by Kassidy Hart-The Department of Mass Communication hosted a watch party on Feb. 18, to celebrate Abby Koch, Mason Knaub, and Steven Cutler’s recognition for their excellence in media production by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).
Usually held face to face in Des Moines, Iowa, the ICMA held a virtual format due to COVID-19 restrictions. To show their support, the Morningside Mass Communication Department hosted their own in-person watch party that students from across campus were invited to come to. A Zoom link was also offered for those who could not celebrate in-person.
“We are very proud of all of these students and the wonderful work they’ve done as representatives of our department,” said Dave Madsen, head of the Department of Mass Communication at Morningside..
Amongst the students they were celebrating, senior Abby Koch was the one to have received awards in multiple categories. These awards included First Place Best News Photo, First Place Best Sports Photo, Second Place Best Use of Social Media and Third Place Best Feature Photo. Koch was also a finalist for the Student Journalist of the Year Award.
“I had the nervous butterflies before the awards ceremony. As soon as the first category was announced, I was just full of excitement and it felt nice getting recognition. I’ve put a lot of hours into the [Collegian Reporter] and reporting on a variety of subjects, so to win just made me smile from ear to ear,” Koch said.
Koch had the opportunity to attend the awards last year, which lit a fire within her to begin improving both her writing and photography through practice.
“Ross [Fuglsang, Mass Communication professor,] helped me out a lot with pointing out where I needed to improve my writing and challenging me with my photojournalism,” Koch said.
The only award that Koch really had suspicion of winning was one that she and two of her peers, 2020 graduates Mason Knaub and Steven Cutler, worked on in their Capstone class. The three received Third Place for Best COVID-19 Coverage, a special category ICMA created for this year, for their project that focused on how COVID-19 impacted them.
“When I found out which project it was receiving the award, I was surprised because even though I was happy with the way it turned out, since we were in COVID lockdown when I created it, I was very limited as far as what technology and facilities I had to make the audio high quality,” Cutler said.
Koch was joined by a couple friends both in-person and online as well as Professor Madsen to watch the awards being recognized. Having a group of people there allowed her to feel the support she had from her peers and her department of study.
“I’m very appreciative for all the support from friends and my family. Big thanks for all the advice and instruction from Ross Fuglsang,” Koch posted on her Facebook page. “Now back to reporting!”