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School of Communications Shines During Awards Season

Students in the School of Communications have won awards in everything from advertising to broadcast journalism at regional, national and international levels.

“It is great to see contest judges recognizing the quality of our students’ work. We have talented and hard-working students who receive good mentoring by our faculty and staff,” said the school’s director, Ed Carter. “We feel fortunate to have the resources in the School of Communications that make award-winning work possible. I believe the trust placed in us gives us all an opportunity and responsibility to serve and do good for others while seeking personal and professional success at the same time.”

Read more below about the students’ specific accomplishments.


39th Annual Television Academy College Television Awards


Jedediah Thunell, Scott James and Chase Johnson (left to right) at the 39th Annual Television Academy College Television Awards (Courtesy of Jacey Carpenter)

Advertising students Jason Murray, Scott James, Jedediah Thunell and Chase Johnson made history in March 2019 as the first BYU students to win a Student Emmy for best student commercial from the 2017-2018 academic year.

Out of the three finalist spots for this category, BYU students occupied two of those slots. Murray, Scott, Thunell and Johnson took first place with their ad “GE — One More Giant Leap,” which has also won Telly and ADDY awards.

“Winning the award was pretty surreal,” said Thunell. “The entire event was so professional that it made us feel pretty special to have won. The beauty of the project, however, is that we would have done it regardless of the award shows. We just went out and made something we were passionate about and believed in.”

American Advertising Federation (AAF) Utah Chapter

BYU advertising students took home 22 ADDYs — nine gold and 13 silver — at the 2019 AAF Utah Competition. ADDYs are awarded to the students and professionals who exhibit creativity and excellence in advertising.

Elora Clement and Jagger Moore were awarded Student Best of Show for a campaign they did for Campbell’s alphabet soup that made the “all-American” brand more accessible to all Americans, even those whose first language isn’t English.

The judges also created three special Judge’s Choice Awards to recognize the BYU students’ work. The winners of this award were:

  • Rachel Findlay and Tanner Manscill, who created a campaign for Scrabble titled “The Only Time
  • Jake Knudsen, Paul Monk, Sara McLaws, Bentley Rawle, Zach Olsen and Pablo Perez, who created a campaign for Reebok
  • Michael Hanks, Peter Molnar, Sumner Mahaffey and Derrick Trotman, who created a campaign named “Rock Them Crocs

The students will advance to the regional level of the competition with the possibility of eventually moving on to nationals.

Public Relations


BYU Bateman team members Abby Giles, Tucker Toolson, Ashley Hamblin, Colin Wylie and Monica Chabot (left to right). The team are finalist for the 2019 Bateman Case Study Competition. (Courtesy of Colin Wylie)

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman Competition

PR majors Abby Giles, Tucker Toolson, Ashley Hamblin, Colin Wylie and Monica Chabot were selected as finalists for the 2019 Bateman Case Study Competition. Their team is one of three finalist teams out of the 66 teams from across the nation that submitted case studies.

“We didn’t know how we would match up against other schools, but more than anything we wanted our campaign to make a difference at BYU,” said Wylie. “Being selected as a finalist for the Bateman competition is an honor. I’m still floored. I’m grateful for the hard work of my teammates, as well as the support of professor Wakefield and the School of Communications.”

Their case study focused on campaign they developed titled “Embrace Diversity” that focused on addressing diversity issues at BYU.  

“Diversity can be a topic that people tend to gloss over, talking about it as a numbers game or a checklist,” said Wylie. “During this campaign, we tried to focus on making real change that could positively affect students for years to come.”

News Media


News media students and staff meet in The Daily Universe office. The Daily Universe Staff is a finalist for the best all-around student newspaper. (Abby Smith)

Regional Associated Press Association Competition.

The Daily Universe won awards at the 2018 Utah, Idaho, Spokane Associated Press Association competition. The association judged 15 daily news organizations and reviewed more than 600 entries.

Students were awarded first place in categories for feature story, general reporting, graphic artist, best website, online special package and photo illustration. They also placed in various other categories.

Riley Waldman, along with Kaitlyn Bancroft and Jillian Argento, were awarded first place in the series or special projects category for their series titled “The Impact of Illegal Immigration: From the Mexican Border to Salt Lake City.

The other reporters and I worked really hard on the project — lots of blood, sweat and tears, literally — so to be recognized for that work felt amazing. It still feels like such an honor,” said Waldman, “As a graduating senior, it’s really awesome to be able to finish my time in the newsroom and in the program with an accomplishment like this.”

Society of Professional Journalists Region 9 Conference

BYU news media students were recognized at the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Region 9 Conference, where they were up against reporters from New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and West Texas.

The Daily Universe staff was a also a finalist for best affiliate website and best all-around, non-daily student newspaper.

“The Universe staff works hard to produce quality journalism, and it’s rewarding to see that work be recognized by a prestigious organization like SPJ,” said Jenna Alton, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Universe. “The students who placed as finalists are extremely hard working students and journalists, and the rest of the staff couldn’t be more proud of their efforts and example.”