Oklahoma Baptist University alum Derek Watson received the first Behind-the-Scenes "Rookie of the Year" Emmy Award July 19 at the Heartland Regional Emmy Awards gala dinner at the OKC Marriott in Oklahoma City. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Heartland Chapter includes Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska.
The "Rookie of the Year" prize was created to honor young members in the industry who show promise in making an impact in the Heartland region and in the broadcast industry.
The awards event, conducted primarily at the Belmar Center in Lakewood, Colo., was simulcast live to the Oklahoma venue for the second year in a row. About 550 attendees participated between the two cities, garnering more than 80 awards.
Watson's employer, the Oklahoma Public Broadcasting Service affiliate (OETA), nominated the 2006 OBU graduate for the award based on his work as a photojournalist for the documentary series "Stateline." Watson has been nominated for three other Emmys and has received seven other professional awards for his work at OETA.
Watson attributes the mentorship of OBU professors Dr. Roger Hadley, Dr. David Byland and Mike Bruce for providing the professional tools he needed to find success in his industry.
"It was truly humbling to win this award because I feel there have been so many people who have invested in men and have given me amazing opportunities, and I feel this award is as much their as it is mine," Watson said. "Most of all, without question, the education and experience that I received from the OBU telecommunications department gave me not only an edge to land my first job but also prepared me to excel."
Watson said he believes industry professionals in the region identify OBU as being the best broadcast school in the region.
"OBU students begin gaining valuable hands-on experience as freshmen, while students in other schools have to wait until they are juniors to touch a camera or an edit bay," Watson said. "Sometimes just the name 'OBU' on a resume places you to the top of a pile because of the high quality professionals who are continually being produced out of Sarkeys."
The Sarkeys Telecommunication Center on the OBU campus contains a television studio, a theatre and offices for the Department of Communication Arts. Sarkeys resources and the dedication of their professors give the telecommunications students a valuable broadcast experience.
"I have been extremely fortunate to have had the pleasure of teaching some exceptional students at OBU, and Derek Watson is among those," said Hadley, professor, division chair and director of telecommunication. "He demonstrated that he could not only master the 'tools of the trade,' but he also demonstrated a demeanor of beneficence rarely seen among students.
"At OBU, Derek maximized his education, and now he is maximizing his talents as a professional. I am proud, but not surprised, at what he has accomplished so far. His determination and faith are the keys to his success."
During his years as a student on Bison Hill, Watson received 11 Oklahoma Broadcaster's Education Association Awards, the OETA Gene Dillehay Scholarship and OBU's Communication Arts Outstanding Senior of 2006 award. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Watson moved with his family at age 13 to Lisbon, Portugal, which he considers his hometown.