Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2017

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TV show produced by UNLV students wins Emmy Award

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Josh Hawkins / UNLV Creative Services

UNLV student Shakeria Hawkins anchors an episode of the Rebel Report, a weekly sports and entertainment news show produced by the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies.

Emmy Awards are often the shining point of a career for those in broadcast media. A group of UNLV journalism students netted the prestigious award for work they conducted before graduating college.

The 30-minute weekly sports and entertainment show, “The Rebel Report”, created and produced by students and faculty at the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies, was recently picked for the Emmy award in the student programming category by the Pacific Southwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The show was started in 2016 by Jon Castagnino, local reporter and UNLV instructor, to cover local sports happenings from the student level.

The winning episode, which aired April 14, 2016, included the opening of the T-Mobile Arena, where the Killers were handed the key to the city; coverage of Big League weekend at Cashman Field, where players from Major League Baseball were interviewed; the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley fight week; and an interview with UNLV head football coach, Tony Sanchez.

Cassie Soto, a UNLV graduate who co-anchored the winning episode, credited the unique sporting landscape the area has to offer for playing a role in their show’s success.

“I really got the opportunity to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing, in college, in the sports mecca of the world,” Soto said. “The sporting events that come through Las Vegas are so unique and the fact that college students get the chance to rub shoulders with professional media members, it’s truly unlike anything else.”

Although Soto wasn’t able to watch to the awards ceremony on June 24, as she transitioning to a new job in Colorado, she was still able to share in the excitement of the win as her friend facetimed her as the winners were announced.

“I was in the drive-thru lane of Taco Bell when I found out and I think I scared the employee, but after I told him what happened he congratulated me,” she said. “Needless to say, that was one of the best bean and cheese burritos I’ve ever had.”

Soto, who now serves as host for the Mountain West Network, credits Castagnino requiring students to cycle through each position on the show playing a part in her landing her new gig.

“Being comfortable with being uncomfortable would be the best way to describe it,” she said. “I gained so much knowledge, both in the studio and in the production booth in my year and a half with the Rebel Report, that it definitely paid off in the end.”

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