Undergrad Devon Geary wins Hearst Journalism Award

Devon When lecturer Caley Cook sent out an email to all journalism majors about the Hearst Journalism Awards, undergraduate Devon Geary jumped at the chance to submit a couple of segments in the “Broadcast News: Television Feature” category  from her internship with TVW last winter (as part of the  Olympia Legislative Reporting Internship Program offered through the UW Department of Communication). She earned herself and the Department each $1,500 for placing third in the category, competing against college students from around the nation.

“I’m always ambitious to reap more benefits from hard work – to really squeeze that polished product, like a sponge, to see what I can get to fall out,” Geary said. “This time, that sponge just happened to be loaded.”

She also liked the idea of getting feedback from professional judges after creating a collaborative and polished product that she is proud of. Geary chose segments that really represented the effort to reach objectivity, a component that her advisor Anita Kissee stressed.

“We made sure both sides of the issue received coverage, and that supporters and critics had the opportunity to state their opinions regarding each bill,” Geary said. “In an industry that sometimes slants toward sensationalism, the lesson of objectivity was an especially important one to learn from a real pro.”

The clips featured personal stories – one about a bill that helps incarcerated parents get more time to maintain custody of their children, and the other about the proposed “training wage” bill that would allow some employers to pay their employees less for their first 680 hours.

“These individuals were willing to broadcast intimate details of their lives in hopes of passing or halting a proposed bill,” Geary said. “Vulnerability – it really grabs the viewer, and they truly listen to the story. The viewer suddenly feels like they have a stake in the outcome.”

When asked how the monetary reward would help, Geary replied, “Chipping away at the tuition bill monster.”

Watch a video of the winning clips here >>