News Directors To Students: ‘Disrupt The News’

RTDNA members will judge entries in a TVNewsCheck–BEA challenge asking students to produce the news the way they want to see it. The winners will receive cash prizes and will be showcased at BEA’s 2019 annual convention in Las Vegas (April 6-9), which overlaps with the NAB Show (April 8-11).

Leaders of the broadcast and digital news media industry will assist in judging student entries in a TVNewsCheck–Broadcast Education Association challenge asking student journalists to produce the news the way members of their generation want to see it presented.

Members of the Radio Television Digital News Association will join professors at BEA member colleges and universities in judging student entries to the TVNewsCheck–BEA Disrupt the News Challenge.

The Disrupt the News Challenge aims to uncover new ideas for overhauling local broadcast TV news to attract new viewers, particularly younger ones.

The high-visibility challenge will feature student journalists or teams of them competing to produce the best alternative local news content that that can be integrated with TV stations’ usual linear mix of entertainment, advertising and promotion.


The winners will be showcased at BEA’s 2019 annual convention in Las Vegas (April 6-9), which overlaps with the NAB Show (April 8-11). If the winning entries have enough merit, they could be showcased in a theater on the NAB Show floor and highlighted on the NAB Main Stage during an awards ceremony.


“It’s an honor to partner with TVNewsCheck on the challenge and we are thrilled RTDNA has agreed to review the student produced news submissions,” said Heather Birks, BEA’s executive director. “Their involvement will provide students with crucial expert feedback — and in turn, we anticipate RTDNA members will find innovative new hires.”


RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley added: “We’re very excited to see the innovation coming from the next generation of journalists as part of this project. Students and professionals always have so much to learn from one another, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this challenge that highlights great possibilities in the future of news.”

The contest is designed to:

  • Develop new 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 and at the NAB Show. Once presented, the winning videos will play in full on or TVNewsCheck.
  • 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. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Las Vegas. 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 approach to the news.

“Broadcasters and people from allied fields will want to see the Disrupt the News winners just as much as students and professors will,” said Harry A. Jessell, co-founder and editor of TVNewsCheck. “We are extremely pleased to have RTDNA members participate in the judging for this challenge.”

RTDNA Director of Strategic Initiatives Tara Puckey said: “Partnerships like the one between RTDNA, BEA and TVNewsCheck are so valuable in creating opportunities for journalists of the future, and journalism as a whole. We can’t wait to see the results of this project and future initiatives between all our organizations.”

More information on the Disrupt the News challenge can be found here.

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