Elon alumni Scott McCrary ’00, Nicholas Kurtz ’14 and Emily Harrison '18 were among the other honorees recognized at the 64th National Capital Chesapeake Bay Emmy Awards ceremony held June 25.
During the 64th National Capital Chesapeake Bay Emmy Awards ceremony, four Elon University graduates were recognized in several categories celebrating television news coverage in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Likely one of the lasting images of the June 25 evening was Jeff Ackermann ’14, WUSA 9 news producer, proudly cradling a trio of Emmy statues following the ceremony.
Ackermann was part of two WUSA 9 award-winning teams and was recognized individually in the ceremony’s Live News Producer category. The Washington, D.C.-based news outlet was lauded twice for its severe weather coverage, capturing top prizes in the Team Coverage and Evening Newscast – Larger Markets (1-49) categories. WUSA 9 has several Elon graduates on staff – a fact the School of Communications enjoys very much – including Executive Producer Scott McCrary ’00, who contributed to both team awards. Additionally, Nicholas Kurtz ’14 served as an assignment desk editor on the Team Coverage award.
“It feels really special to share two awards with my amazing colleagues at WUSA 9,” Ackermann said. “News is a team sport. Everyone’s role is critical to getting a compelling and informative product on the air. The team at WUSA 9 knows how to work together, and we always push to do the best work we can. It’s an honor to be recognized for that.”
Ackermann said he is especially proud of his team’s ability to reaction and adapt during ever-changing storm coverage. The team was tasked with making quick, accurate decisions because a lot was at stake.
“Producing during severe weather can be difficult because you have to be able to act and adapt fast, especially when you’re on the air with wall-to-wall coverage,” he said. “This type of coverage is very important because it can save lives. Viewers tuned in as tornado warnings went into effect. Our team was able to guide them and keep them updated on the severe weather in their neighborhoods. I’m proud of this coverage because it wasn’t just one person who pulled this off. It was an incredible team of producers, anchors, reporters, editors and more. We’re our best when everyone on our team is working together.”
Ackermann said that his Live News Producer award was a “true honor,” recalling it’s a role he’s sought out and enjoyed since working as a student journalist with Elon Local News. The variety of his day-to-day responsibilities, as well as its impact on the lives of viewers, keeps him motivated.
“Every day on the job is different,” Ackermann said. “Producers have the amazing opportunity to write the first draft of history. That included several big stories during 2021, including the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. It’s a responsibility I don’t take for granted, and receiving an Emmy for my work during this moment in time is something I’ll always be proud of.”
However, these three Emmys were not Ackermann’s first. He earned an Emmy Award in fall 2020 for his news producing from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Prior to his role with WUSA 9 Ackermann spent three-plus years with WCPO 9 in Cincinnati and two years with KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both positions helped prepare him to work in the nation’s capital, which was always on his radar.
“I visited Washington, D.C., during college and knew it was somewhere I’d love the work,” Ackermann said. “The city is the center of so many big stories nationally, but there’s also a lot of local news here. Plus, having fellow Elon graduates who work at WUSA 9 was a big bonus.”
A fourth Elon graduate, Emily Harrison ’18, was also recognized at the Capital Emmy Awards ceremony. A reporter for NBC12 in Richmond, Harrison and her colleagues were recognized in the Morning Newscast – Medium Markets (50-99) category.
In a celebratory tweet, Harrison wrote, “I am so honored to win my first Emmy and be a part of this incredible team for Best Morning Broadcast. @NBC12 has some of the best of the best, and I truly love working with this team. Thank you to everyone for this journey.”