Election Connection, Western Connecticut State University’s live news and election coverage production, recently won first place nationally in the highly competitive Broadcast Education Association’s Media Arts Festival.
The award is in the Radio Newscast category for live coverage of the November 2021 elections by “Election Connection”. This year, the BEA Festival received 1,450 entries from colleges and universities across the United States and abroad in several categories. This is the third prize awarded by the BEA to “Election Connection”, after winning first place in 2015 and second place in 2016 in the Television Studio category.
Every year since its debut in November 2011, “Election Connection” has provided election night coverage of national, state and local contest news and results, with an anchor team of students, faculty and expert commentators supported by student journalists covering major races and voters. concerns. The live news program airs from 8 p.m. to midnight and is streamed on the “WCSU Election Connection” YouTube channel, as well as simulcast on campus radio station WXCI-FM 91.7. “Election Connection” also won several awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/New England Student Production Awards, including first place in the General Assignment – Serious News category in 2020.
Executive producer Dr. JC Barone, professor of communication and media arts at WCSU, said students on the course that produces “Election Connection” often stay late after class and work weekends because they are motivated by a commitment to the program. Barone said: “The last two years have been particularly demanding and have tested our spirit and our abilities. This kind of cross-disciplinary collaboration shows what we can do, no matter what challenges we face. »
The 2021 award-winning student crew included co-presenter Jacob Schultz, of Newtown; Jennifer Fajardo, studio election reporter, from Danbury; News Director Jack Dutt, of Danbury; producer/director Bianca Pasqualone, of Bethel; Associate Producer Sophie Baluzy, of Brookfield; researcher Anna Schipf, from Babylon, New York; technical directors Christian Moy and Nicole Speziale, of LaGrangeville, New York; Floor Manager Madeline Bocchino, of Shelton; studio cameraman Richard Stefan, from Danbury; Audio by Ethan Fiske, of Middlebury, and Gabriel Ortiz, of Danbury; and graphic design by Ciara Santiago-Gamble, of Southbury, and Mitchell Sullivan of Colebrook. The field reporting team included Clinton Sosna, of Torrington; Brenden Castro, of Stratford; Kat Dowling of Naugatuck; and Hannah Benenati, of New Paltz, New York.