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BYU newscast wins national award from the Society of Professional Journalists

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 12:36 p.m. MDT

(From left to right) Angela Montierth, Jen Benson, Ashley Munguia and Benjamin Carter sign off at the end of the Dec. 3, 2012 newscast. (BYU) (From left to right) Angela Montierth, Jen Benson, Ashley Munguia and Benjamin Carter sign off at the end of the Dec. 3, 2012 newscast. (BYU)

Broadcast journalism students at BYU beat out 56 other schools to win the "Best All-Around Television Newscast" award given at the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards.

According to a press release posted on BYU's website, the honor was given to Brenna Donnelly, Jen Benson, Ashley Munguia and Jeff Merrill for their story on the FrontRunner South train line, which ran on the Dec. 3, 2012, broadcast of ElevenNEWS, BYU's news channel.

“I felt very responsible for the story,” Donnelly said in the release. “I really made sure I got it right and double checked everything. This was important news for BYU students.”

BYU student reporter Brenna Donnelly reports on the Utah Transit Authority's FrontRunner South during the Dec. 3, 2012 newscast. (BYU) BYU student reporter Brenna Donnelly reports on the Utah Transit Authority's FrontRunner South during the Dec. 3, 2012 newscast. (BYU)

Donnelly was the reporter, Benson and Munguia anchored the newscast, and Merrill was the student producer.

“The stories the students did showed that they know what's going on in our community well enough to cover it,” said Chad Curtis, manager of BYU's broadcast news. “The launching of FrontRunner service in Provo-Orem means a lot to this community, and Brenna's story shows that."

According to the press release, the judging criteria for the SPJ awards includes "accuracy and completeness; enterprise and ingenuity; and adherence to high journalistic standards."

BYU's daily newscast, which airs Monday through Friday at noon on KBYU, beat out finalists from St. Cloud State University and Pennsylvania State University.

Jen Benson and Ashley Munguia anchor the Dec. 3, 2012 newscast. (BYU) Jen Benson and Ashley Munguia anchor the Dec. 3, 2012 newscast. (BYU)

“To be named best in the nation means a lot, for any award,” Merrill said in the press release. “Everyone who goes through that program puts in a lot of hard work. It’s nice to get some recognition for that and to be able to put together a product we all could be proud of.”

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