Cronkite students top national broadcast competition

February 22, 2012

Arizona State University students won more awards at the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts competition than any other school in the country for the third consecutive year.

Students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication earned 20 broadcast and multimedia journalism awards, more than twice as many as the second-place school. Download Full Image

“Being recognized nationally in so many categories is a testament to the depth and strength of our students and faculty here at Cronkite,” said Mark Lodato, Cronkite assistant dean and news director. “From documentary and radio to feature reporting and newscast production, our students strive to do their very best. We couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

The school also won the most Best of Festival awards, the highest honor given in the competition’s individual categories. Cronkite NewsWatch won best student newscast, the second such honor in three years, while the documentary “Tipping the Scales,” about childhood obesity, earned best student documentary.

“Tipping the Scales” was produced by Lisa Blanco, Arielle Horsch, Samantha Lloyd and Angela Ortega for a documentary class. Professor John Craft, who teaches the class, praised the students for their dedication and professionalism.

“They really put a lot of effort into [the documentary],” he said. “They are incredibly professional.”

In addition, Cronkite students recorded two first-place finishes in the competition. Dan Neligh placed first in TV feature reporting, and Daryl Bjoraas received first-place honors in the TV weathercaster category. Other Cronkite students earned honors in the radio feature reporting, TV hard news, TV anchor, TV sports talent and radio hard news categories.

Cronkite students also dominated the Festival of Media Arts competition last year, earning 19 awards, including two Best of Festival and six first-place awards.

The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in April at the BEA annual convention in Las Vegas.

The 2012 BEA award winners are:

Best of Festival: Student Newscast

Cronkite NewsWatch

Best of Festival: Documentary – Long-form

“Tipping the Scales,” Lisa Blanco, Arielle Horsch, Samantha Lloyd and Angela Ortega

First Place: TV Feature Reporting

“Phoenix Symphony Conductor,” Dan Neligh

First Place: TV Weathercaster

Daryl Bjoraas

Second Place: Radio Feature Reporting

“Golden Grannies,” Isaac Easle

Second Place: TV Hard News

“Obama Campaign in Arizona,” Lindsay Nadrich

Third Place: TV Anchor

Lindsay Nadrich

Third Place: TV Weathercaster

Taryn Hale

Third Place: TV Sports Talent

Brandon Kamerman

Honorable Mention: Radio Hard News

Lydia Camarillo, “Occupy Phoenix”

Honorable Mention: TV Feature Reporting

Taryn Hale, “For Rancher, Life on the Border…”

Honorable Mention: TV Feature Reporting

Gardenia Coleman, “From DOPE to HOPE”

Honorable Mention: TV Feature Reporting

Nathan O’Neal, “Underground Hotel”

Honorable Mention: TV Feature Reporting

Andrew Ellison, “Land Preserves”

Honorable Mention: TV Feature Reporting

Krystal Klei, “Homeless Sleeping Mats”

Honorable Mention: TV Hard News

Matt Trotter, “Superstition Crash”

Honorable Mention: TV Anchor

Dan Neligh

Honorable Mention: TV Anchor

Andrew Ellison

Honorable Mention: TV Sports

Siera Lambrecht, “Sun Devils 101,” Episode 6

Honorable Mention: Documentary – Long-form

Nathan O’Neal, “Stateless in the Dominican Republic”

Presentation to focus on improving ballot initiative process

February 22, 2012

The public is invited to attend a free session at ASU’s West campus to examine a process being used in Oregon that helps voters make informed decisions about ballot initiatives.

The Participatory Governance Initiative of ASU plans to host the discussion from 3 to 4:30 p.m., March 6, in room 199, of the CLCC Building. The West campus is located at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. Download Full Image

The session features special guest John Gastil, a Penn State University professor and leading expert on deliberative democracy. Gastil authored a report on the Oregon experiment.

Article 4 of Arizona’s Constitution gives voters the power to propose laws through ballot initiatives. For many, this component of direct democracy is an essential part of the idea that the power of government truly lies with the people. However, ballot initiatives are not without problems. Critics argue that it is sometimes too easy for organized groups to run a campaign based on partial or misleading information and to persuade voters to pass legislation that puts significant burdens on the state.

Is there a way to preserve the democratic benefits of ballot initiatives while reducing their shortcomings? The answer may be found in an Oregon experiment that helps citizens to see the entire picture, weigh the different arguments, and check the accuracy of the alleged facts before they vote.

In the “Citizens’ Initiative Review,” now an integral part of the initiative process in Oregon, 18 to 24 randomly selected citizens hear both sides of the issue, consult with experts, deliberate among themselves, vote on the initiative, and write a short statement that summarizes the arguments in favor and against. This statement is included in the voters’ pamphlet, so that voters can know what a randomly selected panel of citizens thought about the initiative and why.

“Ballot initiatives often address complex issues and can have multiple possible consequences. Citizens often have hard time making a decision. The problem is not that they cannot find advice about how to vote but that they cannot be sure whose advice to trust,” said Amit Ron, an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

“I believe that democracy is the best way to make decisions about how to live together but that it is a complex institution,” said Ron, who conducts research focusing on democratic theory. “Democracy requires a complex set of institutions that allow for informed discussions among citizens and between citizens and their representatives. The Citizens’ Initiative Review in Oregon encourages civic engagement and dialogue among citizens that focuses on concrete policy choices rather than grand ideological stands.”

In addition to the West campus session on March 6, ASU’s Participatory Governance Initiative has scheduled discussions with Gastil at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus on March 6 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the College of Public Programs, Room 822, and at the Tempe campus on March 7 from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the School of Social Transformation, West Hall, Room 135.

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