Rachel Wittel Places in Top 10 in Hearst Television Broadcast Features

Her Story Was Selected from a Record 109 Entrants from 63 Schools

Columbia, Mo. (Jan. 15, 2016) — Rachel Wittel, BJ ’15, earned eighth place and a certificate of merit in the television broadcast features category in the 2015-16 Hearst Journalism Awards Program. There were a record 109 entrants from 63 schools submitted.

Rachel Wittel, BJ '15
Rachel Wittel, BJ ’15

Wittel produced the work while a radio-television journalism student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She graduated in May 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and German. Wittel now works for WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, as a multimedia journalist.

Her Hearst entry included two KOMU Target 8 investigations. Wittel provides background information about each story.

Records Show Teachers, Students Cheating the MAP Test System
“The month I worked on discovering irregularities in area-standardized MAP testing, my head was buried in documents from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There were small discrepancies like students working past the allotted test time. The majority of standout issues involved teachers improperly helping students. Through records and talks with DESE, I showed that teachers felt pressure to perform. I worked to show how DESE and individual schools were teaming up to stop this from happening.”

Records Show Stations Could Shortchange You at the Pump
“I searched through hundreds of records for this story to show how gas stations in Boone and Callaway counties fared in fuel inspections. I found out that Missouri conducts some of the most thorough – twice a year – inspections in the nation. I also rode along with an inspector who showed me how he makes sure customers get the fuel they’re paying for. I included elements of sound pops to keep viewers engaged and felt great pride in finding a customer shortchanged at the pump. Luckily for him and me, he got his money back the day he faced problems. I could provide a happy ending for viewers and fuel inspectors.”

The judges, all broadcast professionals, are: Marci Burdick, senior vice president of Broadcasting, Schurz Communications Inc., Michawaka, Indiana; Harvey Nagler, vice president, radio, CBS News, New York; and Fred Young, retired senior vice president of news, Hearst Television Inc., Yardley, Pennsylvania.

The 56th annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program is held in 108 member universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs.

Updated: September 14, 2020

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