Ted Simons

Arizona PBS, Cronkite School shine in Rocky Mountain Emmy nominations

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Arizona PBS received 12 Emmy nominations from the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, while Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication dominated the intercollegiate contest.

Arizona PBS took home nominations across a variety of categories, ranging from stories on “Arizona Horizon” to work on “Check, Please! Arizona” and the new Arizona PBS KIDS channel.

The Cronkite School, the home of Arizona PBS, captured more Student Production Award nominations than any other school. Cronkite students received 18 of the student competition’s 44 total nominations among colleges.

The Rocky Mountain Emmy and Student Production Award winners will be announced during the 40th annual Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards celebration Oct. 14 in Phoenix.

The nominations come on the heels of Arizona PBS being named the recipient of the highest honor given by the NATAS Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter, the Governors’ Award. The station is receiving the award in recognition of the efforts of Arizona PBS Educational Outreach, which specializes in supporting educators and students in the classroom and families at home with PBS educational content focused on national, common core and state standards.

In addition, Ted Simons, the managing editor and host of “Arizona Horizon,” will be inducted into the Silver Circle Society of the NATAS Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter, an achievement reserved for media veterans in the southwest who have shown exemplary service throughout their career. Simons, who joined “Arizona Horizon” in 2007, has guided the public affairs program to new heights, interviewing countless national and local politicians and newsmakers.

“These Emmy nominations are testament to our commitment to providing quality programming that engages our community and promotes lifelong learning,” said Arizona PBS General Manager Mary Mazur. “We are thrilled with the hard work of our staff and look forward to the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards celebration in October.”

In the Student Production Awards, 21 Cronkite students were part of the 18 nominations. Cronkite News, the student-produced, faculty-led news division of Arizona PBS, led the way with the most nominations, including two for best newscast.

“The Cronkite School’s repeated success in this important competition speaks to the quality work our students and faculty are producing every day,” said Cronkite Associate Dean and Arizona PBS Associate General Manager Mark Lodato. “We are proud to be able to provide the state of Arizona with relevant, impactful news stories each day through Cronkite News and Arizona PBS.”

Cronkite News was nominated for stories ranging from the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall to Major League Baseball Spring Training.

Six Cronkite students were nominated for two or more awards. Adriana De Alba, a graduate student who recently completed a summer internship at CBS News, received nominations in general assignment, arts and entertainment, and long-form for her Cronkite News reporting. Current senior Olivia Richard took home two nominations for her work for Arizona Capitol Television.

The Student Production Awards annually represent the best in collegiate and high school journalism. The Cronkite School regularly leads the contest. Since 2009, the Cronkite School has won 35 Student Production Awards.

Cronkite School faculty also received Rocky Mountain Emmy nominations. Vanessa Ruiz, the new director of Cronkite News Borderlands, received three nominations for her previous work as anchor at 12 News KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix. Ruiz was nominated in newscast, spot news and politics/government.

Lecturer Mark Reda, who teaches sports journalism at the Cronkite School, received a Rocky Mountain Emmy nomination in the sport event/game category for his work at the Arizona Cardinals Broadcast Network for a preseason football composite.

NATAS is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter represents Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and El Centro, California.

Arizona PBS Rocky Mountain Emmy Nominees

Education/Schools – News Single Story/Series/Feature

Shana Fischer, “Arizona Horizon: Graduation Highway,” Arizona PBS

Military – News Single Story/Series/Feature

Allysa Adams, “Arizona Horizon: PTSD Vet,” Arizona PBS

Sports – Feature/Segment/Daily or Weekly Program

Allysa Adams, “Arizona Horizon: Blind Athlete,” Arizona PBS

Interview/Discussion-Program/Special or Series

Suzanne Guery and Mark Lodato, “Walter Cronkite Centennial Special,” Arizona PBS


Jennifer Burke, Kimberly Flack, Kiirsten Makela and Mark Lodato, “PBS Kids Channel Interstitials with Miss K,” Arizona PBS

Promotion Program – Single Spot or Image

Margery Punnett and Alexander Kline, “Fork Fails,” Arizona PBS

Audio-Live or Post Production

Eric Xu, “ASU Symphony with Steven Moeckel and Tito Munoz: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D,” Arizona PBS

Audio-Live or Post Production

Eric Xu, “Orli Shaham Performs Bach: Partita in B-flat Major, BWV 825,” Arizona PBS

Lighting – Location or Studio

Scot Olson, Arizona PBS

Talent – Program Host/Moderator

Mark Tarbell, “Check, Please! Arizona,” Arizona PBS

Photographer – Program (Non-News)

Alex Kline, Arizona PBS

Photographer – Program (Non-News)

Scot Olson, Arizona PBS

Cronkite School Student Production Award Nominees


Windsor Smith and Madison Romine, Cronkite News (Feb. 17, 2017)

Tyler Paley, Katie Bieri, Allison Gargaro, Lauren Hornberger and Maya Patrose, Cronkite News (April 4, 2017)

General Assignment

Adriana De Alba, “Border Wall Encroaches on Texas Retirement Community,” Cronkite News

Chloe Ranshaw, “Farmers Strive to Increase Water Efficiency in Verde Valley,” Cronkite News

Olivia Richard, “Tamed But Not Broken,” Arizona Capitol Television


Sydney Cariel, “Ball Player by Day, Musician by Night,” Cronkite News

Tyler Paley, “Sports Reporting Reel

Arts and Entertainment/Cultural Affairs

Adriana De Alba, “Tres Amigos,” Cronkite News

Olivia Richard, “The Korean War: A Forgotten Victory,” Arizona Capitol Television

Long Form: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Adriana De Alba, Allison Bailey, Sierra Theobald and Brianna Davis, “Let Them Bee,” documentary

Public Affairs/Community Service

Lillian Donahue, “Queretaro: A Murky Middle Class,” documentary

Chloe Ranshaw, “Horses and Inmates,” Arizona Horizon

Louisa Stanwich, Allie Barton and Kristina Vicario, “MANZO,” documentary

Video Essay (Single Camera Only)

Katie Bieri, “Hummingbird Migration in Arizona,” Cronkite News


Katie Bieri, “Talent Reel

Danielle Kernkamp, “Talent Reel


Ben Jacobs, “Director Reel”


Lillian Donahue, “The Story of Santana-Man,” documentary

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