Southeastern Channel named best in the nation


Thursday, June 30, 2022 
by: Tonya Lowentritt Hurricane Zeta

SOUTHEASTERN CHANNEL WINS FIRST IN THE NATION - The Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational cable television station, has been honored once again as best in the nation with a first-place national award given by College Broadcasters, Inc. The channel won for Best Video Newscast for its Nov. 11, 2020 episode of “Northshore News.” Pictured is a scene from the winning episode of Lake Pontchartrain getting battered by Hurricane Zeta.


     HAMMOND - The Southeastern Channel has once again been recognized as best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc.
     The channel was honored at CBI’s National Student Production Awards with first place in the nation for Best Video Newscast for its Nov. 11, 2020 episode of the student newscast, “Northshore News.”
     It marks the 11th time that the Southeastern Channel has won first place in the nation honors in college television from College Broadcasters, Inc.
     The Southeastern Channel also won five other national honors from CBI, including second place in the nation for Best Hard News Reporting, Best Feature News Reporting, Best Video Promo, and Best Video PSA. The channel also won a third-place award in the Best Hard News Reporting category.
     The channel won its awards from the over 1,000 entries submitted by the top broadcasting schools from throughout the nation. Its six national awards were the most of any other college television station in the country. Other award winners included Syracuse, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Temple, Utah State, Oregon State, North Texas, Middle Tennessee, and the University of Texas at Austin.
     “It’s an honor for the Southeastern Channel to win first place in the nation 11 times now against the best competition in college broadcasting,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “We’re so happy for our students who work hard to achieve the highest quality possible with each new production. Their honors are well-deserved and carry on the Southeastern Channel’s legacy of production excellence.”
     “To win first place in the country is honor enough, but when you look at how many we were competing against it really makes it that much more special,” said student Chris Rosato of Mandeville, who produced, anchored, and reported for the award-winning newscast.
     In addition to winning this year for the nation’s top student newscast, since 2014 the Southeastern Channel has been named best in the country three times for Best TV Hard News Reporting, twice for Best Video Sportscast, two times for Best Video PSA, once for Best Video Comedy, once for Best Video Documentary, and once for a live football game broadcast.
     It was the first time “Northshore News” has won the first-place award for the best student TV newscast in the country. The newscast had previously won second place in the nation twice.
     Rosato’s co-anchor on the winning episode was Lily Gayle of Greensburg, and the program also featured news stories by Rosato, Gayle, Caroline Fussell of Covington, Kaylee Normand of Mandeville, Raychelle Riley of Denham Springs, Kayla Martin of New Orleans, and Coby Sanchez of Baton Rouge.
     “Most college newscasts are dominated by campus news,” Settoon said. “But Northshore News truly serves its viewing audience on the Northshore, potentially 240,000 on Spectrum Cable, with local news that’s not only informative but impactful to their lives.”
     Settoon said that “Northshore News” covers Northshore crime, government, politics, schools, hospitals, safety, health, finance, business, and economic and community development.
     “Students are able to interview government officials like the Louisiana governor and lieutenant governor, state and federal legislators, parish presidents, and city officials,” Settoon said. “Not many student newscasts provide these opportunities.”
     The winning episode presented critical news about viewer safety, hurricane damage and impacts during Hurricane Zeta. Sanchez, a certified storm spotter for the National Weather Service, captured dramatic live footage of Zeta from inside the storm’s eyewall.
     The newscast also included Rosato’s coverage of the fall 2020 election and Normand’s live interview from the state capitol in Baton Rouge with Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, about recent sports betting legislation.
     In addition to anchoring and producing, Rosato produced a news package on St. Tammany Parish’s pursuit of the death penalty in the murder of beloved Mandeville police officer Captain Vincent Liberto.
     Martin covered the reopening of movie theatres on the North Shore after they were shut down due to the onset of the COVID pandemic. Meanwhile, Riley looked at the controversy surrounding the medical supply giant, Medline, and its plans to open an 800,000 square foot distribution center in Covington.
     Gayle reported on the construction of a new Methodist children’s home in Loranger, while Normand looked at a new plan to improve safety, transportation, and community activity along Madisonville’s Riverfront area for local residents and businesses.
     Fussell’s story from the same episode, “COVID-19 Vaccine,” won second place in the nation for Best Video Hard News Reporting. Her story described efforts by the Tulane Primate Center in Covington to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by using monkeys. It also gauged local resident views about wanting to use any of the proposed COVID vaccines once they were released to the public. Like the other reporters, Fussell researched, wrote, produced, reported, shot, and edited the story.
     “Our Daily Bread,” a feature story about a Hammond food pantry by Jacqueline Doucet of Covington, won second place in the country for Best Feature News Reporting.
     Other second-place winners were “Halloween at the Southeastern Channel” for Best Video Promo by Joseph Trosclair of Mandeville, along with “Check the Beep” about fire safety for Best Video PSA from Josh Manuel, also of Mandeville.
     “Mail-In Voting,” a news story by Rosato about the controversial voting process prior to the fall 2020 presidential election, which aired in a different episode of “Northshore News,” won third place for Best Hard News Reporting.
     After graduating from Southeastern in December of 2020, Rosato was hired as the legislative reporter at WAFB-TV Ch. 9 (CBS) in Baton Rouge. His WAFB story on “Mardi Gras in Mamou” aired on the network show “Inside Edition,” and also went viral. Rosato credits the Southeastern Channel with playing a key role in his training and development as a news reporter, anchor and producer.
     “The Southeastern Channel offered me exceptional one-on-one instruction and met all of my work with constructive criticism that I could apply to my next story or show,” Rosato said. “Regarding the job market, working at the channel separated me from the competition by giving me the opportunity to cover real-world current event stories and not just restrict me to on-campus assignments. The Southeastern Channel prepared me to go out into the community and work with public officials and everyday people.”
     The Southeastern Channel has now won over 500 national, international, and regional awards, including 23 awards from the Emmys, in the past 19 years. The channel can be seen on Spectrum 199 cable throughout the North Shore, and its 24/7 livestream can be seen on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and at The Southeastern Channel is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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