WCSU 2015 ‘Election Connection’ wins national broadcast award
WCSU student crew earns second place in Broadcast Education Association competition

DANBURY, CONN. —The student crew who produced and directed the Western Connecticut State University “Election Connection” live broadcast of results from November 2015 municipal elections and analysis of key electoral issues has earned second-place honors in the nationwide collegiate competition conducted by the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) for its 2016 Festival of Media Arts.

The BEA, a professional association of faculty, students and industry professionals who seek to advance teaching and research in the field of electronic media, selected the Western students who led the “Election Connection” production team as second-place recipients in the Studio (Multi-Camera or Live-to-Tape) category of the Student Video competition in the festival. The WCSU broadcast prevailed in one of seven Student Video categories judged in the festival, and was among 1,538 entries overall that were submitted by students and faculty at more than 100 universities and colleges across the United States. The awards presentation will take place during the annual BEA convention and Festival of Media Arts from April 17 to 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 2015 broadcast marked the fifth year that WCSU students and faculty have collaborated to produce continuous live televised coverage on election night of voting results in the western Connecticut region. The 2015 program was the first to be produced in the high-definition TV broadcasting studio built and equipped this year in Higgins Annex on the university’s Midtown campus, complete with control room, audio and lighting equipment, green screens and an anchor desk with a curved granite top previously used in the university library reference department.

The 2015 “Election Connection” broadcast streamed live from 8 to 11 p.m. on Nov. 3 on the Charter Communications network’s Channel 192. Coordinated by executive producer Dr. JC Barone, associate professor of communication and media arts, the broadcast featured a team of six anchors delivering up-to-the-minute coverage of election results for municipal offices contested in 20 western Connecticut cities and towns in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The program also provided live reports by WCSU students from field locations across the region, as well as analyses of major political and social issues that will impact the state and national election landscape in 2016.

The BEA award cited four students from the 2015 “Election Connection” student crew including co-producers John Murray, of Brookfield, Tatum Hamernik, of Bristol, and Carrie Gottleib, of Newtown; and director Ian Foss, of Brookfield. More than 60 WCSU students and faculty members participated in the 2015 production, and Barone noted that BEA contest requirements limiting submissions to no more than four production team members meant that the award citation does not reflect the full breadth of student participation in the production.

In addition to the four students named in the award citation, Barone singled out members of the 2015 “Election Connection anchor team including students Robert Shaw, of Danbury, and Hannah Stewart, of Bethel; Associate Professor of History and Non-Western Cultures Dr. Leslie Lindenauer; Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts Dr. D.L. Stephenson; and Adjunct Professor of Communication and Media Arts Dr. Jacqueline Guzda. Barone also cited the technical support of Rebecca Woodward, director of Media Services and Academic Computing; Scott Volpe, assistant director of Media Services; and Jason Esposito and Stephen Veillette of the Information Technology and Innovation department.

Barone credited continuing support for the annual “Election Connection” production from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jane McBride Gates, Dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Missy Alexander, and Department of Communication and Media Arts Co-Chairs Dr. Katy Wiss and Karen Saunders. 

Western’s “Election Connection” productions have consistently earned honors from professional organizations in the communications field. Student producers of the November 2014 “Election Connection” broadcast received first-place honors in the Studio/Multi-Camera Production category of the 2015 BEA Festival of Media Arts. That production also earned a nomination for 2015 regional student honors in the prestigious National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awards competition. Previous recognitions include a 2013 Telly Award for Live Coverage and a 2013 Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.

For more information, contact Barone at baronej@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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