Students Challenged To ‘Disrupt the News’

TVNewsCheck and the Broadcast Education Association are looking for student journalists who can create the best new approaches or formats for local TV news. The winners will receive monetary prizes to be presented during BEA’s 2019 annual convention in Las Vegas.

TVNewsCheck will partner with the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) in sponsoring a “Disrupt the News” challenge to uncover unique ideas for reinventing local broadcast 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.

Broadcasters and people from allied fields will want to see the Disrupt the News winners just as much as students and professors will.

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 and at the NAB Show. Once presented, the winning videos will play in full on or
  • 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 approaches to the news.

“Local TV news viewing has been slowly, but steadily, declining, mostly because younger people haven’t been tuning in,” said TVNewsCheck Editor Harry A. Jessell.

“We want to see what the next generation of TV journalists can do to reverse the trend. We are looking for new ways of reporting stories or producing entire newscasts. If they are integrated with digital media so much the better.

“Here’s one way to think about it: You show up for your first day of work at the TV station and the news director says to you: ‘We want you to produce a local news program that is fresh, exciting and appealing to viewers in their 20s and 30s.’ What would you do?” Jessell added.

“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 seeing how they address this challenge,” said Heather Birks, BEA executive director.

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I have an idea, but I’m not a student….

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