March 23, 2009

‘ 26:46’ again wins national student Emmy

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For a second straight year, the crew of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Emmy Award-winning program, “ 26:46”, can claim the best collegiate television magazine show in the nation.

The student-produced half-hour alternative TV news magazine captured another national student Emmy this past weekend at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 30th annual College Television Awards. The awards ceremony was Saturday, March 21, at Culver Studios in Los Angeles.

The winning episode, which aired this past winter, beat out three submissions from the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, which placed second, third and honorable mention in the category.

Jay B. Carey and Thomas M. Lareau were the program’s executive producers. An episode description from the Emmy’s Web site credits the series with “presenting the most innovative, off-the-wall content imaginable with short-form documentary segments from across the country. This episode takes the viewer from New York to Venice Beach in Los Angeles, to the Mississippi River and finally ending up at The Museum of Sex in New York City.”

Carey is a senior in radio-television from De Soto; Lareau is a junior in radio-television from Watseka.

"We are extraordinarily proud of our students involved in 26:46 as they continue a winning tradition of cutting-edge television production,” said Gary P. Kolb, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. “In competition with teams from prestigious programs like the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, our students triumph. This is a testament to the quality of our programs and teachers, but most importantly of our students here at SIUC MCMA.

“Others may have more money and resources, but creativity and drive are the most important ingredients in winning these awards,” Kolb said. “Bravo to all involved, and particularly to the executive producers, Jay Carey and Tommy Lareau.”

Jan Thompson, an associate professor in radio-television and the show’s faculty adviser, believes this is the show’s fourth national Emmy in the last eight years, to also go along with several second- and third-place finishes. The program has earned 23 regional Emmys; 21 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-America Regional Chapter in St. Louis, and two from the Chicago Midwest Chapter since 2001. 26:46 is in an elite group, competing against the likes of University of California-Berkeley, the American Film Institute and Columbia University. The students involved with 26:46 are not paid; they are volunteers “who love what they are doing,” she said.

“Again, this is another major achievement for our undergraduates in this show that they are recognized as creating the best magazine show recognized by the television academy,” she said. “It’s a testament to their talent and hard work.”

About 12 SIUC students and Thompson attended the award ceremonies.

The competition is becoming fierce, Thompson noted. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation received a record number of video and film submissions this year; 214 schools in 42 states submitted 712 student videos and films, according to event organizers.

Another integral element in 26:46’s success is that executive producers regularly change each year, said Thompson, likening the scenario to beginning the season with a new starting quarterback after winning the Super Bowl the previous year.

“There is immense pressure,” she said. “Taking on new executive producers and staff to try and continue the tradition. And we have been able to do it.” 26:46 airs on WSIU-TV. The fifth episode for season No. 10 is at 10 p.m., Sunday, March 29. Reruns are at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays, also on WSIU-TV. More information is available at