 earned a second-place finish in the contest’s Hard News Feature category for his report titled “NICU Nurses: Hidden Heroes” for WECT in Wilmington, North Carolina. Del Prete is now a sports reporter and anchor for WSAV in Savannah, Georgia.

Additionally, a team of WRAL reporters that included Maggie Brown ’21 won first place in the contest’s Political category for its entry, titled “Redistricting, Gerrymandering Explained.” The sophomore served as a multimedia journalism intern for the Raleigh news outlet during the summer.

This year’s awards competition recognized the best of television, radio, website and collegiate work from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.


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.