This article first appeared on Hays Post and is reprinted with permission.
Two years ago, a team of three students from Fort Hays State University’s informatics digital media and journalism program shot, edited, tweeted, snapped and Facebooked their way to top honors at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters Broadcast Education Association “War on the Floor” competition.
This year, another DM&J student made the cut to explore and report on the annual week-long convention, which regularly attracts more than 100,000 attendees from around the world.
Kadrae Smith, Derby senior and the 2017 KFHS radio station manager, promotions director, program manager and on-air host, assembled a body of work for the Kansas Association of Broadcasters annual student media competition. Five of his submissions took first place in the state contest, and one of his entries placed first in the national student media contest.
On his own initiative, Smith then applied for the multimedia journalism position and was accepted to join an exclusive team of four students from around the nation for the multimedia event.
Smith, recounting the experience, said, “I was nervous because I had never been to Las Vegas before, especially to attend one of the largest conventions in the world. However, I knew that I was ready for this position.”
“I learned so much from this experience,” Smith said. “I have never felt more alive than when I was working this event. It put everything into perspective, and I also made lifelong connections with my fellow MMJs and other attendees from the conference.”
“Being thrown into the deep end gave me the experience needed to effectively tell stories,” Smith said. “I am now able to edit on my phone like a pro and don’t need to buy expensive equipment and software because I have it all at my fingertips. Literally.”
Ron Rohlf, assistant professor of informatics and coordinator of the state and national contest submission process said, “2016-2017 was another banner year for FHSU’s digital media and journalism students. The dedication and hard work really paid off this year.”
“It is a pleasure to work with all of our students,” said Rohlf.
“The opportunity to network with the industry leaders at NAB/BEA and to see upcoming technology is an incredible experience that we remain committed to providing for our students,” said Dr. Melissa Hunsicker Walburn, chair of the Department of Informatics.
“We are especially fortunate to be able to support the entry fees and travel for these initiatives because of donor support,” she said. “By removing those cost barriers for students, more students are able to capitalize on these valuable and differentiating experiences.”
Smith’s NAB/BEA participation was sponsored in part by the Leo and Dorothy Lake Fund of Excellence.