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Student Media Takes Home Mark of Excellence Award

The Office of Student Media recently won an amazing award for the first time! I was able to speak with one of the award recipients, Braxton Ziolkowski (Marketing ‘22), about the award and what it means to him. In addition, I talked with Editor in Chief of the Daily Beacon, Gabi Szymanowska (Journalism ‘20), about the experience that Student Media offers to students here at UT. 

Student Media encompasses different departments that range from The Daily Beacon, Phoenix literary magazine, the advertising department, and the Lumos video team. All these departments work both independently and collaboratively to create news, advertising, and media content. 

Recently, three students involved in The Daily Beacon were awarded the Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the online and digital reporting category. This award is presented within the Southeastern region for video and online digital content. The group of students awarded this honor included Ziolkowski as well as Elexis Houston (Journalism ‘19) and Kelsey French (Journalism ‘19). The students created a video of the 2018-2019 SGA elections, covering the election and the three different campaigns, focusing on the outcome of the election. Braxton explains, “the video was extremely timely and had a quick turnaround. We filmed the results early in the evening, then all of us hustled back to the office in order to create the final video, which went out that night.” The video truly captured a lot of different emotions from each campaign team. When asked about the accomplishment, Braxton says “I feel extremely appreciative of this award. It is an honor to be recognized along with the members of my former team for a project we all put so much time into. It is definitely reassuring that we are creating some good content and it acts as a motivator to keep growing and building our digital news presence.”

This isn’t the first time that the Student Media Office has won an award. They’ve also won several journalism awards, including awards from the Associated Press and Southeastern Journalism Conference Awards. 

Student Media is an important experience for UT and its journalistic students. Gabi believes that it’s a place where students can come and gain experience before going into the field, figure out their interests, and build a portfolio. Students get a space to be creative, share ideas, try new things, and learn skills like leadership and editorial. Braxton adds, “The things I’ve been able to learn at the Beacon have been so impactful. I have really been able to grow some of my video editing, creativity, and leadership skills with every project I do!” It’s also a place to keep the community updated on information with administration, in the city, and other parts. Gabi ends with “Student media is really invaluable experience for any student who wants to try out graphic design, videography, photography, ads, marketing. That it is a place for everyone and anyone, and everyone is welcome.”

Bailey Ly smiling at the cameraBailey Ly is a sophomore majoring in public relations with a minor in business administration. She is the undergraduate public relations intern for Student Life  Communications. Bailey is also the marketing chair for Campus Events Board Arts and Culture. She loves cooking and learning about new cultures.