Southeastern students win Mark of Excellence Awards


Tuesday, June 5, 2018 SPJ Award winners
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

SOUTHEASTERN STUDENTS WIN AWARDS: Students working with Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational cable channel, the Southeastern Channel, recently won 12 Mark of Excellence awards, including five first-place honors in television and videography, presented at the Society of Professional Journalists region 12 competition. For the sixth time, the student newscast “Northshore News” was named first place for “Best Overall Television Newscast.” Individual winners included, seated from left, Wesley Boone of Alexandria, Amanda Kitch of Mandeville, and Tara Barbe of Ponchatoula. Standing is Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. Not shown are Amanda Triay of Big Branch, Maria Goddard of New Orleans, and Jaylon Morris and Jordan Rheams of Baton Rouge.

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University students recently won 12 2017 Mark of Excellence Awards for their work at the Southeastern Channel during the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Region 12 conference in Little Rock, Ark.
     Southeastern students dominated the television and videography categories with the most first-place awards (five) and second-place awards (seven). Their 12 awards easily outdistanced second-place Louisiana State University, which had four total awards and the University of Mississippi with two.
     The first-place awards included “Best Overall Television Newscast” for the student newscast “Northshore News.” It was the sixth time in the last ten years that “Northshore News” been honored as the region’s top newscast.
     Amanda Triay of Big Branch won first place in “Television In-Depth Reporting” for her short documentary “To Speak Again” about Hammond resident Benny Latino’s remarkable recovery of his speech after suffering a stroke. Triay graduated in December of 2017 and is currently marketing producer for WAFB-TV (CBS) in Baton Rouge.
     Tara Barbe of Ponchatoula won first place in “Broadcast News Videography” for videography in her “Northshore News” story “RaceTrac Controversy” about neighborhood protests of building a RaceTrac convenience store in St. Tammany Parish.
     Amanda Kitch of Mandeville won first place for “Broadcast Feature Videography” for her “Northshore News” feature story “Floating Marsh” about how a manmade marsh created by the Southeastern biology department helped clean contaminants from St. Tammany residential ponds.
Jaylon Morris of Baton Rouge won first place in “Broadcast Sports Videography” for his “Southeastern Times” feature story “Coach Jay Ladner” about Southeastern’s head basketball coach. Morris graduated in December 2017 and is currently a news reporter for WXXV-TV (ABC/FOX) Ch. 25 in Gulfport, Miss.
     Leading the second-place Finalist winners was Kitch with honors in “Television Feature Reporting” for “Floating Marsh” and in “Broadcast News Videography” in her “Northshore News” stories “Courthouse and Jail Tax” and “Mandeville Beach.”
     Others honored with second-place recognition were Wesley Boone of Alexandria in “Television Sports Reporting” for his story for “The Big Game” sportscast “Saints vs. Bucs: Meet the Justice League;” Maria Goddard of New Orleans in “Broadcast Feature Videography” for her “Northshore News” feature story, “Clydesdale Horses;” Triay in “Broadcast Feature Videography” for “To Speak Again;” and Jordan Rheams of Baton Rouge in “Broadcast Sports Videography” for his story “Lions vs. William Carey Basketball” for “The Big Game.”
     Rheams, a May 2018 Southeastern graduate, is now a news producer at WBRZ-TV (ABC) Ch. 2 in Baton Rouge. Goddard, a May 2017 graduate, is currently a news producer at KRCR-TV (ABC) Ch. 7 in Redding, Calif.
     The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year. SPJ’s Region 12 comprises all universities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Mark of Excellence Awards were judged by SPJ industry professionals who were directed to choose entries they felt were the best in student journalism. If no entry rose to the level of excellence, no award was given.
     “The Society of Professional Journalists is one of the most prestigious organizations in all of journalism, so it’s terrific for our students to dominate against the largest universities in the region,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “It’s a tremendous honor for our students to be recognized not only for news production, but also for sports and documentary programs and videography. I’m thrilled that our students have been honored for their hard work.”
     In its 15 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 300 national, international and regional awards, including 17 awards from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston and St. Helena parishes, along with its live 24/7 webcast and video on-demand at The Southeastern Channel can also be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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