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Student Achievement in Media, Film & Journalism Studies

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Media, Film & Journalism Studies

Announcement  •
12 students stand next to each other in a line onstage in front of a projector that reads "InShort Showcase"

Written by Katie Yeager

Regional Excellence In News Videography

Antonia Valez recently received a second-place award for her piece “Marijuana is about to fund Denver's minority-owned businesses” which was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence Awards in Region 9. As a finalist in the competition, Valez’s work was considered against news videography submissions from students in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. 

The submissions are judged by individuals in the journalism field with at least three years of professional experience. The judging process is vigorous and awards are only given when submissions achieve a high standard of excellence, when submissions in certain categories do not meet this standard, no award is given. Learn more about this year’s SPJ awards and see the results online on the SPJ website. Valez also received recognition from the Colorado Broadcasters Association, winning the Future Broadcaster Award at large.

Denver Foundation Scholarship Recipient 

Recently, two students at the University of Denver attended the Denver Press Club event, where MFJS student Nicole Guzman was awarded a John C. Ensslin Memorial Scholarship from The Denver Foundation. This scholarship is reserved for applicants who demonstrate “engagement in their academic field of journalism,” and must meet a GPA requirement to be considered. Guzman is one of eight applicants to be awarded the Damon Runyon Scholarship within the Esslin Scholarship program. 

Guzman is a producer with Rocky Mountain Reverb, a student-produced podcast within the MFJS department. Guzman attended the event alongside Aubrey Cox, the Editor of The Clarion at DU. Learn more about the John C. Ensslin Memorial Scholarship

The Bird of Paradise Film Reaches New Heights

Our student-produced film “The Bird of Paradise” was recently awarded first place in the narrative/fiction category by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Facing consideration against other student projects in the Heartland EMMY Chapter, DU students David Painter, Aaron Butwinick, Davis Mawer, Devon Weigers, Sean O’Connor and Maggie Mitchell beat out submissions coming from other schools in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma. 

This achievement is amplified by the fact that “The Bird of Paradise” film is the very first narrative project to ever win this category in the award process. Additionally, this is the first time a student production from the University of Denver has been awarded an accolade in the regional Heartland chapter. The short film was also recognized by Indie Short Fest, which awarded the film Best Student Short and Best Male Director. “The Bird of Paradise” is set for screenings at Big Sur Festival, Short to the Point Film Festival in Romania, and BRNO Film Festival in the Czech Republic.

Outstanding Students in Media, Film, & Journalism Studies

At the close of the 2023 Spring Quarter, the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies recognized outstanding student achievement and contribution to the University of Denver for a single student in each major and program. The following students were recognized:

  • Media Studies: Lila Ruppe
  • Film Studies & Production: Débora Rocha 
  • Journalism Studies: Peter Vo
  • Strategic Communication: Lauren Lucca
  • Media & Public Communication: Camille Fowler and Albani Berryhill
  • International & Intercultural Communication: Gwen Barris and Rebecca Nzerem