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Journalism Department Honors Award-Winning Alumni, Students

Three Emerson College Journalism Department alumni—Gerry Wardwell ’80, Steve Shaw ’82, and Joe Rocco ’81—received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) at the department’s awards ceremony Saturday, April 29.

School of Communication Dean Raul Reis presented the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. WGBH anchor/reporter Tina Martin ’97 emceed.

Since 2008, Wardwell has been assistant news director at Boston ABC affiliate WCVB-TV Channel 5, having previously been managing editor and executive producer at the station he joined in 1998. During his time at WCVB, the station picked up more than 80 awards, including multiple Associated Press Station of the Year honors, according to his bio on WCVB.

Prior to working for WCVB, Wardwell was executive producer at WHDH-TV Channel 7, where he created the morning newscast in 1994. He got his start in local radio news, before launching his TV career at CNN and at local TV affiliates in Georgia, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Florida.

Shaw is a vice president at Holyoke, Massachusetts, IT consulting firm VertitechIT, where he works on business development, branding and marketing, and communications. For more than three decades, he has worked as an award-winning TV reporter, production agency founder, and multimedia network executive, according to the VertitechIT website.

Rocco is president of RocJo Productions, a Massachusetts-based producer of television, promotional videos, commercials, and events. He is the executive producer of the award-winning TV specials WaterFire: Art & Soul of a City, When the Reds Ruled the Roost, and Denis Leary’s Hockey’s Greatest Skate for America’s Bravest, his bio says.

Before starting RocJo two decades ago, Rocco was a two-time New England Emmy Award–winning executive producer and former Providence NBC 10 sportscaster. Over a 17-year career, Rocco has covered three Super Bowls, a World Series, two NBA finals, a Stanley Cup final, and has interviewed Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Orr, and Billie Jean King, among other sports stars.

The RTDNA also established and gave the Joe Rocco Sports Journalism Award to Maria Santora ’17 on Saturday. Santora is sports director for WEBN, executive producer for the WEBN’s spring training coverage, and co-host/reporter for the station’s Super Bowl coverage. After graduating this month, she will work as a sportscaster at KVVR-TV in Fargo, North Dakota.

Other award winners were:

Eddie Hickey '17 – Donna Hennessey Award

Paola Tristan Arruda '18 – George Esper Award

Angelina Salcedo '17 – RTDNA Award and Justin McLeod Civic Engagement Award

Lauren Fox '16 – Journalism Department Victoria Snelgrove Award

Nyan Lynn MA '17 and Bret Hauff '17 – Print Journalism Award

Ross Ketschke '18 – Hoyt Award

Samuel Doran '17 – Morgan Award

Shaynah Ferreira '17 – Simpson Leader Award

Ciara Speller MA '17 – Graduate Award

Javier Rodriguez '18 – Chris Hurst Journalism Mentorship Award

Gina Brazao '18 – RTDNA Victoria Snelgrove Award

Lloyd Mallison '17 – Christopher Mahoney Business Journalism Award

Michael Macomber '16, Andrew Morris '19, and Sam Benson Smith '17 – John Henning Political Journalism Award

Catherine Lazerwitz, MFA candidate – Robert F. Clinkscale Journalism Integrity Award

Geoffrey Morrissey '20 – Thomas P. Jaworski Radio Journalism Award

April Newell '17 – Trish Lawless Community Journalism Award

Daniel Kam '18 and Mia Zarrella '18 – SEJ (Society of Environmental Journalists) Award

Samantha Avalos '19 and Tommaso Di Blasi '18 – Gerry Wardwell Journalism Management Award







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