LSU Manship School Students, Alumna Win Big at Louisiana Association of Broadcasters 2021 Prestige Awards
April 16, 2021
BATON ROUGE—Two LSU Manship School of Mass Communication seniors, Jessi Speziale and Abby Alonzo, and junior Ally Kadlubar won three of four scholarships presented at the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters (LAB) 2021 Prestige Awards. Manship School alumna Kennedi Walker was named Multimedia Journalist of the Year – Television in the large market category.
Speziale and Alonzo are recipients of the Carley Ann McCord Scholarship, two $5,000 awards presented to female students studying sports journalism. The award honors McCord, a sports broadcast media professional who died in a plane crash in Lafayette, Louisiana, in December 2019 at the age of 30.
Speziale, who is studying mass communication with a concentration in broadcast journalism, is the production director at Tiger TV. Nothing gives her more joy, she said, than combining her two loves: sports and broadcast. The Metairie, Louisiana native has always loved watching sports and attending sporting events. Her interest in a career in sports media began when Mark Grant, a five-time Emmy Award-winning director at CBS Sports and a Manship School alumnus (’81), spoke in one of her classes. It was then she realized she wanted a job like his someday.
“Receiving this scholarship is such a blessing and encourages me to be even more ambitious in applying for internships and jobs after graduation,” Speziale said. “It's such an honor to be able to carry on Carley Ann McCord's legacy and have the opportunity to make an impact in the sports journalism world like she has.”
Like Speziale, Alonzo is a senior studying mass communication with a concentration in broadcast journalism. She is a Tiger TV sports reporter, a sideline reporter for Varsity Sports and co-host of The GritIron Show, a weekly podcast celebrating women in sports started by Manship School alumna Whitney Breaux (’09). Alonzo’s passion for sports media stems back to her senior year of high school, when she created a website where she posted interviews with high-profile collegiate and professional athletes. That experience landed the New Orleans native an opportunity to work as a press box runner with the New Orleans Saints.
“To hear my name in the same sentence as Carley's was enough for me, but to win a scholarship in her memory has me overjoyed,” Alonzo said. “I often doubt myself in this field and question whether I’m on the right path. Winning this scholarship was a clear sign that I’m right where I need to be and that I’ve got a guardian angel helping me along the way.”
Rounding out the Manship School’s LAB student scholars is Alison Kadlubar, who won the LAB Student Broadcast Scholarship, a $4,000 annual award recognizing a student studying broadcast journalism. Kadlubar, a junior pursuing a dual degree in broadcast journalism and political science, is Tiger TV’s assistant news director. The Lake Charles, Louisiana native was recently named among the top 20 winners of the Television Features Competition of the 2020-2021 Hearst Journalism Awards Program. This summer, Kadlubar will intern with NBC Universal Media at the “Today” Show.
"I am very honored to be chosen for this prestigious award,” Kadlubar said. “I am so proud to be a broadcast journalist in Louisiana, and I am humbled to be recognized by LAB for my contribution to the community and to student journalism."
In addition to Speziale, Alonzo and Kadlubar, Manship School alumna Kennedi Walker (‘19) won Multimedia Journalist of the Year – Television in the large market category. Walker is a news reporter for WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge. During her time at the Manship School, the New Orleans native became the first Black news director on record for LSU’s radio station KLSU, hosted the weekly radio show “The Kennedi Show” and won numerous awards for her storytelling. She interned at “Good Morning America” in 2018 and became the first intern to host “GMA Wake Up Call,” which airs live on the show’s Facebook page.
For a list of all LAB 2021 Prestige Award winners, visit https://broadcasters.org/prestige-awards/. The annual awards recognize outstanding achievements by Louisiana radio and television broadcasters. The competition was established to encourage the highest standards of reporting, community service and production creativity.
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LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: Master of Mass Communication, Ph.D. in Media and Public Affairs, Certificate of Strategic Communication and a dual MMC/Law degree. Its public relations students were recently ranked the #1 team in the nation, and its digital advertising and student media teams frequently earn national recognition.