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J-School students recognized as National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences scholarship winners

Monday, November 9, 2015

Last month, Cailey Taylor got an opportunity that very few college students even dream about: She walked the red carpet at an EMMY gala.

Taylor and fellow KU School of Journalism student Harrison Drake were invited to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Oct. 3 gala in St. Louis because they were chosen as scholarship winners from the NATAS Mid-America chapter.

Drake didn’t attend the gala because he was working – he already landed a full-time job as a reporter at KSNT in Topeka, an entire semester before his graduation in December.

Only four scholarship winners were chosen from the NATAS Mid-America region, and Chris Bacon, KUJH adviser, was proud and excited when he heard that two of the four winners were from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. “You think about four students being chosen from that large of a region with that many good journalism programs, and we received two out of the four — that says a lot.”

The Mid-America chapter includes television markets primarily in Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois and the surrounding metropolitan areas.

Taylor is double majoring in journalism and political science. She will graduate in May 2016. Drake is majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in film and media studies.

Both students were initially hesitant about entering the competition but with some encouragement from their KUJH advisers, they submitted two recommendations, transcripts, resume and work samples.

“It was a nice compliment,” Drake said. “I am very happy about it. It is definitely going to help with finances. It’s nice to know that some people like your stuff.”

Bacon said the prestigious scholarships recognize the students’ talent and work ethic. “You have to be out there working at it on a consistent basis, and that’s what Cailey and Harrison have done. They have worked, and now they are reaping the benefits of all the hard work they have been doing,” Bacon said.

Taylor’s plans for the future include working for a television station to get experience working as a morning or day producer. She would ultimately like to be executive producer of her own show.

“I remember watching the morning news with my mom, like FOX 4, and watching them talk and I think that would be fun to produce,” Taylor said.

At the gala, Taylor got a chance to meet one of the journalists she grew up watching, John Holt from FOX 4, who also a KU J-School graduate. Taylor was also the recipient of the John and Suzy Holt Journalism Scholarship last semester.

Taylor was thrilled to meet directors, producers and anchors at the gala and get their college and career advice.

“It was a really good networking opportunity for me. I got some people’s emails and I got to see people I grew up watching. I built my network a little more while building what I wanted to finish my last year with.”

Drake said the opportunities he received at KU gave him the chance to win the prestigious NATAS scholarship and was a big reason he was able to start his full-time career a few months before graduation. 

“It’s really the experience I got from being in the J-School that helped me get the job,” Drake said.

Watch a KSNT story by Harrison Drake here.

Julie Adam

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