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Southeastern Channel newscast wins second in the nation

A Southeastern Channel student newscast has been named second best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc.

Tonya Lowentritt

July 17, 2023

slu hawkins

 HAMMOND – A Southeastern Channel student newscast has been named second best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc.
     The channel was honored at CBI’s National Student Production Awards in Baltimore with second place in the nation for Best Video Newscast for its June 28, 2021, episode of the student newscast “Northshore News.” The channel won the award from over 1,100 entries submitted by the top broadcasting schools from throughout the nation.
     “It’s an honor for the Southeastern Channel to win second place in the nation against the best competition in college broadcasting,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “We’re so happy for our students who work hard to achieve the highest quality possible with each new production. Their honors are well-deserved and carry on the Southeastern Channel’s legacy of production excellence.”
     The winning episode was produced by Lauren Hawkins of Ponchatoula and co-anchored by Hawkins and Trinity Brown of Baton Rouge.
     “Northshore News focuses on all areas that you should know to be a great journalist,” Hawkins said. “Not just the reporting or anchoring, but the technical work that goes along with it- the writing, the camera work, and the use of a video camera. This is what puts the program ahead of others- making sure students are well-rounded and properly equipped with the knowledge they need in all aspects of the industry.”
     Also a reporter for the winning episode, Hawkins contributed the newscast’s top story about a doubled reward for the murderer in a double homicide case in Independence. In addition, Hawkins reported on the “Litter Gitter,” a unique invention of Tangipahoa Parish native Don Bates designed to keep the waterways of Tangipahoa Parish clean.
     The winning episode also included a story by AnaClaire McKneely of Amite about Fentanyl variants, their widespread use and destructive impacts. McKneely also reported on the new K-12 curriculum at the Southeastern Laboratory School.
Kaylor Yates of Baton Rouge reported on the push for COVID vaccinations throughout the Livingston Parish school system, while Joliette Vincent of Luling covered Tangipahoa’s proposal for a new half-cent sales tax to provide raises for parish school teachers.
     In addition, reporter Taylor Nettle of Lacombe covered the Hammond ground breaking for a new 600,000 square foot distribution center for the pharmaceutical supply giant, Medline, while Jordan Kliebert of Mandeville produced a story on the new improvements to guard rails on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
     It was the third time that Northshore News has been honored with second place in the nation by CBI. The previous year, the student newscast won first place in the nation, the 12th time a Southeastern Channel production has won first place.
     “Most college newscasts are dominated by campus news,” Settoon said. “But Northshore News truly serves its viewing audience on the Northshore, potentially 240,000 on Spectrum Cable, with local news that’s not only informative, but impactful to their lives.”
     Settoon said that Northshore News covers Northshore crime, government, politics, schools, hospitals, safety, health, finance, business, and economic and community development.
     “Students interview government officials like the Louisiana governor, state and federal legislators, parish presidents, and city officials,” he said. “Not many student newscasts provide these opportunities.”
     “Without a doubt, I was able to win this award because of Southeastern’s outstanding broadcast journalism program,” Hawkins continued. “I’ve gained so much knowledge and experience from the professors there. It truly helps that they have real-world experience to do what they do. The Southeastern Channel is a great ‘setup’ for success in the industry.”
     A December 2021 graduate of Southeastern, Hawkins now works as a TV news and traffic reporter for WBRZ-TV Ch. 2 (ABC) in Baton Rouge.
     The Southeastern Channel has now won over 500 national, international, and regional awards, including 24 awards from the Emmys, in the past 19 years. The channel can be seen on Spectrum 199 cable throughout the Northshore, and its 24/7 livestream can be seen on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, the Spectrum App,, and at The Southeastern Channel is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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