J-Schoolers Win WBA Student Awards for Excellence

Screenshot of a virtual meeting platform featuring Pat Hastings and several SJMC students and alums.
Distinguished Faculty Associate Pat Hastings meets with current and former J-School students during the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association virtual Student Seminar.

Over the weekend, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association held their virtual Student Seminar and announced the winners of both their scholarships and the Student Awards for Excellence. Students and recent alums from the J-School won nine awards for different projects in broadcasting and WSUM received 15 awards.

One winner, J-School alum Ana Demendoza (BA’20), received first place in the News Series/Documentary (TV) category for her project COVID-19 in Miami.

“As a Miami local attending a Wisconsin journalism school, I was challenged to present a story that felt local to me to an audience so different from the place I call home,” Demendoza said. “Winning this award truly validates my ability to connect with an audience even if we may appear to be far removed from each other. I’m humbled I was able to present a piece of my home and storytelling to Wisconsinites during such a difficult point in time.”

J-School senior Nathan Denzin received multiple awards, including first place in the Podcast (Radio) category for his project Isolated, and first and second place in the Newscast (TV) category for his work on The Badger Report.

“I am super excited to have won Best Podcast this year,” Denzin said. “While COVID-19 gave me plenty of challenges, it also provided me a chance to think outside of the box and tell an evolving story. I’m very proud of the work I put in, and what I was able to create in the end.”

WBA Scholarship recipient and J-School senior Reagan Zimmerman was also a part of the first and second place Newscast (TV) award-winning team on The Badger Report. She also received first place in the Feature Story TV category for her story “Virtual Education in Special Education”.

“When I started at the Badger Report, I never thought we would produce an award-winning newscast and I would shoot an award-winning package,” Zimmerman said. “We couldn’t have done it without the guidance from our amazing instructor, Pat Hastings, and director, Peter Kleppin! On Wisconsin!”

A screenshot of WBA Student Seminar keynote speaker Charlie Berens talking on a cell phone
J-School alum Charlie Berens was the keynote speaker at the 2021 WBA Student Seminar.

In addition to the student awards, J-School alum Charlie Berens was the keynote speaker at the event. Berens, a comedian, Emmy award-winning journalist and host of The Manitowoc Minute spoke to the 130+ high school and college students from across Wisconsin that attended the virtual event.

We’re so proud of our current and former J-Schoolers! The full list of UW-Madison award winners is as follows:

News Series/Documentary (TV)

First Place: Ana Demendoza, COVID-19 in Miami

News Series/Documentary (Radio)

Third Place: WSUM, Monsters of Poetry

Newscast (TV)

First Place: The Badger Report

Second Place: The Badger Report

(Producers for these newscasts include Nathan Denzin, Sophia Madore, Steven Potter and Reagan Zimmerman)

Newscast (Radio)

Second Place: WSUM, “November 19 News at 5”

Third Place: WSUM, “November 24 News at 5”

Feature Story TV

First Place: Reagan Zimmerman, “Virtual Education in Special Education”

Sports Play-by-Play (Radio)

First Place: WSUM, “Wisconsin vs. Purdue Men’s Basketball”

Second Place: WSUM, “Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Football”

Air Check (Radio)

Third Place: WSUM, “Pet Sounds”

Station Imaging Radio

Second Place: WSUM, “Hey Hello Legal”

General Entertainment Program (Radio)

Second Place: WSUM, Happy Hour

Audio Storytelling-Sound (Radio)

First Place: WSUM, “Open Wisconsin Protest”

Third Place: WSUM, “Chancellor Watson”

Public Affairs/Talk Show (Radio)

First Place: WSUM, “Pete Buttigieg Interview”

Second Place: WSUM, “Senator Elizabeth Warren Interview”

PSAs/Commercials (Radio)

First Place: WSUM, “Right Now”

Second Place: WSUM, “COVID-19 PSA”

Podcast (Radio)

First Place: Nathan Denzin, Isolated

Third Place: Mallroy Pelon, Dating in 2020

Social Media

First Place: Curb Magazine

Third Place: WSUM Instagram


First Place: Elizabeth Lang Oreamuno, Covida

Third Place: Students in Journalism 335, Seeing 2020 in 20-20

Pat Hastings contributed to this article.