Lee Student Media To Be Awarded National Pinnacle Award

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Lee University Student Media is a finalist for the College Media Association's 2016-17 Pinnacle awards in broadcast video and web page design categories. 

The College Media Association has more than 800 member universities and hosts annual competitions to recognize and award the best media productions from those schools. The Pinnacle Award is reputed as the highest award for college electronic media. 

“I’m so proud of our team,” said Dr. Michael Finch, student media advisor and assistant professor of communication at Lee. “On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that we’re competing against the likes of UCLA, University of Miami, Kent State and others, but on the other hand, I have extremely talented students who do great work, so I believe.” 

The Clarion was honored as a finalist for “Best Online Main Page Design.” Lee Clarion is the student-run newspaper that has been a part of the Lee University, and Lee College, experience for more than 40 years. 

Clarion's innovative website design is competing with other top three finalists UCLA and the University of Miami. 

“Being a finalist means that you win either first, second, or third place,” Dr. Finch said. “So being a finalist means you win something.” 

While Lee University is ranked regionally, its student media program is being recognized among nationally-ranked universities due to this award. UCLA has an enrollment of over 43,000 students and is ranked the 21st best university in the nation by U.S. News. Its student newspaper, Daily Bruin, is published five days a week and has more than 500 contributing student writers and three full-time advisors. The University of Miami, ranked 46th in the nation by U.S. News, has an enrollment of nearly 16,000 students, and Distraction Magazine, UM's culture and lifestyle publication, has a staff of more than 30 students and a nationally-acclaimed media advisor, Randy Stano. 

Lee University's Clarion had a staff of eight student workers with Dr. Finch as an advisor, who was teaching a full load while advising the Clarion. 

Dr. Finch said that though the design award was a team initiative, Ruthie Martin, the Lee Clarion designer, was integral in the design process, as were the designers at TownNews. 

“I am extremely honored to have the Lee Clarion website be a finalist for the Pinnacle,” said Ms. Martin. “It was such a fun process getting to dream up what a new website could be, and watching it come to life was even better!” 

Lee University's iGnite News is a finalist in the broadcast category “Best Television Newscast.” IGnite is a web show that was developed by Dr. Finch and recent graduate Dumisa Moyo just four years ago. Finch brought Professor April Reuning on to work with iGnite last year as well. Mr. Moyo produced the winning broadcast and is the reporter on screen. He also produced the looping video for the Lee Clarion website design. 

“From the beginning, iGnite set out to redefine what it meant to be a storyteller for the millennial generation,” Mr. Moyo said. “Equipped with a team dedicated to the pursuit of innovative and creative excellence, I could not be prouder to be a part of such a program.” 

Lee University's iGnite News is a finalist in the Best Television Newscast category. 

IGnite News’ team of three reporter/producers share the top three bracket with Kent State's television station, TV2, and Missouri Western State University's Griffon News. Kent State has over 40,000 students, 700 of whom contribute to student media. 

Dr. Finch was advisor over all of student media last year, but this year has moved out of overseeing all of the three student media programs at Lee: the Lee Clarion news, the iGnite news broadcast and the Vindagua yearbook. Dr. Finch now focuses on the Lee Clarion while teaching several classes at the university.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my students,” said Dr. Finch. “Being a student media advisor is sort of like being the barrel of a rifle. Your job is to basically provide opportunity, support, and direction for the explosive passion that many students have inside of them just waiting to be tapped. But then, it is their energy and passion that really make things happen. It’s so exciting! And it looks like they are really hitting the mark.” 

The College Media Association's award ceremony will be held in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 29. During the ceremony, first, second, and third place will be announced. 

To view the CMA finalist listings for collegiate design listed, visit http://www.collegemedia.org/news/article_fc6945da-86af-11e7-aa2d-67c6b1b5da0a.html

To view the winning Lee Clarion website, visit http://www.collegemedia.org/news/article_fc6945da-86af-11e7-aa2d-67c6b1b5da0a.html

To view the CMA finalist listings for broadcast, visit http://www.collegemedia.org/news/article_44ff3758-810d-11e7-ba81-bf56c5681827.html

To view the winning iGnite broadcast, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmOuUZqTy3Y

For more information, contact Dr. Finch at mfinch@leeuniversity.edu, or at 614-8494.



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