18 Schools Prepare To ‘Disrupt The News’

Student journalists who create the best new approaches or formats for local TV news in broadcasting will be awarded monetary prizes.

Teams of students from 18 colleges and universities across the country will attempt to develop unique ideas for reinventing local broadcast news to attract new viewers — particularly younger ones

They will participate in TVNewsCheck’s and the Broadcast Education Association’s “Disrupt the News” challenge, with the winners showcased at BEA’s 2019 annual convention in Las Vegas (April 6-9), which overlaps with the NAB Show (April 8-11). Winning entries will be featured on TVNewsCheck.com and possibly also at the NAB Show.

Competing student teams hail from the following institutions:

  • Appalachian State University
  • Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism
  • Elon University
  • Ithaca College
  • New Zealand Broadcasting School
  • Syracuse University
  • The American University in Cairo
  • The University of Alabama (3 submissions)
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Central Oklahoma
  • University of Houston
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • Western Illinois University

Disrupt the News Challenge entries will be judged by members of the Radio Television Digital News Association as well as BEA member university professors and TVNewsCheck editors.

The contest is designed to:

  • Develop ideas for local news that TV stations can implement to attract new viewers and stem the slow erosion in broadcast news ratings.
  • Expose student journalists’ work to the TV industry via significant promotion on comand at the NAB Show. Once presented, the winning videos will play in full on BEAweb.org or TVNewsCheck.com.
  • Create a highly efficient way for technology providers to reach professors shopping for new hardware and software.

Cash prizes will be given to first-, second- and third-place winners and honorable mentions will go to another three, if deserving.


Winning student teams (up to three people per team) will be provided with housing and travel allowances to cover most expenses for their trip to Las Vegas.

During the convention, a panel session with winning student team leaders will explore the reasoning behind their approaches to the news.

TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell

“TV broadcasters have been looking for ways to create newscasts that appeal to younger viewers,” said TVNewsCheck Editor and co-founder Harry A. Jessell. “Disrupt the News Challenge” offers a way for college students to show the industry how they want the news presented on TV, online and on mobile. We believe everyone attending NAB Show and BEA 2019 will want to see the work of the winning students and hear from them about how they approached their video entries.”

The BEA’s Heather Birks

Heather Birks, BEA’s executive director, agrees. “Every time I meet with BEA student members, or see their creative work, or hear about innovative ideas, I’m in awe. We have an engaged and talented next generation of broadcasters and we look forward to showcasing winning entries at BEA 2019, on BEA.org, on TVNewsCheck.com and possibly also at NAB Show.

For more on the Disrupt the News Challenge, click here.

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