Posted: Feb 21, 2013 1:27 PM by Press Release
The radio journalism of University of Louisiana at Lafayette student Denan Jones earned a Top Ten finish in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, but the senior mass communication major only set out to produce engaging reports.
His technique is simple, he said. He finds stories that matter to him and works to make them matter to his audience.
"I just try to find topics that interest me. It's kind of hard to report on something that you don't care about," said Jones, a 22-year-old senior from New Iberia, La. on track to graduate in December.
One of Jones' award-winning reports delved into suicide prevention in Lafayette. Another focused on a campus food truck, a trendy enterprise involving mobile vehicles that are used to cook and sell food.
The reports were done for a broadcast newswriting course. They aired on Louisiana Focus, the news and public affairs program broadcast over the National Public Radio affiliate KRVS-FM on campus.
The Hearst Journalism Awards Program includes five writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, three broadcast news competitions and three additional multimedia competitions. It was created in 1960 and funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
For the radio broadcast portion of the competition, Jones' work was honored alongside students from schools with major journalism programs such as the University of Missouri and Arizona State University.
"I couldn't be happier. I'm truly honored to represent UL Lafayette among such elite company," Jones said.
Overall, there were 45 entries submitted from 29 schools said Jan Witten, Hearst Journalism Awards Program director.
Jones' professor, Dr. William Davie, said reporting and writing skills coupled with radio industry experience helped Jones create professional-quality pieces.
"His post-production skills were pretty good when he entered the class. All he needed was a little help on the reporting and writing, so I was happy to have some ambition and talent to guide," said Davie, UL Lafayette's BORSF Regents Chair of Communication/Mass Communication.
What sets his work apart, however, are intuitive skills, like solid news judgment and, in the case of the food truck piece, Jones' decision to weave the sounds of background traffic into the broadcast.
"All that natural ambient noise is captivating, and he knew how to use it in his story. He drew out some tremendous quotes, too. And you can't teach that," Davie said.
Visit http://hearstfdn.org/hearst_journalism for more information about the Hearst Journalism awards.