Multimedia Journalism Student Broadcast Takes First Place in Annual Competition

WGVU Control Room
The WGVU control room during production of “West Side Stories” (photo courtesy of James Ford)

In its first season airing on WGVU, “West Side Stories,” a Multimedia Journalism student-produced entertainment program, won First Place in the “Daily Newscast” category of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ Student Awards (College Television division).

The winning episode was dated November 1, 2017, and the student awardees, announced by the MAB on January 25, were GVSU Multimedia Journalism majors Preston Donakowski, Cali Hubbard, Emory Fralick, and Eric Deyo.

Multimedia Journalism Visiting Professor James Ford developed “West Side Stories” in collaboration with WGVU Assistant General Manager Jay Lowe and Director of Content Phil Lane.

Ford in classroom with news teams.png
A “West Side Stories” production meeting with (L-R) Zakia Brewer, Savannah Bressman, Sam Schrepferman, Jessica Croel, Professor Ford, Regan Blissett, Cali Hubbard (Photo courtesy of James Ford)

Ford credits the students’ hard work with the show’s early success. 

“Sometimes I feel like the ‘West Side Stories’ show is like the kids’ classic ‘The Little Engine That Could,'” Ford said. “No matter how challenging things got, students never gave up the dream to one day be an award-winning broadcast show.”

“West Side Stories” first aired on December 31, 2017, which Ford calls “a New Years’ resolution if there ever was one.”

Ford adds that “West Side Stories” is the kind of production work that multimedia journalism students need to prepare for the real world.

“I can’t imagine a better learning experience for young journalists, they are doing just exactly what their professional counterparts are doing, in award-winning style.”

Ford also credits the hard work of WGVU staffers Megan Felch, Andrew Murray and Zach Liniewski with getting the show ready for air.

Three other Multimedia Journalism students earned 2018 MAB honors. Paul McPherson and Nate Dreyer won Honorable Mention for Sports Announcing Team, and Regan Blissett took Second Place in the News Feature category.

“West Side Stories” airs Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. on WGVU Life Channel 35.3. All episodes are available on its YouTube channel.

The full list of MAB 2018 winners is here.