November 06, 2006

SIUC student TV news team wins state’s top award

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Illinois Broadcasters Association gave its top award to a team from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s student-run television news broadcast.

River Region Evening Edition won first place for Best TV Newscast during the association’s 2006 Student Silver Dome Awards recently in Bloomington. The broadcast airs at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday on WSIU-TV.

“These awards are judged by professional broadcast journalists from around the state,” said Joey Helleny, an instructor in the radio-television department in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at SIUC and a co-faculty adviser on the broadcast.

“It’s great for the students to get recognition for the hard work and long hours they put into the broadcast. We try to make River Region as close to a real-world experience as possible.”

Students who work on the broadcast serve as reporters, editors, producers, anchors, technical crew members and graphic artists, Helleny said. The show is the perfect laboratory for preparing students to work in the world of broadcast journalism.

“River Region Evening Edition is an important part of the students’ educational experience here,” Helleny said. “They get more than just what they learn in the classroom. They learn about real world deadline pressures and teamwork. They put their efforts out there for the community to see and judge. When these students graduate, they are ready for the fast pace and tough environment that they face at most broadcast stations or other media opportunities.”

Other schools vying for awards included Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Northwestern University, Bradley University, Saint Xavier University, University of Illinois and North Central Community College.

Members of the SIUC team who won the award include:

•Melanie Mantel, producer. She is a May graduate and the daughter of Patti and Mark Mantel of Crete (26002 Cambridge Drive).

• Wyatt Wallace, co-anchor. He is a graduate student at SIUC and the son of Beverly J. Love of Carbondale (430 Southern Hills Drive).

• Lindsey Moron, co-anchor. She is a May master’s degree graduate and the daughter of Ron and Corinne Moron of Milan (10710 50th St.).

•Julie Smallheer, weather. She is a senior in radio-television from O’Fallon (1014 Greentrail Court).

• Matt Biermann, sports anchor. He is a senior in radio-television and the son of Fred and Mary Biermann of St. Louis (4024 S. Lindbergh St.)

Other faculty involved with the broadcast include Eileen Waldron, co-faculty advisor, News Director Jim Gee and WSIU-TV Production Coordinator Mark Wetstein.

Enhancing nationally recognized programs whose graduates are in demand in the job market is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.