Sophomore David Perez spent more than a month in 2017 working on a feature story that followed D’Mauri Jones, a former UM football wide receiver turned artist who creates original paintings. Perez’s sports package aired on University of Miami TV’s SportsDesk show during the fall 2017 semester. Shortly after, Perez submitted his work, as one of more than 1,500 other entries from across the country, to the Broadcast Education Association awards.
BEA is a “premiere international academic media organization driving insights, excellence in media production and career advancement for educators, students and professionals,” according to the organization’s website. The BEA Festival of Media Arts reviews faculty and students on audio, documentary, interactive media and emerging technologies, news, scriptwriting, sports and video.
Broadcast journalism major Perez, alongside Daniel De Villiers, won first place in the BEA Festival of Media Arts in the category of TV Sports Story/Feature for his package titled “D’Mauri Jones: Painting Inspiration.”
But the acclaim didn’t stop with the first award. Perez also won a “Best of” award in the Student Sports Competition. “Best of” awards select the most elite submissions that already received some recognition. Only 18 “Best of” awards are given out of more than 1,500 entries across a variety of categories, including sports.
“Being recognized for this type of award isn’t just a resume point, it’s a dream come true,” Perez said. “It is my first major collegiate award, and to be honored with it is personally fulfilling. It’s a reminder that hard work pays off and is what drives me on a daily basis.”
UM 2017 alumnus Oliver Redsten was also recognized by BEA in the TV Hard News category for his news package titled “Trouble Downstream,” about Florida’s water management crisis. Redsten created the project as part of an independent study with School of Communication professor and faculty advisor to SportsDesk Ed Julbe.
Redsten, now a reporter at WINK News in Fort Myers, Florida, also won a “Best of” in the Student News Competition – totaling two “Best of” awards for UMTV in 2018, a first for the channel.
Julbe oversaw both Perez’s and Redsten’s projects and called the recognitions “prestigious.”
“It’s a pretty big deal, so that means that others are recognizing the great work that you’re producing here,” Julbe said.
Jihad Shatara, a senior majoring in broadcast journalism, won an “Award of Excellence” for his story titled “Under the Uniform,” which followed a UM fan who wears a football uniform to every game in memory of his brother.
Though the “Award of Excellence” is more of a recognition than a physical award, Shatara said he’s come a long way since he first started at UMTV. He said he began at “the bottom of the totem pole” and had little experience.
“I was in freshman classes and I didn’t even know how to turn on a camera,” Shatara said. “I was intimidated at first and, at one point, wanted to change my major but instead kept going.”
Julbe said now, having won two “Best of” BEA awards in one year for the first time ever, UMTV has a better idea of what the competition is like.
“That sort of recognition will help raise the prestige of not only the university communication school but the students themselves,” he said.