Two NTC productions up for Midwest Emmys

In this June 14 photo, cameras stand inside the now-closed NTC. 

By Noah Thornburgh

The Northern Television Center was nominated Friday for two Midwest Emmy student awards for productions made by students last spring.

The NTC’s “Aurora Shooting Newscast,” produced by Konstance Fowler, Victor Owoeye, Isai Sanchez and Krystal Termini, was nominated in the “Newscast” category. “The Harper Kid Story,” produced by Eddie Garcia, was nominated in the “Sports” category.

The Department of Communication closed the NTC in June. The classes that produced the nominated newscasts were moved to Watson Hall this Fall. No newscasts have broadcast this semester.

The newscast features coverage of the February shooting in Aurora, in which NIU student Trevor Wehner and alumnus Clayton Parks were killed. Beni Enas, former NTC general manager, said Parks’ mother reached out to her to ensure her son’s alma mater would broadcast his story.

Parks’ mother and stepfather gave a live interview for the nominated newscast.

“She found it to be so cathartic as part of her grieving process,” Enas said.

Enas said the Emmy nomination is bittersweet.

“I’m ecstatic for the students,” she said. “The bottom line is this is our validation — we really were picking up steam before the program got dismantled.”

Enas now runs a weekly student newscast at Geneva High School.

Owoeye is a senior journalism major who’s turned his focus to politics, working as the SA’s director of governmental affairs. 

He said the nomination surprised him.

“I’m still kind of internalizing it,” he said. “It’s not even something I thought about happening.”

He said he’s happy he could help “keep their names alive.”

Garcia’s project, “The Harper Kid Story,” tells the story of Linnae Harper, a player for Chicago’s WNBA team, the Sky. He said he got to know Harper while he interned for the team and asked if he could produce a biographical video on her.

“She told her story; I just put it all together,” he said.

This is Garcia’s second Midwest Emmy nomination, his first being a 2018 newscast on the anniversary of the 2008 shooting on NIU’s campus. He said he wants to bring home the award this year — not just for him, but for the rest of the NTC group too.

“We were producing outstanding content, and now we’re being recognized,” he said. “I want to win this award because of what we’ve gone through in the past year.”

Garcia works as a graduate assistant for NIU Athletics, putting together promotional videos for NIU’s athletes. He said his work will be posted onto @niuathletics social media soon.

Mehdi Semati, acting chair of the Department of Communication, said he’s proud of the students.

“This is just one more indication — and validation — that our students do good work,” he said.

Semanti said he hasn’t given up on setting up newscasts again, and the department is still working on a model that will accomodate the Watson studio.