‘Centre County Report,’ news anchor earn top national awards

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A weekly TV newscast produced by College of Communications students earned the top honor and a student news anchor was named best in the nation as Penn State again performed well in the prestigious Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts, a nationwide competition honoring the best in faculty- and student-produced media.

“Centre County Report,” the half-hour news program produced by communications students each week during the academic year, was selected as Student Newscast Best of Festival -- the top honor in the compeititon -- for the second year in a row.  The honor comes with a $1,000 prize and a crystal award.

The winning episode originally aired April 19, 2013, and included stories on Centre County survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, security concerns due to the Boston bombings at the upcoming Penn State spring football game and a live on-set interview with NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris. Mary Rogus, chair of the TV newcast division for BEA, congratulated the students on their work and called it “an excellent newscast.” 

A Penn State student was named best anchor for the second year in a row as well. Johanna Rojas, from Miami, was named the top Television News Anchor.

The compilation of Rojas’s work for the award included anchor duties for stories about a fatal shooting and Meals on Wheels, as well as a stand-up report from the Penn State Dance Marathon and a report in Spanish about conditions for prisonsers being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

In addition, Willie Jungels, from Northfield, N.J., earned honorable mention regnition for his sports work. That included several live, on-location sports reports and duties as sports anchor during “Centre County Report.”

“I’m incredibly proud of our students’ work," said Steve Kraycik, director of student television in the College of Communications. "The 'CCR' staff winning best newscast and best anchor awards two straight years is proof their hard work and professional-style productions are standing out among very strong competition nationwide."

Dean Doug Anderson was pleased “Centre Country Report” claimed BEA’s top honor two years in a row. The individual recognition for Rojas and Jungels rounded out the performance.

“Our students set a high mark last year, and this group equalled that effort,” Anderson said. “With the leadership of Steve Kraycik, the dedication of our talented faculty in the Division of Broadcasting and the hard work of our students, we’ve established some high standards.”

The BEA Festival of Media Arts has been honoring faculty and student work for more than a decade. Approximately 1,600 professors, students and media professionals are individual members of the BEA and some 275 college and university departments and schools are institutional members of the organization.

The BEA is the professional association for professors, industry professionals and graduate students who are interested in teaching and research related to electronic media and multimedia enterprises. The organization was established in 1955, initially as the Association for Professional Broadcast Education, with the current name being adopted in 1973. While the BEA organizational name reflects its historic roots in preparing college students to enter the radio and TV business, the members share a diversity of interests involving all aspects of telecommunications and electronic media.

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Last Updated March 20, 2014