Students and faculty Northwestern State University’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts were awarded a Bronze Telly Award in the Non-Broadcast Educational Institution category for a March 19 NSU-TV Newscast.
The Telly awards are an international competition which hold a similar level of prestige as regional Emmy Awards. The awards are judged by professionals in multimedia and submissions come at the professional level from HBO, Netflix, and all major broadcasters. Northwestern State’s work was judged against other multimedia professionals along with other academic institutions and companies working with schools.
Three different classes worked together on the newscast. Assistant Professor of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts Dr. Nick Taylor’s news producing class organized the newscast and wrote the scripts. Several of the news stories were created in Assistant Professor of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts Melody Gilbert’s advanced video journalism class. The show’s production, technical direction, and camera work was completed, under guidance from Manager and Director of NSU TV David Antilley in Taylor’s advanced video production class. Five newscasts were done during the spring semester.
“The exciting thing about the award is it is a department wide effort,” said Taylor, who was producing/production advisor/executive producer. “This forced students to work together, organize and learn how to deal with issues they will see when working in professional multimedia settings. The great thing is, these students are now award-winning journalists. When applying for internships or jobs this will be a recognized accomplishment on their resume.”
Taylor said two newscasts were completed before NSU pivoted to exclusively online classes. Three more were done under working conditions which took COVID-19 safety into account.
“Our students had such pride in the newscasts, great work ethic, talent and just overall grit they asked to complete the run of newscasts for the semester,” said Taylor. “They understood this meant altering production methods but continued producing news throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Working solo or in small groups, in their homes, or at NSU labs the students believed in the newscasts of NSU-TV.”
Taylor said the award-winning newscast was produced just as COVID-19 started to change the normal course of business around the world. According to Taylor, many of the stories discuss how NSU and the Natchitoches community are reacting to what was to come.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am of this crew. They would not be stopped,” said Taylor. “They worked safely and followed policies but they got the work done. I really believe this award proves that our students are as talented as any across the country. More important though, this shows NSU students will out work, out produce, out create any other crew. Our students faced adversity and instead of backing down, found paths to success.”
Producers were Samantha Clark of Gheens and Gregory Dodge of Dry Prong. Anchors/story producers were Sydney Bulot of Anchorage, Alaska, and Holly Jenkins of Natchitoches. Field producer/teleprompter was done by Madelyn Dupont of Washington and Jaci Jones of New Iberia and Cayman Watson of LaPlace were field producers. Rebekah Lorio of Oscar and Nadia Johnson of Gretna were assistant producers and on studio cameras and Trinity Valazquez of Gretna was assistant producer. Nyasha Brown of New Orleans were segment videographer.
Antilley was studio director/engineer. Interim head of the Department of New Media, Journalism & Communication Arts Brian Gabrial was executive advisor and Gilbert was story advisor.
“If I want to work in broadcast, it shows future employers that I have the experience and skills to work in that sector,” said Clark. “If I want to work in other communication venues, it shows that I have well-rounded experience and that I’m a versatile candidate.”
Clark, a recent graduate in communication with a minor in hospitality management and tourism, says Taylor deserves credit for the newscast’s success.
“Dr. Taylor really pushed me and the whole team to exceed our expectations and do what we didn’t think we were capable of,” said Clark. “It is so gratifying seeing all the hard work we put in receive national recognition. It makes all the long nights we spent on the studio working on these broadcasts worth it.”
Northwestern State’s program has produced graduates who are working in television in markets of all sizes around the country. Bulot says working on a newscast is preparing him a similar opportunity.
“I think this experience will help me because it’s already preparing me for everything I want to do with my future job,” said Bulot, a junior communications major with a concentration in broadcast. “It’s the perfect hands on opportunity to learn exactly what I will be doing as a reporter. I feel like I’m getting real-world experience. I’m learning how to frame a camera, use editing software, how to ask good questions for an interview and so much more.”
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