Yale, Northwestern…and a tweet?

This week’s winners were wide-ranging – from Iowa to Florida, using podcasts and Twitter, and speaking in Spanish and Mandarin. The CCC Awards might be more than a month old, but the judges are still surprised by the quality and quantity (109 last week) of the entries.

The Daily Northwestern

While all three parts impressed the judges, click the first link above to hear their favorite podcast of this entire contest. Hands down, it was the most-lauded submission of the week and a contender for best of the entire CCC Awards. The art was enticing, too – it’s the image above.

Declared one judge…

The podcast had a lot going for it – the depth and vulnerability of the interviews, good writing, production value, and at 12 minutes, it was tight! Too many podcasts mistake length for depth, but this one showed that good reporting, scripting and editing are more important.

Gushed another: “I want NPR to pick this up.”

Charlotte Zimmer, Yale Daily News

As impressed as our rotating cast of judges have been, they’ve lamented a lack of “strong, knowledgeable science writing” – which is odd when you consider how much medical research happens at our universities.

Then they read Zimmer’s trio of stories and called them “interesting and potentially highly significant.” Here’s how Zimmer describes one of them…

I got wind of a study on COVID-19 saliva testing at Yale, and after talking to the lead author and a couple other researchers, as well as looking up a bunch of information on the CDC website, I was able to put together a story that I believe captures the promise of this new study as well as its incredible implications. And I was able to get the article published just 12 hours after the preprint of the paper was released online. During my sourcing, the more I learned about this research, the more passionate I became about it.

That passion come through on all three stories.

Amanda Siew

Siew is an international student at the University of Central Oklahoma who headed home to Malaysia to wait out the pandemic with family. Judges said of her individual effort…

Very enterprising to turn this stressful experience into a first-person news story so that viewers and readers can feel what it’s like to go through a government-mandated quarantine. Working in isolation, she had to write, edit, and shoot the video, which offered an inside view into her hotel room and her confined daily life for almost two weeks. The innovative and effective use of the Twitter thread to document each step of the quarantine process made this a unique and memorable package.

UCF Knightly Latino – NSM TODAY

The University of Central Florida represents the state that’s won the most CCC Awards (along with Florida International University and multiple weeks from the University of Florida). Judges were impressed by the detailed teamwork evident in the results..

Impressive breadth and depth of coverage of the COVID-19 crisis in Spanish-speaking countries that impacts UCF students. There was so much collective work done on this podcast in different countries and under challenging circumstances. The Spanish segment is an important piece, too, of this excellent package.

The Daily Iowan

Every week, the judges –and remember, they rotate – reward breadth of coverage. This was exactly that.

“I just love the variety of the topics, the quality of the writing, and the depth of the reporting,” one judge declared. “It ranged from serious to light, but all three felt unique.”

Still, the judges said one stood out: “We particularly enjoyed the piece about the new normal for these musicians. This was a new, compelling angle.” Still, the broadcaster among the judges added, “I was screaming for the piano story to be a video. But maybe next time.”

Because our judges never listen to the rules set forth by their contest director – which is me, and I get no respect – our latest rotating trio decided to give a special honorable mention to a single  media outlet at one school doing three different things…

Temple Update

天普时刻 Temple Moment

Lo Último

Lo Último Noticias Breves | Abril 23, 2020

Each of these three Temple University outlets entered separately, but our judges decided to package them together. Why? Because they’re all admittedly awesome – a newscast in English, another in Mandarin, and a third in Spanish. How often does that happen?

“Temple University’s broadcast crew has done an excellent job reworking what they were used to doing into something new,” our judges said. “The five-minute newscast works well. We were impressed by the ambition and execution to broadcast in Spanish and in Mandarin.”

I’m fairly certain the English-speaking Temple Update team is speaking for their counterparts when they told us, “We created these shows and will continue to create these shows because we value journalism, our audience, and our work.”

The next deadline for The CCC Awards is Friday at 11:59:59 p.m.

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