JMC students cover breaking news, win national awards

Posted August 20, 2012

When journalism students Farron Salley ('12), Jozie Sands ('12) and Caitlin Bradford ('13) saw a need for news coverage in Abilene, they used their passion for reporting to cover the events and win national awards.

Recent graduates Salley and Sands applied their journalism skills to inform audiences of ACU's bus accident tragedy this past November with a special report.

"These two students took the initiative to direct, write and produce their piece in the days after the accident in order to better explain the story to our community," says Dr. Kenneth Pybus, professor and faculty adviser for The Optimist and the Society of Professional Journalists chapter. "That's the kind of enterprising spirit we want our students to learn because that's what will make them successful in the field of mass communication. They saw the need, and they met that need, and we're proud of that."

Their work consisted of researching, producing and reporting a special broadcast about the accident and a tribute to Anabel Reid, who died in the accident. The report recently wonfirst place honors in the News, Sports or Feature Story in the Student Broadcast (Radio & TV) division at the Lone Star Awards, sponsored by the Press Club of Houston.

In addition, Salley's next-day video report on the accident has been named a national finalist in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards in the Television Breaking News Reporting category. Salley is now a journalism graduate student at Syracuse University, while Sands is a page designer and copyeditor at the Kerrville Daily Times.

Caitlin Bradford ('13) used her media expertise to create a video feature story on art student Leah Green ('13) and the garden in the back of her truck. Bradford's piece was named a national winner in the Television Feature Reporting Category of the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards.

"These are examples of what some people call 'entrepreneurial journalism,'" says Cade White, instructor and Adviser to the JMC Network at ACU. "It's all about taking a project from beginning to end and mixing creativity with vision. It's an example of what we work to teach every day in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication."

Learn more about the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.