Western Illinois University 2017 broadcasting graduate Emily Manley, a 2013 Highland High School grad, received two prestigious Crystal Pillar awards — or student Emmy awards — from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the 41st Mid-America Emmy gala in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Manley and her broadcasting alumni partners of Megan Sanchez of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Dan White of La Grange Highlands, Ill., won for outstanding newscast for their work on the student-produced newscast, NEWS3 “Live at 4” on Nov. 17, 2016. The 30-minute live production contained live reports from Canton, Ill., one day after a major gas explosion downtown. Manley worked as the producer and reporter in Canton. Sanchez served as producer, and White directed the production.
Manley also won for outstanding general assignment reporting in serious news. Sanchez also won for outstanding general assignment reporting in light news. Additionally, videographers/editors Ryan Garity of Crystal Lake, Ill., and junior broadcasting major Emily Kenney of Farmington, Ill., are named in the award.
The purpose of the Mid-America Student Awards competition is to recognize outstanding student achievements in television production. Students compete in the Mid-America region which includes television markets primarily in Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.
Manley admitted that four years ago, before she started undergraduate school at Western Illinois University, she never would have thought something like that was possible.
“I came to WIU with no previous knowledge of broadcasting,” she said. “Four years of learning the field and friends and professors who have become like family to me help make this possible. The opportunities I’ve had, the leadership they have offered me and the trust they gave me. The department is why I’m this successful. I’m also so thankful for my family and friends who have been there along the journey. Also, my faith has been a big help, too. I’m beyond blessed.”
Manley, Sanchez and White submitted for the awards contest in the spring, and the winners were announced on May 9. Manley said her news director called her up to the front of the class during an exam.
“She said my name kinda like she was upset with me, so I was nervous,” Manley admitted. “When I got up there, she had the names on her computer screen. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. I instantly stepped out of the room to call my mom. I just had to.”
Manley graduated the same week they got the news about being nominated so graduation was an even more exciting time.
After graduation, she got to look forward to a “new” job at KMOV, where she interned during the summer of 2016. After her internship, she was offered a producer job. Manley started the job the week after graduation. She produced the noon show, as well as other shows when needed. She also helped out on the assignment desk and the news desk on the weekends.
But when her boss hired her, he knew she was headed to grad school. Manley was accepted into the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield, a tough program to get into.
After working all summer for KMOV, Manley moved to Springfield to start grad school at the end of August. She will remain there until she graduates at the end of May 2018.
While at the Emmys, there were also many KMOV reporters and producers and photographers there, who had also been nominated for awards.
“As I was on stage accepting my award and the newscast award with Megan (Sanchez), Emily (Kenney), and Ryan (Garity), the News 4 team was cheering and yelling my name, putting a big smile on my face,” Manley said.