UNT journalism students win big at BEA2019, SPJ regional conference

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 12:36

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Aspiring journalists at the University of North Texas have won major honors at two recent collegiate contests for student media: the Society of Professional Journalists and the Broadcast Education Association.

Students enrolled in the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism and the Department of Media Arts at UNT – including students with the North Texas Daily, NT Daily TV and ntTV – won Mark of Excellence awards at the Region 8 Conference in Stephenville, Texas, March 23, as well as at the national BEA2019 Conference Awards in Las Vegas April 6 – 9.

For SPJ, UNT students competed in the large school category, which includes institutions with more than 10,000 students. First place winners will compete at the national level, among winners from the 12 Society regions, in San Antonio, Texas this September.


SPJ winners:

  • Ben Savallo, NT Daily TV, won first place in the Television Sports Reporting category. Savallo's story, "Sacrificing it All," followed athletes who travel around the state hoping to break into the world of professional wrestling. The story shared the athletes’ passion as well as the toll it takes on their bodies and personal lives. Lecturer Brittany McElroy is the managing editor of NT Daily TV.
  • Mayborn students in journalism lecturer Mark Donald’s feature writing class won first place in the Feature Writing category for their “Working Stiffs” series. Published in the Denton Record-Chronicle, the series shared the stories of working-class Denton residents. The stories were written by Slade Meadows, Rachel Linch, Morgan Price, Brigitte Zumaya Baket and Mishal Niha. Read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here and part 4 here.
  • Jordan Collard, a photographer with the North Texas Daily, was a finalist in the Breaking News Photography competition for “Ted Keeps it Red,” a photo of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The photo was taken during the 2018 general election.
  • Mayborn students in journalism lecturer Gary Ghioto’s senior capstone course were named finalists in the Best Use of Multimedia category for their series, “A day in the Life of UNT.” Featuring an hour-by-hour snapshot on April 4, 2018, students reported on dozens of events, activities and other occurrences during the 24-hour period. A social media component, #DayUNT, involved 40 students in two Mayborn courses.
  • Media Arts students Daniela Ibarra and Drake Lawton, hosts of ntTV, an on-campus, student-run television station, were named finalists for their , which featured coverage of the State Fair of Texas anchored live from Fair Park in Dallas. Lawton served as the station’s news director and Ibarra served as the assistant news director, under the guidance of Phyllis Slocum, a principal lecturer and advisor for ntTV.


BEA winners:

  • The ntTV Nightly News won second place for a newscast broadcast four days or more, live to air with no post production.


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