For the sixth time in the past nine years, the Southeastern Channel has been recognized as the “Best College Television Station in the South.”
The channel earned first place “Best of South” honors for the third year in a row and the fourth time in the past six years at the annual Southeast Journalism Conference. Its six years of winning “Best College TV Station” since 2013 are the most by any university in the southeast region of the U.S. During that span, the only times that the Southeastern Channel did not win first place, it won second place.
The SEJC celebrates student journalism and offers an opportunity for participants to develop relationships with students from schools throughout the southeast United States.
This year’s “Best of South” competition featured 369 entries from 30 universities throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. There were 45 judges for the competition, including broadcast and print journalism professionals. Winners were announced in a virtual ceremony from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.
“It’s a great honor to once again be recognized as the very best college television station in the South,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “This is a tribute to the high quality standards of our students, the Southeastern Channel staff, and the television instructors in the Department of Communication and Media Studies.”
In addition, the Southeastern Channel won first place for “Best College Video News Program” for the student newscast Northshore News. The newscast has won first place five times in the past 10 years, the most of any school in the region.
In the individual categories, Kaylee Normand of Mandeville won second place for “Best Television Journalist in the South,” while Chris Rosato, also from Mandeville, won third place for “Best Television Hard News Reporter.” Both Normand and Rosato won for their Northshore News stories.
Emile Stretcher of Jennings and Cameron Pittman of Bogalusa won second and fifth place, respectively, for “Best Advertising Staff Member.” Raychelle Riley of Denham Springs won second place for “Best Journalism Research Paper.”
“Best of South” judges were impressed with Northshore News, which has won honors from College Broadcasters, Inc. as the second-best college TV newscast in the nation.
“These newscasts were very well produced,” said one judge. “Great local stories. Nice variety. Good mix of hard and soft. Strong visuals. Well-stacked shows with balance.”
Comments from another judge included, “Extremely professional and watchable program here! Great news judgment, as stories seemed well sourced and appeared where they ‘should.’ Nicely done. The hurricane footage was especially gripping!”
Anchors for Northshore News included Rosato, Normand, Lily Gayle of Greensburg, and Gabrielle Cox of Hammond.
Reporters for the newscasts were Rosato, Normand, Riley, Gayle, Cox, Dylan Domangue of Houma, Kayla Martin of New Orleans, and Lorraine Weiskopf and Caroline Fussell of Covington.
Student reporter Coby Sanchez of Baton Rouge, a certified storm spotter for the National Weather Service, captured dramatic live footage of Hurricane Zeta from inside the storm’s eyewall for one Northshore News episode.
This is the second consecutive year that Rosato has won an individual honor at the Southeast Journalism Conference. Last year he won third place in the “Best Television Journalist” category and third in the onsite competition for “Best Television Anchoring.”
Rosato also won regional honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place national award from College Broadcasters, Inc. for his news stories. Additionally, the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, made up of all television and radio professionals in the state, named him the 2020 Louisiana Student Broadcaster of the Year.
Normand won an SPJ national award for her reporting and anchoring for the Southeastern Channel news magazine Southeastern Times, as well as a regional SPJ Mark of Excellence award for news feature reporting.
Rosato, Normand and Riley were hired as television news reporters right after graduating in December of 2020. Rosato was hired to report for WAFB-TV Ch. 9 (CBS) in Baton Rouge, while Normand was hired by KATC-TV Ch. 3 (ABC) in Lafayette. Riley now reports for WGMB-TV Ch. 44 (FOX)/WVLA-TV Ch. 33 (NBC) in Baton Rouge.
In its 19 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards, including 20 awards from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Spectrum Channel 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston and St. Helena parishes and on mthermonwebtv.com in Washington Parish. The channel’s live 24-7 broadcast is streamed on Roku, Apple TV and thesoutheasternchannel.com, which also offers video on demand. The Southeastern Channel can also be accessed through its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts.