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Communication Students, Faculty Win National Awards for Production, Professional Work

SUNY Plattsburgh communications students took home four national awards from the National Broadcasting Society conference in Los Angeles, Calif., this March.

In addition, the entire Plattsburgh NBS chapter won the most improved chapter of the year award, and Christine Johnson, associate professor of communication studies, won the professional member of the year award — bringing the total of honors to six.

The student winners were Derek Pollacchi, of Porter Corners, N.Y., for best video sports package; Nick Gismondi '13, originally of Oyster Bay, N.Y., and Nick Lagonia, of Austerlitz, N.Y., for best video program opener; Alex Backstrom, of Schenectady, N.Y., and Brian Caputo of New City, N.Y., for best video comedy segment; and Hilary Crannage, of Schuylerville, N.Y., and Matt Auten, of New City, N.Y., for best audio drama program or segment.

"This is the first time we have won six national awards," said Johnson, the chapter's adviser, who pointed to it as evidence of excellent student work and the dedication of faculty.

About winning the professional member of the year award, Johnson said, “I was absolutely shocked and did not know that students had nominated me. I was very humbled to hear that I won.”

"It was an honor to be there and participate," said Josh Lattrelle, a TV/video production major and the president of Plattsburgh’s NBS chapter.

Twenty-five Plattsburgh students attended this year's conference, the largest number from any institution.

According to Lattrelle, they had to compete against students from better-known communication departments, like the ones at the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Oklahoma, and University of Miami to win the awards.

The National Broadcasting Society-Alpha Epsilon Rho is a student and professional society with more than 120 chapters. It provides enrichment opportunities for those studying to enter television, broadcasting and related fields.

The group's annual conference allows students to learn from and network with broadcast professionals from across the country.

For more information about the conference or SUNY Plattsburgh's communications offerings, contact Shakuntala Rao, chair, at 518-564-4291 or [email protected].

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