Southeastern students dominate SPJ Awards


Thursday, January 27, 2022 
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

Chris RosatoSOUTHEASTERN STUDENTS RECEIVE SPJ AWARDS - The Southeastern Channel recently dominated the television and videography divisions of the Mark of Excellence Awards given by the Society of Professional Journalists for top college journalism in Region 12, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The channel won five first-place awards and nine awards total for television and videography, including a first-place honor for “Northshore News,” the seventh time the student newscast has won first place in the region. Pictured is “Northshore News” co-anchor Chris Rosato of Mandeville.

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University students at the Southeastern Channel won nine Mark of Excellence Awards, including five first-place honors, at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Region 12 conference.
     Southeastern students received the most television and broadcast videography honors out of all universities in the competition, including the most first-place awards with five and second-place finalist awards with four. The closest competing university had two first-place awards. Universities competing included Louisiana State University, the University of Arkansas, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Harding University, and Middle Tennessee State.
     The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year. The SPJ 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 has long been one of the most respected journalism organizations. For our students to dominate the competition against much larger universities is truly an outstanding achievement and, once again, shows that our students and program are the best in the region,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “These awards reflect the high quality of broadcast journalism in both news and sports production by our students, and I’m very proud of their high standards and strong efforts. I’m extremely happy that their hard work has been rightly recognized.”
     First-place winners included the Southeastern Channel’s student newscast “Northshore News” for “Best All-Around Television Newscast;” the channel’s “Southeastern Times” for “Best All-Around Television News Magazine;” Dylan Domangue of Houma for “Broadcast News Videography;” Jacqueline Doucet of Covington for “Broadcast Feature Videography;” and Caroline Fussell of Covington for “Television Sports Reporting.”
     Receiving finalist or second-place recognition were Chris Rosato of Mandeville for “Television News General Reporting;” John Sartori of Mandeville for “Television Sports Reporting;” and Doucet for both “Television Feature Reporting” and “Broadcast Feature Videography.”
     The Nov. 11, 2020 episode of “Northshore News” won first place for “Best All-Around Television Newscast,” the sixth time the channel’s newscast has won first-place honors in the region. Anchors for the newscast included Rosato and Lily Gayle of Greensburg with reporters Rosato, Gayle, Fussell, Kaylee Normand of Mandeville, Raychelle Riley of Denham Springs, Coby Sanchez of Baton Rouge, and Kayla Martin of New Orleans.
     The newscast featured Sanchez, a certified storm spotter for the National Weather Service, capturing dramatic live footage of Hurricane Zeta from inside the storm’s eyewall.
     The Dec. 7, 2020 episode of the channel’s “Southeastern Times” was named first-place winner for “Best All-Around Television News Magazine.” The program featured anchors Carson Fryou of Ponchatoula and Fussell, along with stories by reporters Fussell, Fryou and Doucet. It marked the second consecutive year that “Southeastern Times” brought home first place.
     “Southeastern Times” includes feature stories that spotlight faculty, students, and Southeastern campus programs, along with people and events in the southeast Louisiana region. The winning program and feature stories were produced in Settoon’s Communication 409: Production of the Television Newsmagazine course.
     Doucet’s three individual awards included the story, “A Quarantine with Stars,” which won first place in the “Broadcast Feature Videography” category and second place in the “Television Feature Story Reporting” category. The story centers on Father Mike O’Rourke, a Catholic Dominican priest serving as chaplain for college students at the St. Albert’s Catholic Student Center on campus.
     O’Rourke’s love of astronomy led him to spend a two-week quarantine during the pandemic in the Copper Bricks State Park in Quanha, Tex., where he stargazed using his telescope with a clear view of open sky.
     Doucet also won finalist recognition in “Broadcast Feature Videography” for “Our Daily Bread,” a story about a Hammond food pantry and its food distribution during the pandemic.
     Domangue won first place in “Broadcast News Videography” for his “Northshore News” story “Pearl River Flooding.” It marked the third straight year that Domangue won first place for his videography. In 2019 and 2020 he finished first and second in the nation for both news and sports videography.
     Fussell won first place for her feature story “Lessons, Leaders, and a Salter Legacy” about legendary Covington High School football coach Jack Salter.
     Rosato won finalist honors for his “Northshore News” story “Mail-In Voting” about the 2020 presidential election while Sartori was a finalist for “The Last Time the Lady Lions Made the Playoffs,” a story about Southeastern’s women’s basketball team for the student sportscast, “The Big Game.”
     Rosato is now a TV news reporter at WAFB-TV Ch. 9 (CBS) in Baton Rouge, while Riley is a news reporter for WGMB/WVLA-TV (FOX 44/NBC 33) in Baton Rouge. Domangue is sports director/anchor for KALB-TV Ch. 6 (NBC) in Alexandria, La., while Sartori is a sports anchor/reporter at KTAL-TV Ch. 6 (NBC) in Shreveport.
     In its 19 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards, including 22 awards from the Emmys. The Southeastern Channel can be seen on Spectrum Cable 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes and on for viewers in Washington Parish. In addition, the live 24-7 broadcast can be seen on Roku, Apple TV and the channel’s website at, which also offers programs via video on demand. The Southeastern Channel is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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