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Loyola Senior Wins Elite Hearst Television News Award

By Loyola University on Thu, 04/23/2020 - 19:21

(New Orleans, La. – April 23, 2020) Breaking news! A Loyola University New Orleans senior has been named one of the top 10 winners in Television News in the 60th annual William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards program. This is the first-ever Hearst Award won by a student from Loyola New Orleans. The elite competition pulls from the nation’s top journalism and communication schools. One hundred and four universities with accredited undergraduate journalism programs are eligible to participate in the Hearst competitions.

Loyola New Orleans journalism senior Lily Cummings, who has interned with WDSU-TV, worked on the assignment desk at WWL-TV and interned at CBS News, placed seventh in the Hearst Awards, which selected winners from 45 schools nationwide in the second and final TV competition held this academic year. Cummings won by submitting two broadcast news packages, including one about the recent collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans.  She returns this summer to her hometown of Tulsa, Okla., to be a reporter for KTUL-TV, “Tulsa’s Channel 8.”

“This is an incredible honor, bestowed on only the best in television news,” said Sonya Duhe, director of Loyola New Orleans’ School of Communication and Design. “The Hearst Award is an awesome acknowledgement of Lily Cummings' talent – and the wonderful work we do here at Loyola New Orleans in the School of Communication and Design.”

The incredible honor marks a triumph for both Cummings and the university, said Duhé, who has led Loyola’s award-winning School of Communication and Design in recent years to attain accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Communications and the Certification in Education for Public Relations. 

Under her leadership, which began in 2009, journalism faculty at Loyola have worked hard to ensure the university acquired state-of-the art broadcast equipment and professional television studios, as a means to advancing excellence through the journalism curriculum. A Board of Regents grant in 2015 provided funds for foundational equipment and a studio that allowed students to produce television broadcasts.

 Endowed funds and recent fundraising through the university’s Faith in the Future campaign allowed Loyola top open its new state-of-the-art J. Michael Early Studio this fall and to complete the university’s Digital Communication Hub, a digital and audio transmissions facility that allows students, faculty experts, industry leaders and residents to conduct real-time interviews around the world via broadcast, radio and even podcast.

As Loyola has updated its journalism program in recent years, capstone journalism students have been given backpacks filled with broadcast equipment that have allowed them to cover breaking news 24/7. Faculty have implemented a Producer Incubator Lab, which uses industry professionals from Gray Television to train future newsroom producers; built a diverse roster of professionals in residence; expanded digital media capabilities, and helped students to garner a host of competitive awards, including the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Award and a Pacemaker Award from the Associated College Press, widely considered ‘the Pulitzer Prize of College of Journalism.’