Ball State receives Emmys and retired professor honored for lifetime achievements

Topic: College of Communication Information and Media

September 14, 2007

Ball State continues to reap the honors for its nationally recognized immersive education program in media as a student-run television magazine program and music from a student film recently won regional Emmys.

Connections Live, a student-run television magazine show, was honored in the professional category for magazine programs, while "Perspective," a student-produced short film that won a Student Academy Award in 2006, was honored for best music composition.

During ceremonies on Sept. 8 in Cleveland, the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences also recognized Jim Shasky, a recently retired telecommunications professor at Ball State, with a lifetime achievement award for his work in television education.

The university has received 61 regional Emmy nominations and won 20 since 2000, strengthening Ball State's reputation as a national model for immersive education in news, film and entertainment, said Joseph Misiewicz, chair of the telecommunications department.

The large number of regional Emmys - the most won by any American college or university over the last seven years - contributed to Ball State being named Indiana's Broadcast School of the Year for the last three years, he said.

"It is very gratifying for the achievements of Ball State students and faculty to be recognized by the chapter year after year," Misiewicz said. "Connections Live has certainly been one of our most outstanding programs over the years, providing students with tremendous opportunities to hone their storytelling talents. And 'Perspective' continues to be an outstanding example of the work produced by our students."

Members of the Connections Live team sharing the honor include Rick Babusiak, a 2007 graduate from Tallahassee, Fla.; Mandy Walker, a senior from Floyds Knob, Ind.; Brett Varvel, a junior from Brownsburg, Ind.; Justin Gladis, an Honors College student from Meadville, Pa., who graduated in 2006; Laura Donaldson, a junior from Indianapolis; Todd Darroca, a junior from Muncie; and Rachel Martin, a junior from Indianapolis.

With the regional Emmy, "Perspective" continues to collect awards. In addition to the 2006 Student Academy Award, the film received the Best of Festival award at the 2007 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts. The film also was honored in March in the comedy division in the College Television Awards.

The film was created by a Ball State student team led by Sam Day, a senior telecommunications major from Georgetown, Ind., and Travis Hatfield, a 2006 telecommunications graduate from Floyds Knobs, Ind.

The music composition was written by Brad Ritchie, who grew up with Day and Hatfield in southern Indiana. Ritchie worked on the movie project as an undergraduate at the University of Louisville and used his work on "Perspective" to gain admittance to the master's program in movie scoring at the University of Southern California.

Shasky received the prestigious Board of Governors Award for his long career in television education. After a 30-year career in television that included directing live coverage of the Nixon impeachment hearings and the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Shasky joined the Ball State faculty in 1997 and quickly became known for his work ethic.

As a faculty producer at Ball State, Shasky received a 2005 regional Emmy Award in the public service announcement category for "Even Experts Make Mistakes," which addressed gun safety. He also won Best in Category: Short Form for his documentary "Cell Block Scholars" at the national 2007 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts.

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