Southeastern Channel named Best in the Nation
Thursday, November 18, 2021
by: Tonya Lowentritt
SOUTHEASTERN CHANNEL WINS FIRST IN THE NATION- The Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University's educational cable television station, has been honored once again as best in the nation with three first-place national awards given by College Broadcasters, Inc. at its National Student Production Awards. The channel won for Best Video Hard News Story, Best Video Sportscast, and Best Video Public Service Announcement. It marks the 11th time that the Southeastern Channel has been honored as best in the nation by CBI. Pictured is Chris Rosato of Mandeville, who won first place in the nation for best hard news story for his package "Toxic Algae in Lake Pontchartrain" produced for the student newscast "Northshore News."
HAMMOND – The Southeastern Channel has once again been recognized as best in
the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc.
The channel was honored at CBI’s National Student Production Awards with first place in the nation for Best Video Hard News Reporting, Best Video Sportscast, and Best Video Public Service Announcement.
The Southeastern Channel won its three first-place awards out of over 1,000 entries submitted by the top broadcasting schools from throughout the nation. The channel’s three first-place selections were the most in television and video of any school in the country.
It marks the 11th time that the Southeastern Channel has won first place in the nation honors in college television.
The channel also won third place national honors for Best Video News Feature Reporting and fourth place for Best Video Documentary.
“We’re thrilled that the Southeastern Channel continues to be recognized as the very best in the nation,” said Southeastern Channel general manager Rick Settoon. “Once again, the competition represents the best in college broadcasting throughout the country.”
“Credit goes to our students for making the most of their God-given talents to achieve the Southeastern Channel’s high standards of quality and excellence,” Settoon continued. “Credit must also be given to channel staff members and communication department television instructors for developing the skills and talents of these students.”
Southeastern Channel student news reporter Chris Rosato of Mandeville won the nation’s top honor for “Best Video Hard News Reporting” while the Channel also won for “Best Video Sportscast” with its November 21, 2019 live, weekly sportscast, “The Big Game.” Cameron Pittman of Bogalusa won first in the country for “Best Video Public Service Announcement” with “Gunny McShoot”, a PSA for family gun safety.
The Southeastern Channel’s John Williams of Denham Springs won third in the nation for “Best Video News Feature” for his story, “Fourth of July in Baton Rouge,” while Dylan Domangue of Houma won fourth place for “Best Video Documentary” for his personal documentary, “12 Seconds at Birth.”
Rosato’s winning news story, “Toxic Algae in Lake Pontchartrain,” for the national award-winning student newscast, “Northshore News.” The story covered the environmental hazard caused by toxins associated with the lake’s blue-green algal bloom, causing the death of North Shore fish and plant life as well as gastrointestinal, skin, and breathing problems for residents.
Rosato enterprised, researched, wrote, produced, reported, shot and edited the story. It was the third time in the last four years that the Southeastern Channel has won first in the nation for the best television hard news story.
“As a reporter, I feel that my strengths play a lot into how I can sometimes take a story with a lot of information or different angles and simplify it for the viewer so they can process it easier,” Rosato said. “When putting together a story I always try to think about who I can get as a strong interview subject and what kind of shots I could try and catch to really hold the viewer’s attention. “
At the Southeastern Channel Rosato was also named Louisiana’s Student Broadcaster of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters and won multiple top awards from the Associated Press College Broadcasters, Society of Professional Journalists, and Southeast Journalism Conference. He now works as a news reporter for WAFB-TV Channel 9 in Baton Rouge. Rosato recently led the station’s coverage of Hurricane Ida with live reports from Houma, La. as the hurricane hit the city.
“The Southeastern Channel offered me exceptional one-on-one instruction and met all of my work with constructive criticism that I then could apply to my next story or show,” Rosato said. “Regarding the job market, working at the Channel separated me from the competition by giving me the opportunity to cover real-world current event stories and not just restrict me to on-campus assignments. The Southeastern Channel prepared me to go out into the community and work with public officials and everyday people.”
The winning episode of “The Big Game” was produced and directed by Dylan Domangue of Houma and co-anchored by John Sartori of Mandeville and Gabrielle Cox of Hammond with Richie Solares of New Orleans as guest anchor. The show featured contributions from students Logan Graffia of Slidell, Ross Chauvin of Houma, Lauryn Jackson of Baton Rouge, Josh Hodgeson of New Orleans, and Taylor Tabb and Angela Imbraguglio of Destrehan.
“When it was announced that we had won first in the nation, my level of excitement was more than anyone else that had won an award that night,” Domangue said. “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 is truly special.”
“Working on a show like the Big Game is something I think is every kid’s dream growing up,” Domangue said. “You always want to be on a sports talk show. You always want to be able to go and cover college athletics and pro athletics, and the Big Game really gives you those opportunities to do it live on a weekly basis. The Big Game is just like ESPN’s SportsCenter where you’re hitting the most important news that’s happening in sports in our local area that given week, whether that’s the Saints games or college athletics. If you look at SportsCenter, it’s the same way as the Big Game. You’re just doing it in school.”
Domangue produced, anchored, and reported for another “Big Game” episode which was honored by College Broadcasters, Inc. as best in the nation in 2017. His “Big Game” productions were named National Finalists as one of the top four in the nation for three straight years at the College Sports Media Awards sponsored by the Sports Video Group in Atlanta.
“After a game ends, you’re able to go on-camera, do your postgame analysis, report with interviews, with sound bites of players and coaches, and do your recap just like you see on the professional level, on ESPN SportsCenter,” Domangue said. “When you talk to other professionals that are in this profession, when you come from Southeastern they can see that experience already built into you. Because of the training at the Southeastern Channel, you have those experiences already.”
Domangue is now sports director for KALB-TV NBC Ch. 5 in Alexandria. Sartori is now a sports reporter for KTAL-TV ABC Ch. 6 in Shreveport.
“The Big Game is a model of SportsCenter which everyone remembers growing up as just being fun,” Sartori said. “Sports is supposed to be fun, and the Big Game is fun. But you also get to report on things you care about, tell stories that you care about. The Big Game is great because you get to do highlight reads, and I think you’re given a bit of a leash at Southeastern to be yourself, to show your personality. You’re able to have fun. You’re able to do things creatively that you aren’t going to be able to do at other schools.”
“The Big Game” student sportscast is now offered as a course, “Communication 402: Producing the Television Sports Show,” which can be taken for academic credit at Southeastern in the new Sports Communication concentration under the Department of Communication and Media Studies.
“The Southeastern Channel gave me everything I could've asked for,” Sartori said. “I had the opportunity to do things people dream of doing as they grow up and when they aspire to be sports broadcasters. I feel the Southeastern Channel rounded me into a sports broadcaster who could do it all. It gave me real-world experience in a collegiate setting. We had deadlines, we had to make sure the stories and segments we produced were broadcast quality. I was able to do live shots, live anchoring, reporting, and live play-by-play.”
In addition to his CBI award, Sartori was honored by the Broadcast Education Association with third place in the nation for TV Sports Play-By-Play. He was honored twice by the Suncoast Emmys in the “On-Camera Talent” category and also won awards as a sports reporter from the Associated Press College Broadcasters and the Society of Professional Journalists.
“The opportunities the Southeastern Channel gave me were amazing,” Sartori continued. “If you are a student interested in broadcast journalism, there is no better place for you in this country than in Hammond, Louisiana, at the Southeastern Channel.”
The Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international, and regional awards, including 22 awards from the Emmys, in the past 18 years. The channel can be seen on Spectrum 199 cable throughout the North Shore, and its 24/7 livestream can be seen on Roku, AppleTV, and at thesoutheasternchannel.com. The Southeastern Channel is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.