Southeastern Channel students win Mark of Excellence Awards

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Tyler Waggenspack
by: Tonya Lowentritt

MARK OF EXCELLENCE WINNER- Southeastern Louisiana University student Tyler Waggenspack of Baton Rouge recently won three Mark of Excellence Awards, including a first-place honor for Television General News Reporting, given by the Society of Professional Journalists. Waggenspack produced his honored stories for the Southeastern Channel’s national award-winning student newscast “Northshore News.”  Waggenspack, who graduated in 2016, now works as an anchor-reporter at KCWY-TV News 13 (NBC) in Casper, Wyoming. Not pictured is SPJ finalist Maria Goddard of New Orleans.

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University students at the Southeastern Channel won four 2016 Mark of Excellence Awards at the recent annual Society of Professional Journalists Region 12 conference in Knoxville, Tenn.
     Former Southeastern Channel student television news anchor-reporter Tyler Waggenspack of Baton Rouge won three Mark of Excellence Awards, including one first-place award, while Maria Goddard of New Orleans won a second-place finalist award. The awards honor the best of collegiate journalism during a calendar year. SPJ’s Region 12 consists of all universities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.
     Waggenspack graduated from Southeastern in 2016, receiving his degree in the electronic media concentration of the Department of Languages and Communication. He’s currently a news anchor-reporter for KCWY-TV News 13 (NBC) in Casper, Wyo.
     “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my training at the Southeastern Channel,” Waggenspack said. “The hands-on experience and opportunities to apply my learning skills definitely gave me a real world experience. My professors saw my potential and pushed me to strive for excellence.”
     Waggenspack won first-place honors in the Television General News Reporting category for his story “Strawberry Fest Financial Impact” that he produced for the channel’s newscast “Northshore News.”  The story focused on local strawberry farmers who make a living on their crops from sales at the state’s largest festival and how those sales also bolster the local economy. His videography for the story also brought home a finalist award in the Television News and Feature Photography category.
     He won second-place finalist recognition in the same category for his package “Florida Parishes Juvenile Center” detailing the consequences of a St. Tammany detention center closing if an upcoming property tax didn’t pass, resulting in juveniles moving to other centers or returning to the streets. 
     Goddard won her finalist award in the Television Feature Reporting category for her feature “Lucky the Horse” produced for “Northshore News.”  The story covers the rescue of Lucky, an abandoned and emaciated horse found in a ditch, and its dramatic recovery at a Slidell equine rescue center.
     Goddard also recently won first place for the same story in the College News Feature Story category at the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters College Journalism Awards in Jackson, Miss. Earlier she also won fourth-place Best of South recognition at SEJC as “Best Television News Feature Reporter.”
     “We’re excited that our students continue to win top honors against all of the largest universities in the region,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon.  “It’s gratifying to see Tyler and Maria become such good broadcast journalists and rightfully honored by such a prestigious journalism society. They create strong, impactful stories for their audience and use great creativity in shooting and reporting them.”
     Judged by professionals in other parts of the country, the Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best in student journalism. Judges choose only those entries they feel are outstanding work.  
     The Southeastern Channel has won over 300 awards in the past 14 years, including 15 awards and 56 nominations from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Charter 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes. The live 24/7 webcast and video on demand can be seen at, and on mobile devices at

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