April 30, 2007

River Region Evening Edition wins more honors

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's broadcast journalism program continues to earn accolades.

Already judged by the Broadcast Educators Association to have the "Best Newscast" in national competition, WSIU-TV 8's River Region Evening Edition received The Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation and BEA's "2007 Student Broadcast News Team" award during the organization's annual convention, April 18-21, in Las Vegas.

"They didn't just look at the best newscast entry, but they looked at the individual entries, so they were able to get a good picture of what our news team is all about," news director Jim Gee said. "Words cannot express how proud I am of these kids. They have really done a spectacular job this year."

The BEA includes universities with broadcasting, radio and television journalism programs throughout the country, and competition includes Arizona State, Brigham Young University, Penn State University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Montana.

Gee explained that the emphasis on "team," is very important.

"It is a true team and they do work together well," he said.

In addition to receiving the "Best Newscast" award for its Dec. 6, 2006 newscast, senior Max Orenstein of Minneapolis, Minn., was second in best TV feature for his story about a legally blind cyclist, and senior Julie P. Koch, of Elmhurst, was third in best hard news reporting for her story on "Housing Headaches."

The Evening Edition also received honors at the Illinois News Broadcaster's Association convention April 20-22, in Galesburg.

Saluki Sportsview, a monthly half-hour sportscast, won the "Outstanding Soft TV Program" category. Andrew W. Waterman, a junior from Monmouth, produced the episode, which ran in late October. River Region Sports Director Matthew C. Biermann, a senior from St. Louis, won first place for "Outstanding Sports Reporting."

The River Region Evening Edition won second place for "Outstanding Television Newscast," while assistant news director Rachel L. Gartner, a graduate student in Mass Communication and Media Arts from Christopher, received second place in the "Outstanding Graduate Student Performance" category. Dustin R. Armstrong, a senior from Galesburg, received honorable mention in "Outstanding Videography."

Koch received the INBA's Bill Miller Scholarship for overall excellence.

The River Region Evening Edition airs on WSIU-TV Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m. There is also a three-minute update at 10:57 p.m. Video clips and a listing of current stories is available at http://www.siude.com/riverregion/

There are more than 40 student volunteers who produce the entirely student-produced newscasts.

The Department of Radio & Television is in SIUC's College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

The news operation is in the process of looking at equipment improvements and developing its Web presence "so we are not just providing news stories at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but also providing news-on-demand," he said.