BYU journalism alumni reflect on the teamwork required to create NATAS Student Production award-winning projects
Five journalism graduates from BYU — Madeleine Reber, Dani Wardinsky Hallows, Tre Harris, Angela Rose Cava Savage and Tasha Ramirez — won student awards from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). NATAS presents prestigious student awards recognizing high school and college students who pursue excellence in television journalism.
“We have amazing talent come out of the BYU journalism program. To even be nominated for this is a huge deal,” said Reber. “BYU news media grads have always been some of the top journalism students in the nation. I feel lucky to have my name out there, somewhere, for people to recognize.”
Reber graduated from BYU in April with a news media major and a minor in women’s studies and now works as a social media specialist for Chirp. Reber was nominated for two NATAS Student Production awards. Her first nomination was for her work as a reporter on the 2019 Provo City school bond.
The second project Reber was nominated for ended up winning the award. This project was a joint effort with the four other students and three professors — Melissa Gibbs, Alan Neves and Dale Cressman. The group of students and professors split into two teams and created a documentary about Spain’s Camino de Santiago. These students won the award for this project.
“We followed a group of BYU Spanish majors as they walked the 500 miles from the border of France to Santiago de Compostela near the west shore of Spain. It was an incredible experience,” said Reber.
This group project required the students to work nonstop, with little sleep and no time to eat. However, the sacrifice paid off. The students and faculty created a documentary that was broadcast on BYUtv during the April 2020 General Conference. The fifteen-minute documentary can be viewed at BYU Study Abroad: Camino, 2019.
“We were in the middle of nowhere in the Spanish countryside, so when things would break or things would not go exactly right with equipment, we would have to fix or make the equipment work and get the interviews done,” said BYU alum Tre Harris. “We were able to solve problems, and the professors helped immensely.”
Harris graduated from BYU a year ago and received a degree in news media with a certificate in Spanish. He currently attends law school at the University of Nebraska.
“Every single major stride I made to get where I am now is due to the training I received in journalism. From journalism I learned to be detail-oriented, committed, tenacious, determined and resourceful,” said Harris. “The road is long and hard in developing these traits, but these traits carry over into every facet of your life.”