“alt.news 26:46” nominated for four regional Emmy’s

By Gus Bode

The popular alternative news program created by students is nominated for student work and open to television professional’s categories

The popular “alt.news 26:46” program at SIUC is nominated for four regional Emmy awards this year, thrusting the student-produced television show to regional acclaim against professional shows.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ St. Louis/Mid-America Regional Chapter nominated the program in one category for student work and three categories open to television professionals.

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The alternative TV news magazine has won several awards in the past, including a regional Emmy and three National College Television Awards and has twice been shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

The organization awards regional Emmys to recognize outstanding achievement and to encourage continuing excellence within the television broadcast industry.

“Alt.news 26:46” is in its fourth season. The show is funded, produced and aired monthly on SIUC’s public television stations WSIU/WUSI-TV.

“It’s a huge honor for the show. It’s sort of surreal because we are students and we’re doing this on top of school,” said Brian Ehman, a senior in radio-television and current executive producer. “We’re a group of friends having a good time and expressing our creativity and that’s enough for us, but to be honored with all these awards it’s such a privilege. I can’t even describe it.”

Ehman said the student-produced show will compete against professional programs for the coveted award.

“What’s really special about the regional awards is that it’s professional. We’re not competing against other students. We’re competing against industry professionals, against networks out of the greater St. Louis area, with markets much larger then ours, with budgets much larger then ours,” Ehman said.

The Mid-American Regional Chapter of the Emmys includes the television outlets in all of Missouri, some markets in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana.

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The winners will be announced at a black-tie event Oct. 19 in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel of St. Louis.

SIUC student producers Otto Arsenault, a junior in cinema and photography from Chicago, and Jody Paul Leggio, an SIUC radio-television alumnus from Shirley, N.Y., are both nominated for Best Student Production. Arsenault said the program’s participants are grateful for WSIU’s support throughout the years and for providing the students with an outlet for their creativity and to be able to be a part of the station.

Co-producers Arsenault and Leggio, who collaborated on a segment titled “Punkin’ Chuckin,'” were also nominated for Best Editors for a Program Other Than News. The segment shows an interesting event in central Illinois.

“It’s a bunch of guys that gather in Morton, Ill., in October after a pumpkin festival and they build catapults to throw pumpkins as far as they can,” Ehman said.

Michael Cioni, and Ian Vertovec, both former SIUC radio-television students, were nominated along with Arsenault and Leggio for Best Informational Program. The show nominated featured the segment “Pizza Wars,” a competition to resolve if New York or Chicago’s pizza is better and comprises of various other unique segments.

Cioni is also nominated for Best Photographer/Videographer for Pre-Produced News.

“I’m just honored and excited to go the ceremony,” Arsenault said. “I worked with Mike, Ian and Jody all my freshman year and they taught me a lot of what I’ve learned. They taught me a great deal, so it feels like a reunion and we all look forward to working together in the future.”

Cioni and Vertovec are credited for turning the show to its half-hour format. Both reside in Los Angeles, and Cioni is currently working as for Christotopher Coppola, a film director.

Cioni said the show is dialed into the real world and helps the students gain immediate success after graduation and attain careers in the entertainment and broadcasting industry.

“‘Alt.news’ teaches kids how to be professional while still in school,” Cioni said. “It’s about being on the bleeding, cutting edge of technology and preparing kids with the mental abilities for working in the field.”

Reporter Carrie Roderick can be reached at [email protected]

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