TROY journalism wins national recognition

Posted: Tuesday, 20 May 2008

TROY – Troy University’s TrojanVision News has been named one of the top three campus television news programs in the nation by the Society of Professional Journalists.

This year, collegiate journalists submitted more than 3,400 entries in 39 categories in SPJ’s Mark of Excellence competition. Troy University received a finalist award for the television newscast category.

“One of the things that makes the SPJ Mark of Excellence such a ‘big deal’ is that it is not a test of ‘what is the very best you can do,’ but rather it is a test of ‘what do you do every day’,” said Kyle Bozeman, TROY’s director of television. “SPJ doesn’t ask you to send your best effort -- it asks you to submit the everyday shows you do on three dates SPJ specifies at random during the broadcast year. It’s a measure of everyday performance, of consistent excellence.”

National winners were previously recognized by receiving first place in one of the Society’s 12 regional competitions, and will be recognized Friday, Sept. 5 at the Mark of Excellence Luncheon, which occurs during the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Bozeman said this year, TROY students bested those at the University of Florida to win the SPJ Region 3 first place award, a feat also accomplished by TROY students in 2003.

“We’re constantly investing in our students and their education,” Bozeman said. “Just about every nickel we spend in this department is an investment in providing our students with the opportunity to have a realistic, demanding and rewarding experience in what it’s like to work in television news. The students do live newscasts every day, under deadline pressure, and seen by a real audience. And our staff of experienced broadcast professionals are there every day, providing hands on, one-on-one instruction, and daily critiques of how the students performed.”

Among the students involved in the broadcasts that garnered the Mark of Excellence is:

  • Josh Guantt, a graduate from Valley, now at WJHG NBC Newschannel 7
  • Mark Vaughn, a graduate from Mobile, now at NBC 7 WJHG-TV
  • Stephen Gunter, a graduate from Andalusia, now at WMBB News13
  • Daniel Curtis, a graduate from Mobile, now at WSFA 12 News
  • Johnathan Sellers, a student from Mobile
  • Mary King, a graduate from Bethany, Conn., now at a station in Hagerstown, Md.
  • Denise Bradberry, a graduate from Alexander City, now at WTVY News 4
  • Patrick Claybon, a graduate from Birmingham, now WTVY News 4
  • Anna Hasenbein, a graduate from Cullman, who now works in the insurance industry
  • Heather Bond Freeman, from Troy
  • “I have to attribute much of the credit for this award to our students. We had tremendous senior leadership throughout 2007. Many of them who have graduated over the past year – most individual award winners in various competitions themselves – have moved on to great jobs in television news and people across this country will be seeing their top-quality work for years to come,” Bozeman said.

    Dr. Steve Padgett, chair of the University’s Hall School of Journalism, said that while professors look at statistical comparisons of how academic programs compare with peer institutions, awards such as SPJ’s Mark of Excellence provide validation of student work.

    “We work hard in our classes to balance academics with the practical hands-on skills that help give our graduates an advantage in the job market,” he said. “This award is another external validation that our program works and our students are ready for successful careers. Students understand that statement and are excited to be in a dynamic program that gains national recognition.”