Students create a WSU broadcast.Winona State University KQAL radio station and mass communication students took home regional journalism awards at this year’s Midwest Journalism Conference held in Minneapolis at the end of March.

KQAL won six Eric Sevareid awards, named for the North Dakota-born and University of Minnesota-educated journalist best known for his work for CBS radio and television. The Northwest Broadcast News Association (NBNA) sponsors the awards.

KQAL’s Legacy Programming brought home five awards for Talk & Public Affairs. In the Student Category, Bill Stoneberg won First Place for “The Live Feed Presents The Winterlings” and an Award of Merit for Culture Clique: “Sheik Odeh Muhawesh on Jihad.” KQAL’s Art Beat with Brianna Klapperich won an Award of Merit for “The Art of Andrew Chulyk.” Steve Carley and Kyle Baker earned an Award of Merit for play-by-play coverage of Warrior Athletics on KQAL.

In the Small Market category (professional radio) KQAL won First Place in Talk & Public Affairs for Art Beat: “Joe Chvala and The Flying Foot Forum” and an Award of Merit for Culture Clique: “Esera Tuaolo – My Life As A Gay Man in The NFL,” both by Teri Tenseth Market.

KQAL General Manager Doug Westerman said, “These awards demonstrate the diversity and depth of our team at KQAL. Steve and Kyle made marked improvement as young broadcasters. Teri, Bill and Brianna’s work demonstrates their passion for KQAL’s Legacy programming. This programming truly enhances our community and brings our listeners unique and unduplicated shows. It’s a true testament to Teri and her crews’ time and commitment.”

News 24, the university’s cable station, was also recognized for awards of merit in the student division.

Broadcast senior Stephen Rydberg won an award in the Broadcast Writing category for writing and producing “Texting While Driving,” a television news story on the dangers of texting while driving. He will graduate in May and has already been working in the industry for nearly a year as a weekend producer at WXOW, in La Crosse, Wis.

In the Documentary/Special category, broadcast student Amanda Rehrauer and members of the National Broadcast Society received an award for their collaboration, “Austin Melville: Life Interrupted.” This documentary was in honor of Austin Melville, a 2010 WSU graduate who was killed by a drunk driver shortly after graduating. The 30-minute documentary consisted of interviews with Melville’s friends, family members and classmates. Students also examined drunken driving in Minnesota, new laws and prosecution of DWI cases. 

Student David Ferber and Ben Chambers received an award in the Talk/Public Affairs category for “Art Collection.” This public affairs show featured Winona couple Bob Kierlin and Mary Burrichter’s passion for the arts. The couple’s collection of maritime-themed art is often on display at the Minnesota: Marine Art Museum in Winona. Chambers is currently a producer at KTTC in Rochester, Minn., and Ferber will graduate this May.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to be judged against some of the best student journalism work in the region,” said WSU Mass Communication Professor Robin O’Callaghan. “We have come home with more than a dozen awards in the last three years. I am so proud of our students and their work. The Eric Sevareid Awards are recognized by the journalism industry and hiring managers as a very prestigious award. Nearly 120 student entries were submitted for this year’s awards. Winona State students took home several top honors.”

The Eric Sevareid awards are given to the best journalism work in student, small, medium and large markets in a six-state region on radio, television and online. The region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

For more information, email Robin O’Callaghan at or Doug Westerman at


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