Southeastern Channel named Best in the Nation
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
by: Tonya Lowentritt
FIRST IN THE NATION - The Southeastern Channel recently won first place in the nation honors for a pair of student productions at the National Student Production Awards given by College Broadcasters, Inc. Channel students won for “Best Live Television Game Broadcast” with its October 20, 2018 broadcast of the Southeastern vs. Abilene Christian football game, and for “Best Television Hard News Story” for a story on the “Pearl River Dam” produced by Amanda Kitch of Covington for the student newscast, “Northshore News,” which also won second place in the country for “Best College Television Newscast.” Pictured from left are students John Sartori of Mandeville and Dylan Domangue of Houma. Not pictured is Kitch.
HAMMOND – For the seventh time the Southeastern Channel has won first place in
The Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s cable television station, won national first-place awards for “Best Live Television Sports Broadcast” and “Best Television Hard News Reporting” as selected by College Broadcasters, Inc. at its 2019 National Student Production Awards presented at the National Student Electronic Media Convention.
In addition, the Southeastern Channel’s student newscast, “Northshore News,” won second place in the nation for “Best Television Newscast.” There were over 1,200 entries from colleges and universities across the nation.
Winning for “Best Live Television Sports Broadcast” was the Southeastern Channel’s multi-camera production and live broadcast of the Southeastern vs. Abilene Christian football game on October 20, 2018. Student Dylan Domangue of Houma was the play-by-play announcer, while Richie Solares of New Orleans was the color analyst and Schuylar Ramsey of Springfield was the sideline reporter.
Other crew members were Taylor Sharp of Walker, John Williams of Denham Springs, Jeremy Gaines of New Orleans, Tyler Guidroz of Ponchatoula, Lily Gayle of Greensburg, and Tyler Rogers and Gabrielle Cox of Hammond. The game broadcast was produced by an entirely student crew.
“I know the hard work and preparation that we put into each of our broadcasts, and to have that come full circle and pay off with us winning first place in the nation is truly special,” Domangue said.
A student director of the Southeastern Channel’s live sports broadcasts, Domangue did play-by-play announcing for the first time on the winning broadcast. He said that the Southeastern Channel student crew members expect the best from each other, whether they are announcers, directors, replay operators, graphics, audio mixers, or camera operators.
“What separates the Southeastern Channel from everyone else in the country regarding game broadcasts is the fact that we are all student run, and when it comes to our broadcast, we have a student at every position on the crew,” Domangue said. “This serves as an educational experience for us as we learn each position with the hopes of doing this professionally one day.”
“I know when we started out most of us were inexperienced in broadcasting sporting events, and now we are producing games at such a high level that we are not only nominated, but we are winning first in the nation for them. That is truly special,” Domangue explained.
“Pearl River Dam,” a news story that Amanda Kitch of Covington produced for the student newscast, “Northshore News,” won first place in the nation for “Best Television Hard News Reporting.” In her story, Kitch explored the controversy of the “One Lake Project,” the proposed building of a dam and reservoir at the top of the Pearl River to prevent flooding of Jackson, Miss. Opponents in Louisiana feared negative impacts upon environmental quality along the southern tip of the Pearl River, which would endanger fish and waterfowl in places like the Honey Island Swamp.
It was the second time that Kitch has won first place in the nation for “Best Television Hard News Story” and the third year in a row that she placed in the top two for one of her news stories.
She won first place at CBI in 2017 for her story, “Amite River Flooding,” about local victims of the Great Flood of 2016. In 2018, she won second place in the nation for “Mandeville Beach,” a segment about the Mandeville community’s new lakefront recreational area. Both stories aired on “Northshore News.”
“Competing and placing all three years meant I was being competitive with myself to try to one-up my work from the year before,” Kitch said. “I knew I always had room to grow, so each story was trying to push those boundaries of growing.”
Kitch is now a television news reporter at WAFB-TV Ch. 9 in Baton Rouge. She also co-produced and co-anchored the CBI-winning October 22, 2018 episode of “Northshore News” that finished second in the nation for “Best Television Newscast.” It was the fifth time that CBI has honored “Northshore News” as one of the top four student newscasts in the country.
“It feels wonderful knowing that an entirely student-run newscast has a chance to compete and win against other collegiate newscasts in the country,” Kitch said. “That’s our work, from beginning to end, reflected in that final product. To be awarded second place in the nation illustrates how hard-working and passionate the students and future broadcasters from Southeastern are.”
Parker Berthelot of Denham Springs co-anchored the winning newscast co-produced by Kyle Orleans of Slidell. Other contributors were student reporters Domangue, Ramsey, Sharp, Gayle, Andrew Scherer of New Orleans, Tyler Hampton of Ponchatoula, Chris Rosato of Mandeville and Gabrielle Raby of Luling.
“We’re extremely honored that our student productions have once again been recognized as the best in the entire nation,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “Our students work hard to achieve and maintain the highest level of quality possible, and this is well-deserved recognition for their talents, creativity and terrific work ethic.”
The Southeastern Channel has now won over 400 national, regional and local awards, including 17 awards from the Emmys. The Southeastern Channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes, and on demand at thesoutheasternchannel.com, Roku and AppleTV.