The Society of Professional Journalists presented its regional “Mark of Excellence” awards for collegiate journalism at the Midwest Journalism Conference in Bloomington, Minn. This was only the second year that WRST entered this four-state competition.
The following productions were honored:
- In the category for Best All-Around Radio Newscast, WRST took first place for the 5:55 p.m. newscast of March 30, 2012. The anchor and writer was WRST station manager Spencer Wagen with reporting from students Trevor Uitenbroek and Brian Davidson. The newscast included audio from that day’s visit to campus by GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and a segment by Davidson on the new Horizon Village residence hall, which he produced for the Radio TV News class
- In the category for Radio Feature, first place went to Brian Urbanek for a long-form story he did on the plight of the homeless in Chicago. Second place was awarded to station program director Brandon Kinnard for a behind the scenes look at the life of costumed mascots. Both segments were produced for the Advanced Radio Production class.
- Kinnard also took a first place in the category for Radio Sports Reporting for a segment he did previewing the UW Oshkosh/UW-Whitewater football game. He also won a second place award for Radio News Reporting for a segment on the “Faces of Washington” exhibit at the Oshkosh Public Library; it was also produced for the Radio TV News class.
The three first place winners will now be entered in the organization’s national competition to face first-place entries from other regions, with winners to be announced in May.
The six-state Northwest Broadcast News Association also presented its journalism awards at the Bloomington event. The awards are named for and honor Eric Sevareid, the longtime CBS News reporter and commentator. Due to an error in the organization’s contest website, WRST’s entries were mistakenly judged in the professional categories rather than the student categories. Eight UWO entries were honored, six of which were first place awards:
- WRST took first place for best radio newscasts for the previously-mentioned newscast from March 30, 2012.
- The Urbanek piece on Chicago’s homeless took first place in the category for hard features.
- The Kinnard piece on mascots was awarded first place in the soft feature category
- WRST also won first place in the sportscast/sports program category for the “2012 WIAC Preview Show.” It was produced by Wagen, Kinnard, former station manager Tyler Thrune and sports director Tyler Lance, who will serve as WRST program director in the fall.
- WRST also took first place in radio sports play-by-play for the call of the UWO/UW-Whitewater football game. The program was produced by Tyler Lance with Kinnard and Alex Crowe on the call. Crowe will be WRST’s station manager in the coming year.
- Kinnard was also awarded first place for sports reporting for the UWO/UW-Whitewater football segment and won the Award of Merit in this category for an interview he conducted with UWO football coach Pat Ceronni.
- Finally, WRST was given an Award of Merit in the category for broadcast writing. Kinnard won for his reminiscences of being a minor league baseball announcer in the summer of 2012. This segment was also produced for the Advanced Radio Production class.
UWO RTF students have won 41 major competitive awards thus far this academic year.
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