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Two UFCJC Students Honored in 2023-24 Hearst Multimedia: Innovative Storytelling Competition

University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) journalism students Aubrey Bocalan and Ashleigh Lucas have placed third and sixth, respectively, in the 2023-24 Hearst Journalism Awards Multimedia: Innovative Storytelling competition.

Bocalan, a senior, was honored for the WUFT News Special Report “From Inmate to Advocate: How Incarceration Motivated Six Individuals to Try Changing the System.” Her reporting outcomes included written profiles of several formerly incarcerated people, plus a seven-minute video and an interactive simulation presentation modeling “chance choices” resembling the complicated financial, physical and emotional obstacles that come with reentry into society.

“In addition to sharing these advocate’s stories, this reentry simulation project also aims to help the public better understand why it can be so hard to stay free of incarceration and start anew,” Bocalan wrote in her introduction to the project.

Lucas was recognized for “From Farm Not to Table: Sanctuaries in Alachua County Provide Refuge to Farm Animals in Need,” another WUFT News report. Her outcome included video and audio stories as well as an interactive photo gallery focusing on Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary, which is based in Alachua County and the largest rescue space for bovines in the U.S.

“I wanted to utilize innovative methods to tell this story, where viewers could feel the same compassion through the screen as they may actually feel in the presence of these critters,” Lucas wrote in a note to the contest judges accompanying her entry.

Innovative storytelling is the second of four Hearst Awards multimedia contests held each year. Entries in this category must demonstrate original and storytelling using immersive digital tools and techniques – and use emerging media that allow for innovative journalistic approaches.

Bocalan earned a $1,500 award for finishing third among 47 entries from 34 schools nationwide. Lucas received a certificate. Both of their stories were produced in UFCJC Journalism Senior Lecturer Herbert Lowe’s Advanced Multimedia Reporting course.

“Aubrey and Ashleigh both worked tirelessly to identify, report and produce these extraordinary stories about compelling people from north central Florida,” Lowe said. “Their efforts are exactly what we as faculty love to see from our students. Their recognition is justly deserved.”

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program added multimedia to the competition in 2010. The program also includes writing, broadcast and photojournalism contests, all offering up to a total of $700,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends. More than 100 universities and colleges with undergraduate journalism programs accredited by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication are eligible to participate in the Hearst competitions.

Posted: April 19, 2024
Category: College News, Student News
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