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School of Communication and Media Wins Two Folio Awards

Election, coronavirus coverage wins industry-leading regional accolades

Posted in: Communication and Media

Student journalists in Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media were recently honored by the Fair Media Council’s Folio Awards for their 2020 coverage of the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Folio Awards recognize quality news on the hyperlocal Long Island, New York City regional and National levels, and is considered among the industry-leading awards. The Fair Media Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates for quality news and works to create a media-savvy society.

During this year’s virtual ceremony on April 23, six students received awards for their in-depth reporting on the election and the mental health aspects of the pandemic.

“What makes winning these awards even more significant is that they won for work that they did remotely during the pandemic,” says Marc Effron, a clinical specialist in the School of Communication and Media and the coordinator of the School’s multi-platform newsroom. “They had to collaborate and produce using software and communication tools that allowed them to be creative even though they were separate from each other. These experiences will prepare them for a media world that is entirely different from the one that existed in February 2020, before the pandemic.”

Montclair News Lab and five students – senior producers Katie Cameron, Michael DeMatteo and Michael Banovic, and anchors Grace Rowland and Louis Biondollilo – won the Election Coverage (Student) category for Focus: Democracy, a comprehensive, collaborative project encompassing all aspects of student journalism within the School of Communication and Media.

Student Givonna Boggans also won a Folio Award as part of Montclair News Lab, taking home the honor in the Coronavirus Pandemic Coverage (Student) category for her in-depth coverage of Black Lives Matter and mental health.

“I am so proud of all the students who worked tirelessly to help create Focus: Democracy,” says Cameron. “From start to finish, there were many challenges this group faced – from the entire show being cancelled on election day, to airing a remote show five days later – winning this award makes this moment so much more gratifying. This election and it’s production was a great learning experience that we will carry with us throughout our careers.”

“I am grateful to win such an honorable award in the world of Journalism,” says Boggans. “It feels surreal, but I could not have done it without my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I give honor to God for placing this story topic on my heart and blessing me with my professors and peers who consistently provide feedback to help produce well researched, factual stories. Professors and peers in SCM always lend a helping hand no matter the time or the day, and I am extremely grateful to have such a supporting community.”

For more information on Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media, visit the school’s website.