Student media organization wins regional Emmy

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

Award-winning SIUC media organization 26:46 added another notch to its belt Saturday, by receiving a regional Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Regional Chapter.

Nominated for Best Magazine Program 26:46 was up against four other entries from professional television marketers in the region. The show’s co-producer Holden Jones, a senior from Jacksonville who is double-majoring in cinema and photography and radio, television and digital media, accepted the organization’s 31st Emmy on behalf of last year’s co-producer, Dallen Detamore, and the rest of the 2014-15 crew during the 39th annual awards ceremony in St. Louis.

“It had been several years since we had won, so it was very exciting to bring the tradition back and keep it going,” Jones said.


Detamore, an SIU Alumnus from Germantown, Tenn., moved to Los Angeles after graduating from the university and now works as a visual effects coordinator. He said he did not expect to win, considering the competition they were faced with.

“I wasn’t able to be there, but I wish I was,” he said.

Emily Jelinek, a junior from Rockford studying English and current co-producer of 26:46, said there was a mixed reaction of excitement and disbelief when they were announced as winners.

“Nobody, I think, was really expecting it — we were all really, really hoping and it was just amazing. We couldn’t believe it,” Jelinek said. “When you’re up against professionals, it’s a little difficult. That was really intimidating.”

The Emmy-winning episode, Episode 1603, features a Metal Museum in Tennessee; the annual Skunkfest in Ohio; the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Indiana; the national non-profit organization “Cleaning for a Cause,” which aids women by providing cleaning services and is based out of Texas; and the Louisville Mega Cavern, an underground zip-line course in Kentucky.

Jones said the episode turned out so well in part because he and Detamore pined over minute details and had long discussions over the smallest parts of the editing process. In accepting the award, Jones stressed the high importance of collaboration among his team. 

“Thousands of hours of people’s time went into this episode,” Jones said. “It wouldn’t be possible without all of their hard work.”


Putting a half-hour episode together costs time and money — something that has been cut short for the crew in recent years. Jelinek said finding a way to cover stories in other states with outdated cameras, taped-together tripods and shoddy sound equipment is a challenge

“We make it work,” she said. 

And despite the many obstacles, the program has continued to receive accolades and awards for its off-the-wall content.

“We are definitely a motley crew when we go places,” Jelinek said.

In previous years, the news organization would enter submissions for numerous categories and win multiple awards per year, but Jones said 26:46 was only able to send in one episode for consideration because of increased disinvestment by the university.

“We would enter more if we had the funds to do so. And I think we could win more, too,” he said. 

The members of 26:46 pride themselves on being an atypical news organization that covers an array of zany stories, and that’s one of the reasons Jelinek said she loves working there.

Sometimes, she says, finding a story is as simple as typing “weird stuff” into a Google search. 

Bill Lukitsch can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bill_LukitschDE .