Southeastern student receives scholarship from WDSU-TV

Friday, March 31, 2017Maria Goddard receives scholarship from WDSU-TV
by: Tonya Lowentritt

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT- Maria Goddard, a Southeastern Louisiana University senior from New Orleans, is presented the first annual Billy Pilgrim Scholarship in Creative Services by WDSU-TV General Manager Joel Vilmenay at the 2017 Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Prestige Awards luncheon in Baton Rouge. A reporter-anchor for the Southeastern Channel’s student newscast, “Northshore News,” Goddard received the $1,500 award in honor of Pilgrim, the award-winning creative services director at WDSU who died last summer.

     HAMMOND – A student television news reporter at Southeastern Louisiana University has been honored with the first ever Billy Pilgrim Scholarship in Creative Services presented by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters.
     Maria Goddard of New Orleans, an anchor-reporter for the Southeastern Channel’s award-winning student newscast, “Northshore News,” received the $1,500 scholarship recently in Baton Rouge at LAB’s annual Prestige Awards luncheon attended by the top television and radio broadcasters in the state.
     “I have to give the credit to God,” Goddard said.  “I’m really humbled that I was even considered because Billy Pilgrim was such a great man. I’m honored to be able to represent him and to carry on his legacy of being creative in the best way possible.”
     Goddard is the first-ever recipient of the scholarship established this year by WDSU-TV in New Orleans in honor of Pilgrim, an award-winning creative services director for WDSU who died last summer. Two months before he died, Pilgrim’s WDSU creative services department won the state’s Promotion of the Year Award at LAB’s 2016 Prestige Awards.
     “The Southeastern Channel is incredible, and it shows with all of the awards it wins,” Goddard said. “Our quality of work is recognized on so many levels. We’re able to be on an anchor desk and have the feel of an actual newsroom. We’re able to go out with all of the cameras, microphones and whatever is needed to get the story done. We have all of the equipment of a professional newscast and news station.”
     Applicants for the scholarship had to submit a 500-word creative writing essay and have a minimum grade point average of 2.5. The judges were members of the WDSU creative services department team.
     The scholarship was presented to Goddard by Joel Vilmenay, WDSU general manager.
     “We wanted to honor Billy with a scholarship in his name as he really cared deeply about teaching our next generation of broadcasters,” Vilmenay said at the ceremony.
     Goddard said she met Pilgrim at LAB’s first student workshop last year in New Orleans, where he was a panelist and gave students a tour of the WDSU facility and his creative services department.
     A communication major at Southeastern, Goddard has earned real world experience through internships at WDSU and WAFB (Baton Rouge) and is an anchor-reporter for “Northshore News,” which has been named “Best in the South” by the eight-state Southeast Journalism Conference and one of the top four in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc. Goddard was honored earlier this year for her fifth-place “Best of South” recognition for “Best Television Feature Reporter” out of television students from 33 universities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee,  Alabama, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
     “Maria aims for the heart with her stories,” said Rick Settoon, Southeastern Channel general manager.  “She digs deep and finds stories that are not only informative, but inspirational and entertaining as well. Then her excellent creative writing and reporting talents take over to deliver stories that are impactful and moving for the audience.”

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