Oklahoma Baptist University

Broadcasting Students Win Top Honors at State

OBU students who won awards at the 20th annual OBEA convention included (front row, from left) Jonathan Studstill, Matthew Richie, Janna Smith, (back row) Luke Small and Andrea Gates.

Six Oklahoma Baptist University Communications Arts students won 14 awards at the 20th annual Oklahoma Broadcast Education Association annual convention on April 10 in Oklahoma City. The competition included 200 entries in about 20 categories.

The students competed against their peers representing 14 other Oklahoma colleges and universities including Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. First-, second- and third-place winners received certificates. First-place winners also received a plaque, and highlights of their entries were shown during the luncheon which featured BBC executive producer Kerensa Jennings.

The first-place winners from OBU also have their names placed on permanent plaques in the lobby of Sarkeys Telecommunication Center on the OBU campus.

Luke Small, a senior electronic media production major from Owasso, Okla., received first-place awards in TV feature story and TV entertainment short; second-place awards in TV corporate video and TV music video; and a third-place award in radio newscast.

Matthew Richie, a senior electronic media production major from Fort Gibson, Okla., placed first in TV video essay and radio entertainment narrative; second in TV entertainment short; and third in TV feature story and TV newscast.

Andrea Gates, a senior electronic media production major from Plano, Texas, placed first in radio PSA and third in radio newscast and TV newscast.

Jonathan Studstill, a junior electronic media production major from Arlington, Texas, placed first in radio entertainment short and second in TV video essay.

Janna Smith, a sophomore electronic media production major from Seminole, Okla., placed second in radio entertainment short.

Chuck Porter, a sophomore political science major from Owasso, Okla., placed second in radio entertainment short.

Dr. Roger Hadley, who serves as Frank W. and Pauline G. Patterson professor of journalism and chair of the Division of Communication Arts, said the event offers OBU students an opportunity to measure what they have learned and how they have polished their skills.

"Competition is inherent in the media business," Hadley said. "Students need to learn that now. Obviously they will be competing for jobs later, but by competing for awards now, and being judged by outside professionals, it validates their hard work."

Hadley said it is good for the students to compete now against "the OUs and OSUs of this world," because once they graduate, students will be competing against the same people for jobs in the marketplace. He said OBU students consistently rank among the top-prize winners across the state.

Having taught for 40 years, Hadley said he feels confident in his ability to guide the students to do superior work, yet he said the students find value in the judging process where communications professional validate their education. Every entry is evaluated by three judges, who each complete a critique sheet on the entry.

Some entries merit a personal response from the judges. Gates' entry for radio PSA covered the topic of domestic violence. One judge, Vance Harrison, said Gates' piece was "major league" in its writing and production. Harrison is president of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.

When he first arrived on Bison Hill, Hadley said he could not confidently answer parents who inquired if OBU communications arts majors would definitely land jobs in their field following graduation. The fact that OBU students consistently sweep the OBEA awards competition is one indicator of how his confidence in the program has grown.

"I can say with absolute certainty to a parent: ‘Yes, if your student will stick with us, they can be successful,'" Hadley said. "I have heard enough positive remarks from people in the business world who speak well of our students."

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