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Story by Eric Schucht 

Three UO School of Journalism and Communication student projects submitted to the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) were nominated for 2017 College Awards for Excellence — a.k.a. the “College Emmys.” One of the projects, “Looking Back, Moving Forward: The Northern Spotted Owl Story,” produced, directed, and edited by SOJC student Christian Hartwell, won in the Short Form Non-Fiction category.

“I was just happy to be nominated,” said Hartwell.

Hartwell produced the piece for his J421 Documentary Production class, taught by Associate Professor Daniel Miller, who encouraged Hartwell to submit it. The documentary focuses on the northern spotted owl, which is listed as “near threatened” with a decreasing population by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

SOJC student Noah Hoffman acted as director of photography for the project, and student Euell Macke was the sound designer and assistant editor.

Nature’s Schoolhouse,” another project produced for the same class, was nominated in the Long Form Non-Fiction category. Directed by SOJC student Nicolas Walcott and shot and edited by Rachele Costantini, the piece took viewers through a week at a Salem outdoor school site. The director of photography was Bridgette Haynes, and the piece was produced by Gus McTigue, who said the experience has pushed him to look for similar projects he can fall in love with.

“It feels good to be nominated for something and know that your work is being appreciated,” McTigue said.

Also nominated in the Short Form Non-Fiction category was “’Death with Dignity’ Supporter Bruce Yelle,” a student project produced for Assistant Professor Ed Madison’s J432 reporting for electronic media class.

The video, produced by SOJC students Jake Sandor and Ben White, documented the story of Bruce Yelle, a Parkinson’s patient who relocated to Florence, Oregon, to take advantage of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. All student videos produced for the class were aired in a program block on OPB titled “NW Stories.

For his documentary on the northern spotted owl, Hartwell attended the award ceremony in Seattle on June 2. He believes what helped his story stand out was the way it embodied what the Northwest means to him.

“I think [it won] because it’s an Oregon story. It’s broader than that, it’s a Northwest story. You can’t say northern spotted owl without starting a debate,” Hartwell said.

Eric Schucht is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the SOJC as well as a minor in multimedia and a certificate in film studies. He has worked for the Daily Emerald as a research and sustainability reporter, columnist and videographer. His focus is on electronic media and web-based reporting.