ElonComm alumni win Midsouth Emmys

The work of Nolan Elingburg '11, G'12, Joe Bruno '14, Carly Thomas ’19 and Jack Norcross '21 was celebrated at the 38th annual Midsouth Emmy Awards ceremony held Feb. 17 in Nashville.

Duke's Nolan Elingburg stands on a ladder following the 2023 ACC tournament.
Nolan Elingburg ’11, G’12 helps cut down the nets in March 2023 following Duke University men’s basketball team’s ACC Tournament Championship run. It was the program’s 22nd ACC Tournament title. Elingburg recently won two Midsouth Emmy Awards for his work highlighting former Duke player Dereck Lively II. Photo courtesy of Elingburg.

Celebrating one’s success takes many forms.

Drivers take victory laps. Newly inducted Hall of Famers give speeches. Basketball teams cut down the nets. And Emmy Award winners pose for photos hoisting three-pound gold statuettes. These traditions cement the moment in our memories.

Nolan Elingburg’s moment in front of the camera with his two new Emmy Awards will have to wait – he was working behind the lens and missed last week’s ceremony.

Elingburg and Dereck Lively II stand together in a lockeroom.
Elingburg and Dereck Lively II are all smiles as they conduct a “jersey swap,” trading Lively’s jersey for Elingburg’s ACC-branded media vest. Lively is featured in Elingburg’s video project, titled “Dereck Lively II: No Excuses,” which recently won two Midsouth Emmy Awards. Photo courtesy of Elingburg.

While the work of journalists, producers, editors and content creators was being celebrated at the 38th annual Midsouth Emmy Awards ceremony held Feb. 17 in Nashville, Elingburg, senior producer and editor for Duke Men’s Basketball, was documenting the Blue Devils’ win in Tallahassee, Florida.

The two-time alumnus’ statuette photo won’t make the rounds on social media until the award arrives in the mail.

Elingburg, who graduated in 2011 as a broadcast journalism major and in 2012 as an Interactive Media graduate student, was one of four School of Communications alumni to be honored at last week’s Midsouth Emmy Award ceremony. And he was honored not once, but twice.

His 10-minute video, titled “Dereck Lively II: No Excuses,” won top billing in both the Sports Story – News Feature category, as well as the Editor – Long Form Content (Longer Than 10 Minutes) category. The project details several poignant moments from Lively’s life, including the pass of his father and his mother’s courageous battle with cancer.

“It was an honor to tell Dereck and his family’s story,” Elingburg said. “He and his mom, Kathy, are incredible people who have faced a lot of adversity. I thought it was important for everyone to know what they have been through together and how they turned difficult times into a unique bond with one another.”

While he has received plenty of praising following the award’s announcement, Elingburg takes most comfort in the fact that he told a powerful story that pleased the project’s subjects.

“There has been an amazing amount of support and congratulations from everyone since winning, from my family to co-workers and our Duke coaches and players,” he said. “But I’m most proud that Dereck and Kathy were happy with how everything turned out.”

While his work has been nominated previously, these are Elingburg’s first two Emmy Awards.

Jack Norcross ’21, supervising producer at WCNC Charlotte, is another first-time Emmy Award winner. The Elon alumnus and the crew of the station’s “Wake Up Charlotte” 6 a.m. newscast won the ceremony’s Morning Newscast category, recognized for its May 2023 show chronicling the city’s South Park fire that killed two construction workers.

Elon alumnus Jack Norcross stands in front of a WCNC Charlotte screen.
Before becoming a supervisor producer at WCNC Charlotte, Jack Norcross ’21 began at the news outlet as a producer-in-residence. Here is a photo from a May 2021 announcement announcing his post-Elon plans. Photo courtesy of Norcross’ X account, @JNorcrossNews.

Given the urgency of the fire and the significance of its impact, Norcross commended his colleagues for putting together an award-winning program on the fly.

“Any time you have an anchor out in the field, the stakes and technical challenges are high, especially for a morning show when your team doesn’t have time to do run throughs,” he said. “It’s why I’m especially proud of pushing the boundaries and providing important storytelling to one of the city’s biggest tragedies of the year. Putting a show like this on the air is truly a team effort with major kudos to the dozens of people in front of and behind the camera.”

Norcross credits the meaningful opportunities and repetitions he received as a student journalist and producer for preparing him for his responsibilities today.

“I would not be in this position today if it wasn’t for all the time I spent at Elon News Network,” he said. “Overseeing shows where we had anchors in different studios during the pandemic, plus shows field anchored from President Book’s inauguration and a live show from Lake Mary Nell, prepared me well.”

Alas, Norcross wasn’t available to attend the Nashville ceremony. The following morning he helped produce WCNC Charlotte’s Sunday political program, “Flashpoint.”

Joe Bruno hosts up an Emmy Award.
Joe Bruno ’14 (right) stands with fellow Eyewitness News Reporter Hunter Sáenz. “It was a dream to share the stage and this award with one of my best friends, Hunter,” Bruno said. “The two of us have been inseparable in Charlotte. He is a gifted journalist and an even better friend.” Photo courtesy of Bruno.

Not to be outdone, Joe Bruno ’14, an investigative reporter for WSOC-TV in Charlotte, was honored with two MidSouth Emmy Awards. And, yes, he was actually in attendance.

Bruno and his colleagues were recognized in the Breaking or Spot News – Multiple Reports category for their work on a three-hour police chase and crime spree, as well as in the Team Coverage category for their own South Park fire reporting.

Carly Thomas ’19, a former digital content producer at WSOC-TV, also contributed to the police chase coverage and was recognized in the team category. She currently works as an associate editor at The Hollywood Reporter

“As the great Rich Landesberg always says, ‘we should never do work for awards, but we should always strive to do award-winning work,’” Bruno said. “I am honored that my reporting is being recognized. It is always WSOC’s goal to approach stories compassionately. We strive to serve our community by providing our viewers with compelling stories and information they can trust. This is especially important in times of crisis.”

In total, Bruno has now won five Emmy Awards in his career, as well as several other accolades.

About the Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards

The Nashville/Midsouth Emmy Awards celebrate excellence in television broadcasting across North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. The awards recognize outstanding achievements in news, documentary, entertainment, sports and other programming categories. This year, there were 917 entries judged in 73 categories.