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Cronkite News Students Take First Place in BEA’s ‘Disrupt the News Challenge’

February 26, 2019
Cronkite"Journalism students at ASU's Cronkite School have won a top student innovation award for a program that follows students as they report the news."

Journalism students at Arizona State University have won a top student innovation award for a program that follows students as they report the news.

“Cronkite News: Full Circle” took the top honor in the “Disrupt the News Challenge,” sponsored by the Broadcast Education Association and TVNewsCheck to encourage student projects that advance innovation in local television news.

In addition to winning the “Disrupt the News Challenge,” Cronkite students won the most awards in the BEA’s annual Festival of Media Arts nation competition. Students took home 23 awards, including the Best of Festival King Foundation Award, the competition’s highest honor, in the sports category.

The “Full Circle” program, produced by students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, premiered online in April 2018, documenting student journalists throughout the reporting process, from conducting interviews to filing stories on deadline for the Cronkite News nightly newscast.

The program gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to report a story and produce a newscast, said Cronkite School Associate Dean Mark Lodato.

“Transparency in journalism is fundamental for democracy,” Lodato said. “Our students took this challenge head-on. Their tremendous work and great creativity is a testament to the type of high-quality broadcast journalism skills students learn at the Cronkite School.”

Melanie Alvarez, who led the student project, said the reporters, studio team and directors “were willing to be open – and even vulnerable – in the documentation of their work. It’s a project we hope an audience can watch to gain a renewed sense of trust in TV news.”

The producers of the project included Cronkite students Olivia Anderson, Hayley Brand, Kevyn Gessner, Keegan Kelly, Alessandra Luckey, Courtney Mally, Azucena Martinez and Ann Marie Schlup. They will participate in a panel on innovation in TV news at the annual BEA conference in Las Vegas in April.

Teams of students from 18 universities across the country submitted entries in the competition. Syracuse University won second place, and third place was awarded to the University of Southern California. For winning the challenge, the Cronkite School was awarded $3,000.

Established in 1955, the BEA is a global professional association for professors, industry professionals and graduate students who are interested in teaching and research related to electronic media and multimedia enterprises.

TVNewsCheck covers the business of television broadcasting, which includes content delivered over the air, on cable, online, on mobile and on over-the-top TV platforms. It produces original reporting about the industry, targeting its core broadcaster readership.