The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University captured major awards at the national 2023 Broadcast Education Association’s (BEA) Festival of Media Arts contest.
Cronkite students won 31 awards, including four first place finishes and two “Best of Festival” awards. The “Best of Festival” prizes are the highest honors awarded at the festival, with only 12 student winners chosen from more than 1,650 entries.
The BEA Festival of Arts contest is known as the preeminent international media competition focused on student and faculty creative endeavors in categories such as audio, documentary, film & video, interactive media & emerging technologies, news, scriptwriting and sports.
Cronkite News took home a “Best of Festival” award for its television newscast, and student Autriya Maneshni won a “Best of Festival” prize for her story “Switch Lab,” a piece about high school students who built a road-worthy electric vehicle as part of a class.
ASU has racked up numerous awards in the contest for several years, finishing as the top overall college in the BEA’s first ranking of schools last year, which were based on the results from the previous five years of the Festival of Media Arts contest.
“I’m extremely proud of these students for standing out among their peers,” said Cronkite School Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. “The Cronkite School continues to produce some of the best student journalists and storytellers in the country. These awards are a testament to their talent, hard work and dedication to the profession.”
The Cronkite School this year won 19 undergraduate awards along with 12 graduate student prizes. Cronkite graduate students swept the “Graduate Student On-Air Talent Competition Category,” taking first, second and third place.
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the Cronkite School won third place in the “Graduate Student Interactive Multimedia and Emerging Technologies Competition” for “Gaslit – Interactive Map,” part of its “Gaslit” investigative project.
“It’s a thrill to again see our students do so well at BEA,” said Cronkite Assistant Dean Brett Kurland, who oversees the school’s professional immersion experiences. “It is a tremendous credit to our amazing students and wonderful faculty who guide them in producing fantastic work.”
The award-winning entries included news, sports and feature stories, weathercasts and multimedia.
Maneshni’s “Switch Lab” story won first place in the “Radio Hard News Reporting Category.” In addition, she won awards for her audio stories “Why they’re thankful: Thanksgiving voices from the Valley” and “Election Translation.”
Maneshni believes in the importance of finding those who are most impacted and have a compelling story to tell. “I think that’s why all three of these stories won because there was a little thing in all three of them that made the judges come out of the judging bubble and resonate with a human being,” she said.
Cronkite News is the news division for Arizona PBS and one of Cronkite’s immersive professional programs where students learn how to work in a newsroom alongside other student journalists and under the expert guidance of professional faculty.
Executive Editor Christina Leonard praised her Cronkite News students for finding compelling stories and continuing to improve as journalists.
“We’re thrilled to see our Cronkite News students’ work recognized by the BEA Festival of the Arts. Our students are devoted to finding amazing stories and honing their craft each day they walk through the newsroom doors. Their passion and commitment shine through – as evidenced by these awards. I’m so proud of our journalists,” Leonard said.
The Walter Cronkite Sports Network studio show “Cronkite Sports Live” submitted an entry to the BEA Festival and won first place in the “Video Sports News Program Category.” The network is a student-run organization at the Cronkite School.
Jake Seymour, a sophomore, was the associate producer for the show and is currently vice president and managing editor for the network.
“To come home and win first place when it’s the first year we’ve ever submitted in the history of the club was really cool,” Seymour said.
Student News Competition:
Best of Festival: Switch Lab; Autriya Maneshni, Arizona State University (Radio Hard News Reporting Category)
Best of Festival: Cronkite News November 28, 2022; Haley Ziomek, Andrew Onodera, Holly Santman & Conor Bonfiglio, Arizona State University (Television Newscast (4/5 days per week)
Short-Form Documentary Category:
Third Place (Tie): Forgotten Children of Mother Magma; Katerina Barushka, Pacey Smith-Garcia, Blessing Jona & Chase Drumgoole, Arizona State University
Radio Feature Reporting Category:
Second Place: Election Translation; Autriya Maneshni, Arizona State University
Third Place: Black Farmers; Athena Ankrah, Arizona State University
Radio Hard News Reporting Category:
First Place: Switch Lab; Autriya Maneshni, Arizona State University
Radio Newscast Category:
First Place: Why they’re thankful: Thanksgiving voices from the Valley; Autriya Maneshni & Emily Mai, Arizona State University
Television Hard News Category:
Award of Excellence: Randolph Wins; Faith Abercrombie, Arizona State University
Television News Anchor Category:
Award of Excellence: Ethan Ryter Anchor Cronkite News and Sports; Ethan Ryter, Arizona State University
Television Weathercaster Category:
Third Place (Tie): Payton Major Fall 2022 Weather Reel; Payton Major, Arizona State University
Award of Excellence: Sara Blue Weather Reel 2022; Sara Blue, Arizona State University
Television Newscast (4/5 days per week):
First Place: Cronkite News November 28, 2022; Haley Ziomek, Andrew Onodera, Holly Santman & Conor Bonfiglio, Arizona State University
TV News Magazine Category:
Award of Excellence: Cronkite Sports Report Season 14, Episode 4; Ike Everard, Arizona State University
Video Sports Story/Feature (short):
Awards of Excellence:
Cardinals in Mexico City; Liam Barrett, Arizona State University
Stephens Journey to Football; Ryan Blank, Arizona State University
Video Sports Story/Feature (long):
Award of Excellence: A Second Chance at Life; Zachary Larsen, Arizona State University
Video Sports News Program:
First Place: Cronkite Sports Live; Nick Borgia, Trey Jordan, Peyton Gallaher & Jake Seymour, Arizona State University
Second Place (tie): Cronkite Sports Report Season 15, Episode 1; Holly Santman, Arizona State University
Second Place: Brophy Esports Team; Tyler Bender, Arizona State University
Graduate Student Audio Competition
First Place: Boys and Girls Club Mental Health Help; Natalie Skowlund, Arizona State University
Second Place: Healing Through Culture; Natalie Skowlund, Arizona State University
Graduate Student Film & Video Competition
First Place (Tie): Hushabye Nursery; Laura Bargfeld, Arizona State University
Second Place: Hunter Pinke Returns to the Court; Nikki Pica, Arizona State University
Third Place: Indigenous Rodeo; Mikenzie Hammel, Arizona State University
Award of Excellence: 3rd Largest Country; Tasneem Amro, Rachel Antidormi, Melanie Chen, James Cobb & Kelsey Ouellette, Arizona State University
Award of Excellence: Indigenous Language; Alexia Stanbridge, Arizona State University
Award of Excellence: Soldier DNA; Mikenzie Hammel, Arizona State University
Graduate Student Interactive Multimedia and Emerging Technologies
Third Place: Gaslit – Interactive Map; Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, Arizona State University
Graduate Student On-Air Talent Competition
First Place: Lauren Green Anchor/Reporter; Lauren Green, Arizona State University
Second Place: Geraldine Torrellas Cronkite News Anchor 2022; Geraldine Torrellas, Arizona State University
Third Place: Edison LaCour Cronkite News; Edison LaCour, Arizona State University