MJ-school radio newscast given top national award by RTDNA for second consecutive year

The Radio Television Digital News Association awarded Carolina Connection — the UNC School of Media and Journalism’s student-produced radio broadcast — its 2018 Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Audio Newscast.

The RTDNA Murrow Awards recognize outstanding work by student journalists, and national award winners are selected from among entries submitted by student journalists across the country.

This is the second consecutive year that Carolina Connection has won the Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Audio Newscast.

"These outstanding student journalists represent not only the future of journalism, but also the professional level of reporting that student journalists are already bringing news audiences across the country,” said RTDNA Chair Scott Libin.

The winning entry – from the week UNC's men's basketball team won the national basketball championship – reported on the sounds around campus the night of the celebration, as well as students' weary return to class the next morning. The program also included stories about the NCAA's decision to end its boycott of North Carolina after HB2’s repeal; the planned renovation of Morehead Planetarium; and an interview with Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace on the future of journalism in the Trump era.  RTDNA called it a “well-rounded presentation” that “painted a picture taking the listener to the places discussed.”

The program was produced and anchored by students George Heath '18 and Nathan Bernstein '18, with stories by John Thomas '17, Rachel Kompare '18, David Doochin '18, Maggie Blunk '18 (M.A.), Jay Siebold '18 and Sophie Kot '17, who also served as the director. Tony Liu '17 was the technical director, and Jonah Lossiah '18 was the sports anchor.

"This award is another testament to the talent, dedication and professionalism of our audio journalism students," said Adam Hochberg, who teaches the class that produces the weekly Carolina Connection program. "While most students were enjoying the basketball game and celebrating afterward, our students were busy reporting and producing compelling stories for our audience."

In addition to the Murrow Award, Carolina Connection has been named the nation’s most outstanding student newscast by the Society of Professional Journalists five times in the past 10 years. In each of the past three years, a Carolina Connection student has won first place in the Hearst Journalism Awards for radio.

“We are fortunate to have a talent like Adam Hochberg to work with our students,” said Susan King, dean of the MJ-school. “He is a leading national voice in radio journalism who uses his experience and dedication to the craft to inspire and mentor the next generation.”

Carolina Connection is broadcast live weekly on WCHL 97.9 FM and is available as a podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and other platforms.

The students will be recognized at the RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City on Monday, Oct. 22.