Southeastern Channel student produced news feature wins Emmy award

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 Emmy Award 2016
by: Tonya Lowentritt

SOUTHEASTERN STUDENTS WIN EMMY HONORS- Southeastern Channel students were recently honored with prestigious Emmy Awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Suncoast Region. Pictured, from left, are Dominique Brogle of Destrehan, Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon, Brittany Robinson of Slidell, and Grace Jovanovic of Slidell.

     HAMMOND – For the fourth straight year, a Southeastern Louisiana University student-produced piece for the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern’s educational access station, has won a coveted Emmy award.
     “Twin Spans Rebuilt,” a feature story by Brittany Robinson of Slidell, won the Emmy in the “Writing” category presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The story was recognized in the NATAS Suncoast Region, which is comprised of universities, television stations and production entities in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Puerto Rico.
     “Twin Spans Rebuilt” covers the massive Hurricane Katrina destruction of the Interstate 10 twin span bridges between New Orleans and Slidell in August 2005. The story shows how rebuilding the twin spans with a new design led to the reopening of the new $803 million bridge in September 2011.
Robinson wrote and produced the story for the Southeastern Channel’s news magazine show, “Southeastern Times,” to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Katrina. She used the bridge rebuilding as a metaphor for the resiliency of Louisiana citizens impacted by the storm.
     She composed the story as part of a television news magazine production class taught by Cheryl Settoon in the Electronic Media Concentration of Southeastern’s Department of Languages and Communication.
     “It’s surreal,” Robinson said.  “I keep pinching myself because it feels like I’m in a dream, and then I realize this is real life, and I actually won an Emmy! It feels like all my hard work has finally paid off.”  
     NATAS awards an Emmy after rounds of judging against the Emmy standard of excellence, not against other productions.
     “The Emmy is the highest award that you can win in television, and Brittany’s creative writing style and production talent have carved a compelling, moving and impactful story well worthy of this highest recognition,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “We’re thrilled for Brittany and that our television and film students continue to be honored at the highest level.”
     Robinson extensively researched archival footage and photographs from the twin span collapse, using interviews from eyewitnesses and WDSU-TV reporter Fletcher Mackel, who reported from the foundation pillars days after the bridge plunged into Lake Pontchartrain.  
     “I feel that I was able to win in the writing category because I was a native of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, and I understood first-hand how the people of New Orleans felt during the disaster,” Robinson said. “With the story hitting so close to home, I think I was able to write on behalf of all New Orleanians affected. I feel that the strength of my story was the adjectives and how they made viewers feel like they were actually on the Twin Span before and after the rebuilding.
     “The Southeastern Channel has given me the tools that I need to go into the real world and be a success,” Robinson added. “The Channel has taught me to be versatile in my career.”
     In addition to the Emmy, Robinson’s story also won earlier this year “Best in the South” recognition by the Southeast Journalism Conference and a regional Mark of Excellence award given by the Society of Professional Journalists.
     Two other Southeastern Channel students won honorable mention recognitions from NATAS for their work.
     Grace Jovanovic of Slidell won an honorable mention for “Photography” for her videography work in the music video, “Stolen Dance,” and also in the “Editing” category for her editing composite.
     Dominique Brogle of Destrehan won an honorable mention for “Newscast” for the March 5, 2015 episode of the student program, “Northshore News.” Brogle is a producer, anchor and reporter for the newscast.
     The Southeastern Channel has now won 13 Emmys and received 51 Emmy nominations in the past 11 years. The channel can be seen on Charter Cable 199 throughout the North Shore. Its live 24/7 webcast and video on demand can be seen at

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