USI Communication and Media programs receive top accolades


The University of Southern Indiana Communication and Media Department continues to earn high regard across its programs, adding new awards to its long list of achievements this April.  

USI’s Radio Television (RTV) Program has again received top marks from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA). According the 2024 BEA rankings, which include over 300 schools from around the globe, USI’s RTV Program moved from eighth to fourth in the nation for Winning Audio Programs and is now recognized by BEA as one of the top 25 Overall Winning Programs in the country. The rankings are based on data from the last five years. See the full 2024 rankings

“Students in the Communication and Media Department have always put the time and effort into developing their professional abilities,” says Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, Chair of the Communication and Media Department. “They have had the advantage of having faculty members with industry experience and knowledge, and that mentoring, in combination with the hands-on experience they get the day they roll into our department, means exceptional work.”    

Indiana Society of Professional Journalists 

Four RTV students won awards in the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists (ISPJ) “Best in Indiana” Awards. Those students included: 

  • First Place – Cole Barnett for the Student Radio Beat Newscast Category on 95.7 The Spin 
  • Second Place – Mailee Toennies in the Student Radio Beat Newscast Category for the 95.7 The Spin Morning Newscast  
  • First Place – Isaac Heldt in the Student Radio Sports Reporting Category for the 95.7 The Spin USI Men’s Golf Invitational Preview 
  • Second Place – Matthew Kolb in the Student Radio Sports Reporting Category for the 95.7 The Spin November 17 Sportscast 

Indiana Collegiate Press Association 

USI Communication and Media students also earned top awards from the Indiana Collegiate Press Association (ICPA). The Shield, USI’s editorially independent student news outlet, received top honors for USI’s e-newsletter, Shield Source, best for Entertainment Column/Review Online and best overall design for its literary journal, FishHook.  

  • First place in the Email Newsletter Category went to the Shield Source e-newsletter   
  • First place in the Entertainment Column/Review Online Category went to Ian Young of The Shield for “The Last of Us Part II” 
  • First place in the Literary Magazine of the Year: Overall Design Category went to Kyla Schlink, Staff of FishHook, for Issue 12 

“I am very proud of the staff achievements in this open category, because we were up against every other school that entered, regardless of size. Our first-place finish for our e-newsletter was especially rewarding, as second and third in that category went to IU and Purdue.” says Dr. Phil Todd, Student Publications Advisor. 

Previously this year, Communication and Media was the recipient of additional awards, including this year receiving its first ever Best of Festival Award for the radio drama “Alice in Wonderland Reimagined.” In March, students brought home six awards from the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters (IASB).