By Kevin Bradley
March 25 was a big night for Jackson State University’s professional broadcast personnel. Every year the Associated Press honors the best of journalism in Louisiana and Mississippi.
This year, the department earned a total of nine awards between it’s radio station WJSU-FM and JSU-TV on Comcast Channel 14. The Associated Press selects judges from other states to comb through thousands of entries in broadcast and print media to end up with three of the best in each category.
Competing with radio stations in both Louisiana and Mississippi, WJSU-FM won four awards – one from each of the nine categories. One of those awards went to acclaimed sports personality Rob Jay for best Sports Story.
The biggest wins of the night went to JSU-TV’s producer and anchor Eric Walker. Walker scored four major awards out of 16 categories. Walker reports and fill-in hosts JSU TV’s locally-produced variety show “Metro Morning Live.” “Every year the competition is tough, but to be in the same categories as some of Jackson’s big names and stations, is a confidence booster” said Walker.
Walker mostly works as a one-man-band journalist; he films, edits and presents his stories. Walker came in behind longtime anchorman Howard Ballou of WLBT for best documentary. His story documenting the on-going saga between Jackson Women’s Health, Jackson Police and Mississippi pro-life groups came in third place.
Walker also competed in the categories of best achievement, best public affairs, and best multimedia story. His story detailing how brand new medical drones can save lives earned a first place award in that category.
JSU-TV operates under JSU’s Mass Communications department. It’s a fusion between industry professionals and student broadcast hopefuls. This is the first year JSU-TV has been professionally nominated.
“Metro Morning Live” started three years ago. Besides reporting and hosting, Walker’s duties also include hands-on mentoring of students to help augment lessons they’ve learned in the classroom. “I actually got my first paid on-air job at a college TV station just like this one over ten years ago. Collaborations work especially if the determination is there,” said Walker.