Communication Students Win Associated Press Awards

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.


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