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Mass Communication senior Anna Brown hopes to continue working in television after graduation in May.

Broadcast Journalism senior received Hearst Journalism Award

On March 2, the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, in conjunction with the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, named senior Anna Brown among the top student broadcasters in the nation, awarding her 10th place in the television news category of the Journalism Awards Program. There were 51 television submissions made to the Hearst Journalism Awards Program this year, and Brown is the first-ever winner from the University.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program was established in 1948 earning its name from William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was a leading newspaper publisher in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He also created one of the largest newspaper and magazine businesses in the world. The program recognizes students for excellence in college level journalism by awarding scholarships along with matching grants to the students’ schools.

This May, Brown will receive a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcast journalism. A Slidell native, Brown’s broadcast journey started with a Disney internship her freshman year, which left her wanting to be more involved at the University. Brown said she was already accepted into the Manship School of Mass Communication when she started the Disney internship, but was not sure what she wanted to do in the future.

“I decided my sophomore year I wanted to get involved,” she said. “So I looked for things in mass communication.”

Brown applied for a reporter position at Tiger TV, and despite having no experience with cameras or broadcasting, landed a spot on Newsbeat, the station’s news program.

“My first story was awful,” she said. “It was a positive experience because of all the help I received, but I didn’t have any idea what I was doing.”

Brown said she was immediately interested in her work at Tiger TV because she knew her job would always be changing. She also saw it as an opportunity to improve interpersonal skills that would carry over into any profession she decided to pursue.

During her year with Newsbeat, Brown worked as a reporter, an anchor, and an assistant director. She said the best part about working at Tiger TV was the help she received from fellow students.

“It’s students helping students,” she said. “One student is passing down experiences to another. You know a student has been in your shoes at one point.”

Since Tiger TV, Brown has worked at several other stations. She was an intern at WWL-TV in New Orleans and WSB-TV in Atlanta, where she lived last summer. Currently, she is interning at Guaranty Broadcasting, which owns radio stations Eagle 98.1 and 104.5 The X. Her internship includes work in sales and promotions.

Brown is humble about her achievements in broadcasting, although her recent Hearst award is an addition to quite a collection. In 2008, she was named a Meredith-Cronkite Fellow. The award is given to only 12 people in the nation each year, and Brown is the first from the University to receive the honor. Also in 2008, Brown won “Best of Broadcast Journalism” in the University’s Communication Across the Curriculum Digital Media Festival.

As graduation approaches, Brown hopes her accomplishments will help her stand out against her fellow job seekers.

“I feel confident with the education I received from Manship,” she said. “Along with my personal drive, I hope my résumé will stand out.”

Brown is positive she wants to stick with television as a career. Although she said her favorite thing to do is edit video, she wants to be involved in any way she can.

“I really want to stay with television in any shape or form,” she said. “Television is where I want to be, because I am really passionate about TV news.”

While Brown has covered many news stories over the years, her element is in human interest and human rights stories. Her most memorable newscasts include the white supremacy rally in Jena, Louisiana, on Martin Luther King Jr Day last year—the coverage that earned her the award at the Digital Media Festival.

Brown was also present for the birth of the first Martin Luther King Jr grandchild during her internship in Atlanta. During her time in New Orleans she filmed a story about the owner of a Volkswagen Beetle that was covered in plastic toys and beads. He was also using broken pieces of granite to make two fleurs-de-lis on the front of his home.

“I enjoy feature stories or things that involve people,” she said. “Those are the stories we can relate to.”

Brown said some news stations cover negative stories to gain viewers, but she would like to move in a different direction.

“I’ve never been fond of the phrase ‘If it bleeds, it leads,’” she said. “You always need that one reporter that’s positive, and I want to be that reporter.”

She said the news media could take an uplifting view of things if they concentrated on more individuals and the stories they can share.

“Local individuals who are doing great things can inspire others,” she said. “Just as the news can be informative, it can be inspiring and uplifting.”

Holly Ann Phillips | Writer | Office of Communications & University Relations
April 2009