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Southold to collaborate with Stony Brook on high school awards


Next year, the Broadcast Awards for Senior High, an annual ceremony honoring budding multimedia journalists created by Southold High School faculty, will move to Brookhaven Town to accommodate more students across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The 2019 BASH ceremony will be co-hosted by Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism and held on the college campus May 3.

“This is a bigger venue with more prestige,” said David Gamberg, superintendent of the Southold and Greenport school districts.

For the past two years, 12 to 15 school districts have taken part in the ceremony. High school students submit video packages and newscasts and are recognized during the ceremony for various honors, including best anchor team, best package, best school news package and more.

A panel of judges from local and national media organizations, which has not yet been finalized, will offer feedback on the student journalists’ packages. These judges will also speak to students before the ceremony about their experience in the industry.

This year’s event brought together reporter Polo Sandoval of CNN; Marisa Buchanan, a senior producer on the “Today” show; and Pei-Sze Cheng, an Emmy Award-winning reporter for News 4.

“We felt it was important to give students an idea of the field by bringing in professionals,” Mr. Gamberg said.

After the district constructed the SOHO TV News studio in 2014, Mr. Gamberg said he proposed an event to recognize accomplishment in high school-level digital media.

With assistance from Southold High School teachers Jim Stahl and Jason Wesnofske, secretary Jennifer Bruer and audio-visual specialist Eric Kehl, the BASH event took shape.

“We were saying, ‘There doesn’t seem to be any recognition of TV broadcasting done at the high school level. They honor student film, but not TV broadcasting.’ So, we made one.”

After the first BASH in 2017, Mr. Gamberg said the 12 participating schools gave positive feedback on the ceremony. Then, Mr. Gamberg said, he and the organizers realized the event would need to be held outside Southold Town to continue successfully.

“We believe this is something that could grow, from 10 to 12 schools, to 15 or 20, to 20 or 30, and at a certain point, it will outgrow Southold,” he said.

Earlier this year, Mr. Gamberg reached out to Stony Brook University in an effort to expand the award ceremony and make it accessible to more high schools, including those in Nassau County.

After Southold High School invited a representative from the university to attend this past May’s BASH, Mr. Gamberg said, he met with administrators from the journalism school to discuss plans, budgets and materials for 2019. Since then, he said, organizers at the high school have been meeting weekly to discuss details, including guest speakers and the evening’s agenda.

Mr. Gamberg said he’s unsure if Stony Brook will take over the ceremony entirely in the future, but he anticipates that, if it maintains an industry connection, the ceremony will expand across the state.

“This year, it’s more centrally located,” he said. “I think this could become a statewide event and offer an opportunity to learn and to celebrate.”

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Photo caption: Members of the Southold High School broadcast program, SOHO TV News, presented Broadcast Awards for Senior High in May. (Courtesy photo)