BVU Members of the Society for Collegiate Journalists Win National Awards


Fernando Silva, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 21-22,eight digital media studentsfrom Buena Vista University received national awards and recognition for their works while two representatives from the BVU chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ) attended the SCJ Biennium conference and the College Media Association (CMA) conference.

According to the SCJ’s website,the aim of the SCJ Biennium conference is to attempt to “bring together students and advisors from SCJ chapters across the country” in one centralized location to listen to and learn from one another. On a similar note, the CMA exists to bring together and provide information to print and digital media students and professionals across the country.

Out of the several hundred college chapters attending the conferences, the BVU chapter of SCJ, represented by President Andrew Bandstra and Vice-President Tyler Brunner, took home two first place honors. BVU senior Alyssa Donnelly won best audio slideshow and Bandstra and BVU alum Tanner Hoops along with the BVTV production team won best television sportscast for the Play-By-Play program.

“For the first time, BVU actually won first place in two separate categories,” stated BVU digital media professor Dr. Andrea Franz on the accomplishment.

While winning first place in solely these categories is already nothing to scoff at, Franz also stated that they were not the only ones to receive honors for their work.

BVU alum Morgan McGrew received first place in the film animation category for his “Buddy Beaver First Amendment” short, and a team comprising of BVU alums Sarah Nicholson and Deidree Friesen and senior Kimberly Diaz came in first place for the audio documentary category.Along with them, Morgan McGrew and Sarah Nicholson were awarded second place for television promo and audio creative, respectively, and Brunner’s“Mental State” podcast was an honorable mention in the podcast category.

While all the rewards were great to bring back, they don’t say much about the way in which the students really felt about the whole experience.

“It was an honor to be up there with the big guys,” Brunnerstated. As the conferences they attended were being held for a group with chapters open nationally, there were people present from colleges far more well-known than BVU and cities much larger than Storm Lake.

“The experience at the College Media Association Conference was nerve wracking,” Brunner said.

Considering he’d been entered without his prior knowledge (but not to his chagrin), it’s obvious to see how one can feel that way, but he came out of the experience with an honorable mention for his podcast in a category with vast competition.

Adding onto the sense of pride Brunner felt for his university, a common sentiment felt by other representatives at the conferences seemed to have been a genuine surprise.

“[That] a university from small-town Iowa would be able to win so many awards was astounding,” Brunner said some students told him at the conference.With the recognition of BVU in the collegiate media community, Brunner feels that “we’ve made a huge step in showing them what Iowa’s capable of.”

“I felt extremely thankful and blessed, and I think that there’s a whole bunch of people who make [Digital Media] a good department at BV” stated Bandstra.  “It’s great for BV, and is a testament to the fact that Andrea [Frantz], Jamii [Claiborne] and Jerry [Johnson] really do go above and beyond in what they do.”