UNL students, faculty and staff to collect awards at Omaha Press Club
Six students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln received scholarships and awards worth $14,000 from the Omaha Press Club Foundation last Friday, April 26. The organization also honored longtime UNL professor John R. Bender with its Journalism Educator Award.
The six — Amanda Acevedo, Odochi Akwani, Alli Davis, Brianna Frisbie, Grace Gorenflo and Allie Snow — joined Bender at a dinner at the Omaha Press Club on Friday. They were joined, too, by Steve Jordon, a former Omaha World-Herald reporter who collected the foundation’s Career Achievement Award.
In addition, the foundation awarded $1,000 to CoJMC under the John Savage Visual Communications Scholarship program. UNL’s application was developed by Susan Oestmann, who oversees photography equipment for the journalism college.
The Omaha Press Club Foundation distributed nearly $40,000 in scholarships and awards this year. Students at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha shared in the scholarship and awards, along with the UNL students.
Here are details about each awardee:
Amanda Acevedo, winner of the Stan Bond scholarship, is majoring in broadcasting, sports media and communications and Ad/PR and minoring in criminology, psychology and fashion merchandising. She researched, interviewed, edited and presented news and sports stories for 17 episodes of a half-hour live TV news show, Star City News, produced at UNL. Earlier, in April 2018, she did play-by-play announcing for the Husker Football Spring Game. For Fox Sports University at UNL, she conducted research and composed an ad campaign. Acevedo, who will be a senior next year, hails from Roxbury, New Jersey, and is the daughter of Marilyn and Luis Acevedo of Flanders, New Jersey.
Odochi Akwani, who was awarded the Panko-Roberts Scholarship, is double majoring in ADPR and journalism and minoring in psychology and human rights/humanitarian affairs. She has distinguished herself in photography, shooting for the Daily Nebraskan and as a photographer/videographer for the Glenn Korff School of Music. She also manages social media channels for the Creative Commons club, works as a Spotify Brand Campus Influencer, curating Instagram posts to promote Spotify features to students. Earlier, she interned at Rabble Mill, a nonprofit organization that serves at-risk young people, where she helped to develop traffic, as well as collaborated with high school and college students to produce Rabble magazine, highlighting youth culture in Nebraska. Akwani, who will be a junior next year, made Dean’s List in the fall of 2017 and both spring and fall of 2018. As an Adobe Scholar, she was invited to the 3% Conference in Chicago, a meeting aimed at advancing women in advertising. She is the daughter of Ogbonna and Hope Akwani of Omaha, which is her hometown.
Alli Davis, recipient of the Paul Williams scholarship, is majoring in journalism and ADPR and minoring in leadership and communications and history. As a reporting fellow at the Omaha World-Herald, she writes and reports for the newspaper. She also works at the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, editing newsletters and doing design work. Alli served as a staff writer for the Daily Nebraskan during the 2017–18 academic year, writing arts/entertainment stories. Davis, who will be a senior next year, served as the new member educator and banner chairwoman for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and has volunteered for Girls on the Run and People’s City Mission, and undertook a mission trip to the Le Chee Navajo Reservation in Arizona in the spring of 2018. This summer, she heads to Rwanda with UNL’s Global Eyewitness photojournalism program as a writer. Alli, the daughter of Matt and Mary Davis, is from Lincoln, Nebraska.
Brianna Frisbie, the Judy Horan scholarship winner, is majoring in ADPR and minoring in textiles, merchandising and fashion design. She serves as chapter president of the Public Relations Student Society of America and earlier served as the chapter’s vice president. She will intern in the summer of 2019 at Stephanie Churchill PR in London. She interned in the Engler Program in Lincoln, creating press releases to publicize the Heartland Shark Tank Event, and that material was published in several states. Last summer, she interned at Pink Bandanna, where she worked in social media. Frisbie, who will be a junior next year, hails from Fort Morgan, Colorado, and worked as a freelance website designer for Ammarell Deasy, a law firm in Denver. She also attended the 3% Conference in Chicago as an Adobe Scholar in the fall of 2018. Her parents are Manley and Kathleen Frisbie.
Grace Gorenflo, who won the Howard Silber award, writes four to five stories each week for the Daily Nebraskan and helped launch a daily news podcast for which she reports twice a week. Gorenflo, who will be a junior next year, served as a reporting fellow for the Omaha World-Herald in the fall of 2018, writing briefs and features for the metro and breaking-news desks and serving as an on-duty breaking news reporter once a week. Earlier, she contributed stories about stock-car racing to the Norfolk Daily News as part of a spring 2018 special assignment. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in business at UNL and made the Dean’s List each semester so far. She also writes poetry. Grace is the daughter of Elizabeth Cheeseman and calls Shawnee, Kansas, home.
Allie Snow, winner of the Mark Gautier Intern Award, is a broadcasting and sports media and communication major. She interns for HuskerOnline Rivals-Affiliate, covering Nebraska basketball, football and baseball, and she creates and aggregates posts and content for the HuskerOnline website. Snow, who will be a senior next year, interned at KETV in the summer of 2018, creating packages and standups, as she shadowed sports and news reporters. She worked as a sports writer for the Daily Nebraskan in the spring of 2018. Daughter of Kim and Dee Snow, she is from Tekamah, Nebraska.
Journalism Educator Award:
John R. Bender, a professor of journalism, has taught at the college or university level for more than 35 years. He joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1990, and before that he was an assistant professor of journalism at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. In 2007, Bender received the College Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2011, he received the James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award for his work in promoting academic freedom in high school journalism programs, and for his teaching and his involvement in faculty governance at UNL.
Bender is lead author of “Writing & Reporting for the Media,” one of the best-selling college textbooks on news reporting and writing. The 12th edition of the book was published by Oxford University Press in the fall of 2018. He is also author of “Law for Media Professionals,” an electronic textbook for undergraduate media law students, which was published in 2018 by Great River Learning.
He also has written papers on libel law, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Gannett v. DePasquale decisions in 1979 and state laws on access to public records. He is working on a book about the U.S. Supreme Court’s major decisions on media access to criminal proceedings.
His teaching and research areas include news reporting and writing, mass media law, media history and controls of information. Also, for nearly 16 years he was executive director of the Nebraska High School Press Association. He is secretary of the Nebraska state convention of the Association of American University Professors.
Before he started teaching, Bender worked for six years for the Pittsburg (Kansas) Morning Sun. He started as a reporter covering local government and politics, then became the paper’s assignment editor, news editor and then managing editor. During his term as managing editor, the Morning Sun won awards for farm coverage, photography and editorial writing.
As an undergraduate, Bender majored in sociology at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia.