Student projects receive multiple wins at international multimedia festival

Three J-School student projects received recognition at the Broadcast Education Association’s International Festival of Media Arts this year.

UM News, a weekly news program produced in a course taught by professors Ray Ekness and Ray Fanning, won third place in the television newscast category. The award-winning show featured the work of Mahkia Clark, Mackenzie Enich, Cole Havens, Jenna Heberden, Allison Molin, Holly Sinnema, Keeley Van Middendorp and Ed Huberman. UM News airs on ABC Fox Montana and KPAX-TV in Missoula and Kalispell.

“One thing that sets us apart is that our students produce content that airs on local network affiliates for the general public, as opposed to a newscast that airs only on campus,” Fanning said. “We hold our students to professional standards even while they’re still in school.”

Kate Walker, who graduated from the J-School Master’s program in Environmental Science and Natural Resources Journalism in May 2014, received an honorary mention in the long form documentary category for her professional project titled “The Missouri Compromised."

“It's very exciting to get this honor and makes it feel like all the hard work achieved something,” Walker said. “I'm proud that I created this project entirely myself and that it still feels relevant to ongoing river ecosystem questions, both regionally and nationally.”

Walker's half-hour program aired on Montana Public Television and South Dakota Public Television.

Finally, the 2014 student project, “Distracted: Eyes off the Road,” also received an honorary mention in the long form documentary category. The hour-long television program told the story of distracted driving incidents and shared the story of a teenager speaking out after losing her big sister to a distracted driving accident.

Students who worked on this project include Dustin Askim, Conor Ballantyne, Max Barnum, Eric Clements, Jess Field, Shane Gillette, Sergio Gonzalez, Keith McGlothlin, Hunter Meek, Matt Miller, Evan Rau and Lauren Robinson. The show aired on MontanaPBS last May and airs on North Dakota Public Television in February 2015.

“I think the awards reflect the hard work our students do as reporters, producers, photographers and directors,” Fanning said. “It demonstrates the strength in the School of Journalism’s philosophy of hands-on learning. Students don’t just talk about journalism, they do it.”

The BEA Festival of Media Arts honors outstanding student and faculty broadcast work from around the world. The UM productions were chosen for the honors from more than 1200 entries. The awards will be given at the BEA conference and awards ceremony in Las Vegas in April.

- posted on 03/02/15 -