SOC students win broadcast journalism awards
By Maggie Yarnold
Show and Tell isn’t just for kindergartners.
At Loyola’s School of Communication, journalism students learn that a reporter’s job is to show, not tell, a story.
Digital media storytelling and broadcast journalism have made this concept a greater reality, allowing the subjects to not only speak for themselves, but appeal to a viewer’s emotions.
This year, three SOC students – Jeffrey Chow, Erin Law and Megan McKinley – were acknowledged for their storytelling, receiving the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Award of Excellence within the student documentary section.
Chow’s piece, “One Magazine at a Time,” showcased Steven Rigg, a StreetWise magazine vendor. The story began with Rigg describing the events that made him homeless. The story then turns to his life now with StreetWise providing him a steady income and higher quality of life.
“It starts off with Steven telling his back story … he kind of makes the turn from there to work for StreetWise. It goes from more a somber tone to uplifting,” Chow said.
This turning point is Chow’s favorite aspect of the piece because it shows how organizations like StreetWise can positively affect a person. Chow said he enjoys and wants to continue writing and producing stories for people who typically do not have the social standing to tell their stories for themselves. Chow will be graduating in May with a master’s degree in Digital Media and Storytelling.
“I became interested in telling the story of people who most people wouldn’t take the time to listen to or hear their story, because they have a story to tell,” Chow said. “I worked around the idea of telling the story of people who may necessarily have the voice to do so.”
Chow also said he thinks digital media makes a story more compelling, and more personal.
“I feel like it especially important to hear the voice of the person who’s telling you about their life … their inflections really tell you what’s about to come up and how they feel about the situation,” Chow said.
Both Law and McKinley agreed with Chow. McKinley said having the visual and auditory aspects of video brought out the women’s joy as they spoke about volunteering for or being helped by Dress For Success.
Dress For Success is a non-profit organization that has provided women the support, professional attire and tools to be successful since 1997, according to their website.
“I don’t know [if the story would be as strong without digital media],” Law said. “The women that we interviewed, both the clients and the volunteers, had such interesting stories … and presented themselves in such compelling ways, so getting to hear those stories is a lot stronger than just reading it.”
“Dress for Success” allowed the volunteers and women being helped to tell their stories. The women being helped by Dress for Success are usually struggling financially and looking for the resources they need to get a job.
“One of my favorite parts … I think is when Holly, one of the volunteers, says she just met this woman a few minutes before and she’s so warm and happy,” McKinley said. “It’s almost more exciting for the volunteers to gain the relationship with those women…it’s so much more than just giving someone something to wear.”
Law and McKinley, both said they want to continue producing stories around social justice and empowerment in the near future. Both women will also be graduating with master’s degrees in Digital Media and Storytelling.
“I know Megan [McKinley] and I are both interested in women empowerment in general,” Law said. “Really just focusing on stories around social change, social justice … those are the types of stories I’m interested in and want to continue pursuing.”
Professor John Goheen encouraged Law and McKinley to submit Dress for Success to the BEA Festival of Media Arts competition, according to Law. Dress for Success also received a Student Emmy, but McKinley said she still forgets the BEA Award of Excellence is real.
“It’s kind of strange for me to be in this position, McKinley said. “It’s such a great honor … but then to kind of be in this position where we are given an award like this it sometimes just doesn’t seem real.”
Chow was also happy to have his work rewarded. The addition of showing these stories through video allows readers to meet the people in the video, and “maybe people can learn from this and do better to improve the ways they help the people they’re trying to help,” Chow said.