RTDNF is proud to announce its 2016 scholarship and fellowship winners:
Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship
Lou Prato was RTDNA treasurer from 1981 to 2001 and served as secretary of RTDNF's Board of Trustees until 2006. Prato's friends and colleagues have endowed an RTDNF scholarship in honor of Lou and his wife, Carole. The scholarship provides a $1,000 tuition grant to a deserving student who is planning a career as a sports reporter in television or radio. Lou has worked as a news director, a journalism professor, a consultant, and Director of the Penn State All Sports Museum. Lou and Carole live near his alma mater, Penn State University. He is the author of The Penn State Football Encyclopedia.
2016 Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship Winner - Justin Holbrock, Ohio University
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Justin Holbrock is a senior studying broadcast journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Justin has been a dedicated student and journalist during his time in college as he has a 4.0 GPA and holds several roles at his college television station. These roles include hosting a live, Emmy award-winning high school football television show called “Gridiron Glory,” being a lead reporter and online host for a television show called “Hardwood Heroes” and covering four sports teams as a beat writer. To go along with sports reporting, Justin has a minor in political science and has covered news as an anchor and field reporter for “Newswatch.” Internships have also been an important part of Justin’s journalism career so far and he’s held three internships over the past three years: public relations intern at the UFC, sports department intern at WLWT-TV in Cincinnati and multi-media intern during the World Cup European Soccer Experience for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Justin will also intern at NBC4 in Columbus this coming spring. What interests Justin about journalism is a passion for meeting new people and having an opportunity to tell the stories that every person has to offer. There's a quote that reads, "Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing," and Justin holds himself to this standard whether it's in the classroom or newsroom.
“I am incredibly honored and thankful to be selected as the recipient of the Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship," said Holbrock. "I’ve dedicated myself to being the best journalist and student I can possibly be during my time in college, and this scholarship is proof that my hard work is being noticed and recognized by others. It’s humbling to have my name in the same company as Mr. Prato because he’s had such a positive impact on sports journalism. I’m so grateful to the Prato family and the members of RTDNF that were associated with the selection process. This scholarship inspires me to continue my hard work so that I may one day get to a point in my career where I’m able to give back in the same way as Mr. Prato. Thank you again for this honor.”
Two $1,000 awards given in honor of former RTDNA Presidents Theodore Koop, Bruce Dennis, James McCulla, John Salisbury, Bruce Palmer, Dick Cheverton, Jim Byron, Ben Chatfield and John Hogan.
2016 Presidents Scholarship Winner - Lauren Holt, Emerson College
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Lauren Holt is a senior studying journalism and political science at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Originally from the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Lauren has always enjoyed writing and considers herself a storyteller first and foremost. She is interested in human rights, the environment, and politics - especially how they all intersect. Lauren spends her time at Emerson reporting and producing for the college television station, WEBN and also enjoys a good yoga class. Lauren has held internships at ABC News and CNN.
"RTDNA has already presented me with great opportunities to listen, learn from, and connect with people in the journalism industry. This scholarship will allow me to take time and explore stories that I am interested. Thank you, RTDNA, for supporting young journalists like myself!"
Two $1,000 awards given in honor of former RTDNA Presidents Theodore Koop, Bruce Dennis, James McCulla, John Salisbury, Bruce Palmer, Dick Cheverton, Jim Byron, Ben Chatfield and John Hogan.
2016 Presidents Scholarship Winner - Thomas Garris, Ithaca College
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Tom is a journalism major studying at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. He is from a suburb of Philadelphia (Yardley, PA) and graduated from Pennsbury High School. When he came into Ithaca College, Tom wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to pursue within journalism. Tom considered sportscasting, but after working for Ithaca’s award-winning radio station, WICB, as well as Ithaca College Television (ICTV), Tom found news was his passion. This upcoming semester (Spring 2017), Tom will assume the role of News Director for ICTV and cannot put into words how excited he is. He has reported, anchored and produced for ICTV’s live show Newswatch, and believes he’s ready to help lead the news department in the right direction. This past February Tom was a part of a group of students chosen to go to South Carolina to help cover the Republican Primary Election for NBC, and some of his footage was shown on NBC Nightly News.
"Nothing I have done would have been possible without help from the amazing mentors I’ve had along the way. I’ve found that people want to teach, which is perfect because I want to learn. Recognition like this does so much for young journalists. This award gives me the confidence to continue pursuing a career in an industry I love. I would like to sincerely thank the RTDNF for its support."
Ed Bradley Scholarship
In 1994, RTDNF presented the first Ed Bradley Scholarship. Since then, 23 young and aspiring journalists have received the award created by the late CBS News and 60 Minutes correspondent. Ed Bradley received the Paul White Award from RTDNA in 2000. The Paul White Award recognizes an individual's lifetime commitment to excellence in journalism. Bradley received the First Amendment Award from RTDNF in 2005 in recognition of his support of the First Amendment rights guaranteed in the constitution.
2016 Ed Bradley Scholarship Winner - Shaynah Ferreira, Emerson College
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Shaynah Ferreira is a senior at Emerson College in Boston, MA, where she is studying journalism with a focus in broadcast. Shaynah is an EVVY award-winning reporter who can shoot, edit and produce her own work. She is a reporter for Emerson’s award-winning News Station WEBN News, in which she covers breaking news, politics and community issues in the Boston area. She served as an Associate Producer and Reporter for WEBN’s Oscars coverage in Los Angeles, and will serve as the Co-Executive Producer of the show for WEBN's 2017 Oscars Special. Shaynah interned for the CBS Evening News in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2015. While in D.C., she reported on the Pope’s First Visit to America, The 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, and D.C. security measures in response to The Paris Attacks. In the summer of 2016, Shaynah interned for WJAR-TV in Providence, RI where she was later hired. She currently works as a Weekend Associate Producer for Southern New England’s news leader. As a journalist, Shaynah takes pride in finding the heart of every story; which she always says is: "The people affected." Moreover, her passion has always been telling their story as she sheds light to the greater issues at hand that the public deserves to know. She practiced this first hand on her recent trip to the communist island of Cuba. It was there that Shaynah served as Co-Executive Producer of "Afro Cuba Libre"; a mini documentary on race relations in Cuba. Shaynah is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and RTDNA. She currently serves as Co-Treasurer for Emerson's RTDNA chapter and as a student representative for The Southern New England Association of Black Journalists. Shaynah is multilingual; fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole. She hopes to use her language skill to her advantage in the field of journalism. She is a Providence, Rhode Island native and her goal is to become a TV reporter upon her graduation from Emerson. Shaynah's ultimate goal is to become a national correspondent for a major news network.
"Receiving a scholarship in the name of one of the pioneers of American journalism is such an overwhelming honor. I am grateful to accept such an award from RTDNF and am excited to continue his legacy as a person of color in the field. I am committed to telling stories that matter to the public at large at the highest level of journalistic excellence. It is my goal to embody the highest level of professionalism and grace that Mr. Bradley had as I move forward in my career. I hope to one day etch my name into American journalism history, just as he has."
George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship
A $6000 award is given to a journalism student from the University of Texas at Austin. George Foreman is a boxing champion, Olympic gold medal winner and celebrated pitchman. As a young man, he was inspired by President Johnson and by RTDNF founder Barney Oldfield. In his autobiography, By George, Foreman credits LBJ's Job Corps program for rescuing him "from the gutter." He also thanks Barney Oldfield, "for a lifetime of friendship, devotion, counsel and wisdom. The world would be a far better place if everyone were lucky enough to have a friend like you."
2016 George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship Winner - Avery Travis, University of Texas at Austin
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Avery Travis is a senior Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Texas and a reporter for Texas Student Television, the FCC licensed television station on campus. There, she works for the award-winning newscast KVR News, reporting, shooting, editing and anchoring. She also worked with a team of students to create and produce Tower Talks, the station’s first political talk show. She has interned for CBS news at the network level in New York City, covering everything from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to the Pulse Night Club shooting. She interned in the Investigative Unit at KXAN-TV doing research and analysis, as well as working on her own investigative pieces. Storytelling has always been an important part of her life. She hopes to spend her life making the world a better place through her reporting using a variety of mediums in the every-changing business of journalism.
"I am extraordinarily grateful to the Radio Television Digital News Foundation for selecting me for the George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship. It is an honor and privilege to be named in the same sentence as these men who accomplished so much, across so many different fields. I know this generous award will allow me to be successful in the fields of journalism and public service. Thank you for enabling me to freely and fully pursue my passion of telling stories with the help of this award."
Mike Reynolds Scholarship
Mike Reynolds, who died in 1988 of a brain tumor at age 45, was assignment editor and later managing editor at KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa. Trustees of the fund to honor his memory require applicants for this award to be enrolled in journalism school and have good writing ability, excellent grades, a dedication to the news business, strong interest in pursuing a career in electronic journalism and a demonstrated need for financial assistance. The winner receives $1,000.
2016 Mike Reynolds Scholarship Winner - Kristen Reesor, University of Missouri
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Kristen is an aspiring broadcast news producer from Louisville, Kentucky. She has wanted to be a journalist since she was tasked with reading the daily lunch menu and other tidbits on her elementary school's closed-circuit television station. She pursued that interest throughout high school and into her years at the University of Missouri where she reports for KOMU 8, mid-Missouri's NBC affiliate. Kristen passionate about telling the stories of people who are often overlooked. She loves sweets, The Walking Dead and laughing at her own puns.
“This scholarship will help me pay tuition so I can continue to learn about topics that will establish myself as a successful journalist. I plan to dive into investigative reporting, computer-assisted reporting and much more.”
Pete Wilson Scholarship
The Pete Wilson Journalism Scholarship was established in 2007 by Wilson's friends and colleagues. The scholarship is granted to an undergraduate or graduate journalism student from the Bay Area who shares Wilson's commitment to ethical, responsible journalism.
2016 Pete Wilson Graduate Scholarship Winner - Danielle Parenteau Decker, University of California-Berkeley
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Danielle is a second-year narrative writing student at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State University, where she majored in print and online journalism with a minor in philosophy and religion, and at the top of her class in the journalism department. This summer, Danielle was the Dow Jones News Fund copy editing intern at the Sacramento Bee. She has also interned as a reporter at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, dot429 and the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Her work has appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, Richmond Confidential, the Cypress (College) Chronicle and Xpress Magazine (SFSU). She was a reporter, copy editor, sports editor, online editor and editor in chief at Cypress College, a community college in Southern California. Danielle grew up in Southern California but have lived in San Francisco for the past four years.
"I am extremely grateful and honored to be awarded the Pete Wilson Scholarship. This scholarship will let me focus more on my thesis, which will be about misconceptions and media narratives surrounding poverty. It also helps me lessen my student debt burden."
Jacque I. Minnotte Health Reporting Fellowship
This award was created to honor former news director and Medstar executive Jacque Minnotte, who died in 1993. This fellowship recognizes excellence in health or medical television and radio reporting. RTDNF will award a $2,000 cash fellowship to a journalist in radio and television with fewer than 10 years of experience.
2016 Jacque I. Minnotte Health Reporting Fellowship Winner - Nadine Sebai, Fellow - The Nation Institute & Associate Producer/Researcher with AJ+
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Nadine is a journalist, accountant, and Emmy-nominated researcher. Currently, she's an Ida B. Wells Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and an Associate Producer/Researcher with AJ+. She recently graduated from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism with a concentration in radio and investigative reporting.
“This scholarship provides me with the opportunity to strengthen my storytelling skills and focus on health-related stories I'm passionate about. Health stories can be daunting at times so it's great to receive a scholarship that rewards that.”
Michele Clark Fellowship
RTDNF's first fellowship is named for a CBS News correspondent who was killed in a plane crash while on assignment in 1972. Her family and colleagues at CBS sent money in lieu of flowers to create a fund in her name, endowing a permanent $1,000 award for young, promising minority professionals in television or radio news.
2016 Michele Clark Fellowship Winner - Chernéy Amhara, KVVU-TV
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Chernéy Amhara is a Caribbean-American journalist. She is a reporter at KVVU-TV, the Fox affiliate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Amhara is also a graduate of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication at the California State University, Northridge where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. While in college, Amhara contributed to her campus newspaper, The Sundial, as well as the campus radio station KCSN 88.5 in Northridge. She also served as a web editor for KTLA 5, the CW-affiliated television station in Los Angeles, California. Additionally, she interned for CBS-Radio in Sacramento, Ca. and was a reporter at WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, Virginia. Amhara is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Before moving to the United States, Amhara spent her youngest years living in Stoney Hill, Jamaica, then on to Sacramento, Ca. where she attended Valley High School. She lives by the mantra “storytelling that makes a difference,” which she hopes to convey in every story she tells.
"I am honored to be named the 2016 Michele Clark Fellowship recipient. Not only was Clark was a trailblazer for women of color, but she was a stellar investigative journalist who covered stories that impacted our nation. If I can become half of the journalist Clark was, I know I am headed on the right path."
Vada and Col. Barney Oldfield National Security Reporting Fellowship
Established by the RTDNF Board of Trustees in honor of Vada and Col. Barney Oldfield. Barney and Vada served in WWII and both had illustrious military careers. Barney's long and impressive career included a stint as a Hollywood studio publicist, WWII Army and post-war Air Force public relations officer, author, and lecturer. Col. Oldfield was also a businessman and philanthropist who founded over 40 private foundations including RTDNF. This fellowship is awarded to a reporter or producer in radio or television news engaged covering national defense and security.
2016 Vada and Col. Barney Oldfield National Security Reporting Fellowship Winner - Liberty Zabala, NBC 7 San Diego
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Liberty Zabala is an Emmy-nominated reporter and multimedia journalist for NBC 7 San Diego. Some of her most memorable stories include leading breaking news coverage of the Central American immigration crisis, covering the May firestorm that burned across San Diego county and most recently, covering the San Bernardino terrorist attacks. Prior to that, she worked as a multimedia journalist for KCOY/KKFX, the CBS/FOX affiliate covering California's Central Coast. She is a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a degree in journalism and a collateral in political science with an emphasis in international relations. She also served as president of the CSUN chapter of RTDNA. She has held several internships including FOX News Channel, FOX Sports Net, ABC7 Los Angeles, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Liberty was selected as a Meredith Cronkite Fellow at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism reporting for KPHO CBS 5 in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a dedicated member of Asian American Journalists Association where she served as a board director for the Los Angeles chapter and currently serves the San Diego chapter as president.
“I’m deeply grateful to RTDNF and to Vada and Co. Barney Oldfield for this honor. With this fellowship, I hope to continue their legacy of service to this country, to the field of journalism and to those who serve.”
Carole Simpson Scholarship
Carole Simpson is a former member of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation Board of Trustees. She established the Carole Simpson Scholarship to encourage and help minority students overcome hurdles along their career path. Carole Simpson Scholarship winners are working as reporters, producers and anchors in television and radio stations across the country.
2016 Carole Simpson Scholarship Winner - Kayla Parker, Florida A&M University
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It all started when I was 6 years old. My mother bought a camcorder to capture home videos with. Before long, I was scripting, blocking and shooting every family event. It was one of my favorite hobbies, and it still is today. From the family videos I captured to the video projects I worked on as an ESPN intern, I am a visual storyteller. I am tasked with making moving images so captivating that an audience will want to watch them longer than scientists say the normal attention span lasts. It is not an easy job, but I get it done simply because I love it. It was in high school that I got introduced to the nonlinear video editing software, Adobe Premiere. From there, the magic of video completely consumed me, and I didn’t look back. I dove headfirst into my major broadcast journalism at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and took a film studies minor. I currently am a team member of FAMU News 20 at Five, a live tri- weekly student-run newscast. I worked my way from production assistant to producer while also writing for our school’s newspaper and magazine. I also serve as Historian for Big Sister Little Sister Mentoring Program. This past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a ESPN intern in Bristol, Connecticut working with the espnW department, the section completely devoted to women’s sports. But the key word here is “blessed.” My journey through life has showed me two very important things: 1.) God is always on my side and 2.) Storytellers always have a place in this world. It is a humbling honor to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the 2016 Radio Television Digital News Foundation Carole Simpson Scholarship. This scholarship will no doubt help my studies, but it will impact my work and confidence as well. Mrs. Simpson was a trailblazer to say the least. She was not afraid to raise issues and, thus, raise eyebrows. To be honored under her name is a dream come true and makes me want to continue the work she has done, regardless of the eyebrows I raise in the process.
N.S. Bienstock Fellowship
An award established in 1999 by N.S. Bienstock, Inc. owners Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. N.S. Bienstock has been a leading talent agency in news and reality-based programming for more than 35 years and is a long-time member of RTDNA. This award recognizes a promising minority journalist in radio or television news. In addition to the $2,500 award, winners of the N.S. Bienstock Fellowship receive an expenses paid trip to the Excellence in Journalism Conference.
2016 N.S. Bienstock Fellowship Winner - Melina Tupa, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
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Melina Tupa is an award-winning Argentinean and Brazilian journalist and documentary filmmaker, specializing in human rights and Latino issues across the world. She started her career as a print reporter for Billiken magazine and Diagonal Newspaper in Argentina but soon moved onto visual journalism. She worked for five years as an associate TV producer, three of those years at Turner Broadcasting System. There she wrote and produced short news formats that aired during commercial breaks, in-between shows and were shared on social media in nearly every Latin American country. Melina holds a Bachelor in Journalism degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and a Master of Journalism degree from UC Berkeley, focusing on Documentary Filmmaking and Photojournalism. At the Berkeley J-School, Melina was awarded a TV/Documentary Merit Fellowship and the Carlos M. Castañeda Journalism Scholarship. Her documentary thesis The Search, told the story of Estela de Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose grandson was abducted during the Argentinean military dictatorship. The documentary is a Student Academy Award finalist, a recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Excellence in Journalism Award for Student Special Project in addition to several other awards, and has been featured in different film festivals across the world. In her free time she enjoys playing the guitar, singing and talking 35mm photographs.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive the N.S. Bienstock Fellowship. As a Latina filmmaker, I hope this fellowship will help me bring a minority’s perspective onto a larger platform. By producing and shooting documentaries, I hope to shift attention to the underreported stories that affect our community.”
"She is a ﬁne reporter/producer with excellent shooting and editing skills," said Linda Schacht, a faculty member at the UC Berkely Graduate School of Journalism. "The craftsmanship exhibited in [The Search documentary] reﬂects not only her storytelling ability, but her technical ability as well. But it’s the research and reporting that really shines. This piece, as well as others she produced for classes at Berkeley, beneﬁts from Melina’s eye for unusual stories, many of them tough to complete. She is a determined, persuasive producer and doesn’t let much get in the way of completing her stories."