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Cronkite students win big at Rocky Mountain Emmys

Election special, story about marijuana legalization in Mexico among honored pieces

ASU Cronkite student Katie Bieri with her Rocky Mountain Emmy

Katie Bieri won a Student Production Award in Public Affairs/Community Service for a Cronkite News story on a ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court involving marijuana. Bieri, who traveled to Mexico for the story, said the experience was invaluable.

October 12, 2016

Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication took home more Student Production Awards than any other school at the annual Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards Gala this weekend.

Cronkite students won nine Student Production Awards, including best newscast for Cronkite News from the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Students bested the field, winning nearly half of the 20 Student Production Awards presented at gala on Oct. 8 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.

Cronkite alumna Yahaira Jacquez won three Student Production Awards for her work on Cronkite News, the student-produced news division of Arizona PBS. Jacquez won two Student Production Awards for News: General Assignment and another in the Editor category.

Katie Bieri won a Student Production Award in Public Affairs/Community Service for a Cronkite News story on a ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court involving marijuana. Bieri, who traveled with Cronkite Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professor Angela Kocherga to Mexico for the story, said the experience was invaluable.

“I’m really grateful to have a professor like Angela Kocherga, who guided me through the whole process in covering borderlands issues,” said Bieri, who also had previously received a scholarship from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. “My successes are because of the connections I have made at Cronkite.”

In the 2016 contest, Cronkite students received 24 Student Production Award nominations, the most of any school in the contest. (Find links to the winners and nominees at the end of this story.)

The Student Production Awards annually represent the best in collegiate and high school journalism, and the Cronkite School regularly leads them. Since 2009, the Cronkite School has won 35 of the awards.

“We are extremely proud of our outstanding students who won and were nominated for Student Production Awards,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “Their reporting has made a significant impact in Arizona and beyond.”

Other ASU honors

Two Emmy Awards were also earned by the ASU Enterprise Marketing Hub video team.

Salute to Service at ASU 2015,” a half-hour show aired on the Pac-12 Network, was selected as the best in the category of Military Program Feature/Segment or Program/Special. Produced by James Daniels, senior director of video production, the presentation celebrated ASU students and alumni serving in the U.S. armed forces, their personal and service stories, inspirations and college experiences — all set against the backdrop of ASU’s Salute to Service football game against the University of Oregon.

A second Emmy in the Commercial/Single Spot category was the result of a collaboration with Phoenix-based Flock of Pixels. The 30-second spot aired in the greater Phoenix market area and offered proof points of ASU innovation on the occasion of the university’s first of two consecutive recognitions as the country’s “Most Innovative” school by U.S. News & World Report.

“We have such great stories to tell at ASU — stories of innovation, success, discovery, commitment, growth — and to receive such prestigious recognition from your peers is a reflection of this university, its faculty, students and staff,” said Dan Dillon, university chief marketing officer. “These Emmys are a testament to what can be accomplished at ASU and during your time after graduation, and we’re very proud of this recognition.”

In other categories, Arizona PBS videographer Scot Olson won an Emmy for lighting for his work on the local restaurant-review show “Check, Please! Arizona.” “Check, Please! Arizona” is Arizona PBS’s highest-rated locally produced series. Operated by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona PBS is a member-supported community service of ASU.

Student Production Award winners


Windsor Smith, Nicole Fox, Jennifer Soules, Emily Antuna and Madison Romine: “Election Special: March 22, 2016,” Cronkite News

News: General Assignment

Yahaira Jacquez: “Food Waste Problem Along US-Mexico Border Sees Progress,” Cronkite News

Ben Margiott: “LEGO KidsFest Invades Glendale,” Cronkite News

Yahaira Jacquez: “Navajo Family Without Water and Their Daughter,” Cronkite News

Long Form: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Zackary Moran: “El Otro Lado: The Divide Over Arizona's Border Crisis”

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy and Rashinda Bankhead: “Stingray,” documentary

Public Affairs/Community Service

Katie Bieri: “Mexico Opening the Door to Legalization of Marijuana,” Cronkite News


Yahaira Jacquez: “West Phoenix Music Teacher Making a Difference,” Cronkite News


Megan Thompson: “Anchor Reel

Student Production Award nominees


Windsor Smith and Madison Romine: “Newscast: Feb. 17, 2016,” Cronkite News

Katy Burge: “Newscast,” Cronkite News

News: General Assignment

Jacob Garcia: “Donald Trump’s Arizona Rally Showcases His Polarizing Nature,” Cronkite News

Megan Thompson: “Many Who Have Died Crossing Arizona’s Border Remain Unidentified,” Cronkite News              

Megan Thompson: “Phoenix Parking Meter Changes Ease City's Financial Woes,” Cronkite News

Ross Leviton: “TC Chillemi: Keep on Keepin On

Yeowon Kim, Suzanne Jumper and Johnathan Rugg: “Tres Rios – A Constructed Wetland

Long Form: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Langston Fields, Cassie Ronda, Mindy Riesenberg, Rajneesh Bhandari, Nadia Mouelhi, Omar Hassan, and Glaiza Boccelli: “Camels Don’t Fly, Deserts Don't Bloom

Alicia Gonzales, Sierra LaDuke and Graham Bosch: “The Blake Project

Jackie Cotton, Jennifer Soules and Angela Schuster: “Unzipped: Naming Arizona's Nameless


Jacob Garcia: “Building for the Future: Garvin Alston Jr. Quietly Developing for ASU,” Cronkite News

Jacob Garcia: “Tommy Puzey: Marathon Winner Second, Family Man First,” Cronkite News

Public Affairs/Community Service

Lillian Donahue: “Collegiate Tree Planting Challenge”


Katie Bieri: “Congress Has Gone to the Dogs,” Cronkite News


Jacob Garcia: “Anchor Reel

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter, formed in 1959, represents Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and El Centro, Calif.

Stephen Des Georges contributed to this report.



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