In January, when I first met the students in Southold High School’s SOHO TV class, I was very impressed.
Students in that class are responsible for producing a nine-minute news show that’s broadcast online every Friday. I enjoyed seeing how much dedication and heart they put into their specific assignments each week. They worked together as a team to produce something they were all proud of.
David Gamberg, superintendent for the Southold and Greenport school districts, has been a big supporter of the SOHO TV program. When I first spoke to him about it, he told me it was his “brainchild.”
Mr. Gamberg also had another big idea: an awards ceremony honoring the best in student broadcast journalism. And so, BASH — Broadcast Awards for Senior High — was born.
I was honored when Mr. Gamberg asked me to participate in the inaugural Emmy-style ceremony, held Monday morning at Southold High School. Fourteen schools from across Long Island were represented at the event, including all three North Fork high schools, Glen Cove, Patchogue-Medford and my alma mater, Commack.
Students from nine of the 14 schools submitted videos in up to eight categories, such as “best public service announcement” and “most entertaining news package.” Students and faculty from the other schools, which don’t yet have established programs but are interested in starting them, attended BASH as a learning opportunity.
I got to judge the contest alongside Emmy Award-winning photojournalist Randee Daddona, News 12 anchor and reporter Drew Scott and Emmy Award-winning News 4 I-team reporter Pei-Sze Cheng. I also had the chance to meet with students during a breakout session on any topic I wanted. I chose to discuss the benefits of incorporating video in community journalism.
CNN national correspondent Miguel Marquez was the surprise keynote speaker. For me, as a professional journalist, listening to Mr. Marquez speak about his experience in the broadcast industry was a real treat. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for the students.
Mr. Marquez posed for dozens of photos with students and allowed them to conduct on-camera interviews. Some students attended a breakout session with Mr. Marquez while others met with me, Ms. Daddona, Mr. Scott or Carmine Arpaia, a 2003 Mattituck graduate who’s won multiple Emmys and currently works for MLB Network.
What stood out most to me about the event was the way it promoted and encouraged creativity. Broadcast classes teach students a variety of skills. It takes them out of their comfort zone, encourages teamwork, teaches technical skills they can apply elsewhere and builds confidence.
It’s wonderful to acknowledge this work and recognize the students who invest so much time and passion into what they do.
The day ended with the awards ceremony at which first-, second- and third-place winners were announced and the top video in each category was shown. Awards were scattered among the competing schools. Southold students won three first-place awards and Greenport won a pair.
Many students who attended hope to pursue careers in the TV industry. And an event like BASH, which allows students from different schools from across the island to meet, network and view each other’s work, offers a beneficial learning experience.
The students’ interactions with one another made it clear that they appreciated the opportunity. Most of them flocked around Mr. Marquez, Mr. Scott and Ms. Daddona, who was passing her Emmy around for photos. So I was pleasantly surprised when a handful approached me to ask questions about my job and my experience as a student at Stony Brook University School of Journalism.
I hope this year’s event will be the start of something larger and that BASH continues to grow, with more high schools participating. It’s a unique opportunity for students interested in the field to learn, gain exposure and be rewarded for their hard work.
If BASH needs a judge again next year, I’ll gladly return. And perhaps, in a few years, I can bring along an Emmy of my own.
Third place: Liz Dwyer, Jane DiGregorio and Emily Mowdy (Most Entertaining News Package)
Second place: Brendan Kent and Michael Goodale (Best School News Package)
First place: Sean Okula and Connor Vaccariello (Best Anchor Team)
First place: Nestor Menjivar (Best School News Package)
First place: Daisy Rymer and Eddie Ward (Best Broadcast)
First place: Benjamin Bracken (Most Entertaining News Package)
First place: Benjamin Bracken (Best Sports Package)
Second place: Benjamin Bracken (Best Anchor Team)
Second place: Kai Kaufman (Best Public Service Announcement)
Top photo: Southold High School senior Gage Bennett interviews CNN correspondent Miguel Marquez for SOHO TV during Monday’s BASH event. (Credit: Krysten Massa)
Krysten Massa is the multimedia reporter for The Suffolk Times. She can be reached at [email protected].