Northern Arizona University students and faculty took a walk on the red carpet at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Gala last month, where they picked up multiple student Emmys and even a lifetime achievement award.
Every year, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – the same organization that puts the notorious Emmy Awards together – creates a banquet to honor those who are making significant contributions to the art of television.
Angele Anderfuren, a lecturer in the Electronic Media and Film program at NAU, nominated a show put together by her news production class for an award. The show is a compilation of news packages students created about different attractions in Flagstaff – titled the FLG Show. Five former students from the class attended the awards ceremony to account for their class’s Emmy, which was the first win of its kind for NAU.
“The Emmys give that much deserved recognition because it is the best of the best: while even a nomination is respected on résumés, a win is highly prized and has a lot of bragging rights out on the street,” Anderfuren said. “This is why you see TV stations promoting the number of Emmys they’ve won on a regular basis.”
In addition to the NAU students who won awards from the academy, long-time journalism professor Dale Hoskins was inducted into its Silver Circle Society, an honor for people who have been in the broadcast business for at least 25 years and have made a significant contribution to the industry. Hoskins was an anchor for various news channels and radio stations for nearly a decade before arriving at NAU, where he has instructed students in the art of broadcast journalism for the past 35 years.
Hoskins’s award was granted to him not only for his achievements during his time on the air, but for the quality of training he provides his students.
“It’s one thing to have my colleagues recognize me, but for an industry to recognize me because of the accomplishments of my students and to recognize the significance of our program through me is unbelievable,” Hoskins said. “I am so touched that they would chase back where these people came from.”
Anderfuren helped nominate Hoskins to be inducted into the Silver Circle when she heard all of the praise his former students gave him at the NAU School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Hall of Fame ceremony last year. She then reached out to six of his former students – including many in prestigious broadcasting and managerial positions – to write letters of recommendation on his behalf.
Shelly Watkins, a former student of Hoskins and currently the general manager of KNAU Arizona Public Radio, wrote a letter of recommendation for Hoskins. It was he who encouraged her to pursue a degree that would put her in management roles – despite her reluctance at the time.
“As an instructor, I remember him being animated, enthusiastic, and as passionate about broadcasting as anyone I’d ever met,” Watkins said. “As an advisor, I remember him being annoying because he insisted that I pursue a management and sales track along with my journalism courses, and that I minor in business management as a fallback, just in case the ‘on-air’ stuff didn’t work out – a strategy which my 23-year-old wisdom failed to see the value in at the time.”
Hoskins has countless stories about students he worked intimately with to help them graduate college and succeed in the industry. He is most proud of the students who weren’t particularly talented but wanted to succeed badly.
“I can’t tell you how many times over the last 26 years I’ve looked back and thanked God I followed Dr. Hoskins’s advice,” Watkins said.
Hoskins attributes his award to his ability to produce broadcasters who are not only talented, but unpretentious.
“When [stations] hire one of our people, they’ve talked with me and they know what they’re getting,” Hoskins said. “One of the news directors hired probably eight or 10 of our people in the newsroom over a period of a few years and he said, ‘What makes your people special is because your people are humble, they are not haughty, they’re easy to work with, they take instruction, and they don’t think they know it all and they get along with others.'”
He learned this lesson as a young broadcaster who was irritated by the amount of drama that went on in the newsroom.
“When I got to my second station, I noticed how much the new employees were lacking – not in their technical skills or their abilities to cover stories – but I would say probably the biggest thing that hit me was attitude,” Hoskins explained. “And what was a neat, wonderful job – pressure-filled, but rewarding – is tough because of the animosity, the competitiveness of the people that are there. And I thought, you know, this could be a lot of fun if we all just be nice.”
He sees his award and the Emmys won by students and NAU-TV as a sign that the university is on the right track and has what it takes to compete with the larger broadcast programs like the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
“Just because you’re big doesn’t make you good – maybe it’s what you actually do,” Hoskins said. “It’s the quality of what you do. And so I think this [award] kind of confirms the things that we’ve done.” FBN