Cronkite students nominated for Rocky Mountain Emmy Student Production Awards

Cronkite students are the leading award nominees

Eighteen ASU journalism students’ works have been nominated for Rocky Mountain Emmy Student Production Awards this year, the most of any college in the Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Every year, students can submit their work to be recognized by their region’s National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) with a Student Production Award, the collegiate version of a Regional Emmy.

The NATAS, a sister organization of the Television Academy, has 20 regional chapters throughout the U.S., including the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter, which is made up of members from Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and El Centro, California. 

“We understand that students are really the future of our academy,” said Chuck Emmert, education chair for the Rocky Mountain NATAS. "We know that we need to develop younger talent like that, that’s involved with, really the industry’s highest honor, which is the Emmy Award.

“Everyone kind of wants to have a barometer for the quality of the work that they’re doing … and that Student Production Award is that barometer. It tells people, you know what, I’ve competed against all the other universities in the Arizona, New Mexico, Utah region, and I beat them."

The Rocky Mountain NATAS released their Regional Emmy and Student Production Award nominations on Monday, Aug. 29 at FilmBar in downtown Phoenix. 

The Regional Emmys are judged based on content, creativity and execution by judges in another NATAS chapter. The Rocky Mountain Chapter then receives the results as a blind list: They see the scores but do not know which piece has received which score until the night of the award show.

The Student Production Awards nomination process differs in that it is judged locally, and it includes a comment section for judges to provide constructive criticism to allow students to continue improving as journalists.

“The opportunity to get feedback from members of the industry is an incredible opportunity,” said Olivia Riçhard, a senior Cronkite student who who was nominated for two Student Production Awards this year for her pieces “The Korean War: A Forgotten Victory" and “Tamed but Not Broken,” about inmates in Arizona prisons rehabilitating wild horses. 

“Your work is something that NATAS wants to recognize,” Riçhard said, “I think that really says something about the organization itself and their willingness to invest in students.”

It's important that students are recognized for their work said Jim Jacoby, Cronkite journalism professor and ASU Student Group adviser for the Rocky Mountain NATAS chapter.

“In the case of Cronkite students, they go through the professional programs which is treated like a job,” Jacoby said. “They’re not out in the professional world, they’re not getting paid. It reinforces that they’re doing a good job and that they’ve learned their craft the right way.”

ASU Cronkite students pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism usually complete at least one professional program before they graduate, such as Cronkite News, where they are able to gain experience by actually working in a newsroom. 

“I love Cronkite News, there’s an incredible number of opportunities for storytelling,” said Katie Bieri, a Cronkite alumna who was nominated for three Student Production Awards, including for her story "Hummingbird Migration in Arizona."

Bieri, who also received a Student Production Award last year, said the real-world experience that Cronkite students receive, as well as the directors at Cronkite News who specialize in what students are covering, is part of what makes ASU’s journalism school so competitive at the awards.

“Cronkite is blessed with a really strong adjunct faculty core,” Chuck Emmert said. “A lot more than other schools, the instructors at Cronkite, a lot of them are people that are working in the field currently … and I think that brings an element of immediacy to the type of curriculum that’s taught at Cronkite.”

Emmert also said that the awards celebration itself is part of what makes the Regional Emmys and Student Production Awards important, because they provide an opportunity for nominees to network with others in their field. 

The 40th Annual Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards and Student Production Awards will be held on Oct.14 at Chateau Luxe Event Venue in Phoenix. The Student Production Awards will begin at 3 p.m. and the Emmy Awards will begin at 6 p.m., hosted by comedian Michael Airington. Tickets are on sale now until Oct. 5. 

Student Production Award tickets

Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy tickets


Reach the reporter at abpotter@asu.edu or follow @abpotter4 on Twitter.

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Editor's Note: A previous version of this story contained a factual error. Olivia Riçhard is a senior studying at ASU, not a graduate of the university. The correction has been made to reflect this.


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