Alyssa Fernald's award winning video essay featured on NPR

During the past semester, Advanced Broadcasting students at Jacksonville University were assigned to produce a video version of an NPR This I Believe essay. Junior Alyssa Fernald’s narrative video was chosen to be featured on the National Public Radio (NPR) website this week.

“The assignment provided a link between a discussion of objective narrative journalism and an introspective focus,” said Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette.

Fernald’s work was also recognized this weekend by The Florida Associated Press Broadcasters (FAPB) Awards, winning first place for the best video essay in the state of Florida, student division. Her piece pays tribute to her late grandmother who was killed by a drunk driver.

“Working on the This I Believe video essay was hard for me emotionally but it meant a lot to pay tribute to my grandmother because she had so much to do with encouraging my creativity and personality.  I know she would have been so proud to see me win my award and be featured on NPR,” said Fernald. “This weekend has been unreal, not only did my video earn first place in the state of Florida but now it is getting national exposure.  The only thing that could make this better would be if she was here, but I know she’s looking down on me with a big smile on her face.”

JU communication students were recognized as the best in the state of Florida for the sixth straight year by the FAPB. Graduating senior Shannon Heath, received second place in the professional medium television market category for her documentary-style video featuring pediatric patients and the impact art therapy has on their lives through the program Art with a Heart in Health Care.

“At the start of each year, I challenge my students to make a commitment to excellence. I’ve known for some time that they produce exceptional work. As a professor, there is no greater joy then seeing your students achieve their potential and accomplish their goals. I am delighted to see their work recognized by a national audience,” said Kent-Willette.

To see Fernald’s video on the NPR website, click

Left to right: Dr. Kent-Willette, Shannon Heath and Alyssa Fernald.

Jacksonville University’s Communication Department is proud to announce that graduating senior Shannon Heath, received second place in the professional medium market category from the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters (FAPB) this past weekend at an awards ceremony in Orlando. The only student recognized in the professional category, Heath’s project is a documentary-style video that features pediatric patients and the impact art therapy has on their lives through the program Art with a Heart in Health Care.
Heath was recognized in the same category as Jeannie Blaylock, the co-anchor of First Coast News at 5 and 6 p.m. and the First Coast News Healthwatch reporter. Blaylock took first place for a piece about the tragedy in Haiti.
“I’m so proud of Shannon’s commitment to excellence. The project represents the best of JU and the amazing work that is going on in our local community,” explained Dr. Annemarie Kent-Willette, associate professor of communications. “When I learned about Art with a Heart in Healthcare, I knew it would be a perfect fit for Shannon’s talents and compassionate storytelling. This project was both challenging and complicated, and it showcases just how talented Shannon is. While I am delighted that the Associated Press has recognized Shannon’s extraordinary commitment to excellence, I am not surprised as her work is clearly outstanding. As a professor, there is no greater joy than seeing your students realize their potential and achieve their dreams.”
Junior Alyssa Fernald won first place in the student category for best video essay. Her piece is a narrative video, modeled after NPR’s “This I Believe” series paying tribute to her late grandmother who was killed by a drunk driver. Fernald also assisted Heath in the development of her piece.
This is the University’s second award in the professional category and is a distinction no other college or university in the state of Florida has received in the medium television market. Catinka Sjoberg ’10, won first place last year for her video, “A Change of Heart” that followed a six-month old baby girl from Granada as she journeyed to Jacksonville for life saving pediatric heart surgery.
Over the past six years, JU communications students have been honored seven times by the FAPB, receiving five first place awards and two second place awards for a variety of student broadcasting work. These two awards mark the eighth and ninth honors for JU students.
Earlier this year, Heath, was honored at the 10th Anniversary of Art with a Heart in Health Care for the same project. Art with a Heart in Healthcare is a nonprofit organization that provides professionally-guided, personalized art experiences that enhance the healing process and bring comfort, joy and hope to patients and families in crisis.
Both Heath’s and Fernald’s winning pieces can be viewed on Heath’s video is posted under “Specials and Documentaries” and Fernald’s is also posted there under the ‘This I Believe” section.

Jacksonville University’s broadcast students, Catinka Sjoberg, Joseph Newman, and Shannon Heath were honored for their work at the annual Florida Associated Press Awards. The project, lead by Catinka Sjoberg (Class of 2010) titled A Change of Heart, followed a six-month old baby as she travelled from Grenada to Jacksonville for life saving heart surgery. Sjoberg and her colleagues received first place not in the student category, but in the professional medium market category. Thereby besting professional journalists for the award. A distinction no other Florida college or university in the medium or large market received.

To view the video, click here.

From Left: Alicia Esteban, Shannon Heath, Dr. Willette, and Alyssa Fernald

Jacksonville University’s The Dolphin Channel traveled to Louisville, KY with other student media to the National College Media Conference for a chance to learn from professional journalists and work with other college media students from around the country.

For more about the trip visit the following link on The Navigator, JU’s student run newspaper’s web page: