Student journalist Kelly Dean receives CMA award for excellence

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Senior Kelly Dean has received the Country Music Association’s highly-regarded CMA Close Up Award of Merit for her achievements in journalism.

CMA_Kelly Dean
Lipscomb senior Kelly Dean and Caitlin Harris receive the CMA Close Up Award of Merit during the backstage press conference at "The 47th Annual CMA Awards" Nov. 4. From left to right are Bob Doerschuk, CMA Close Up editor; Dean; Christian Bottorff, CMA manager of creative services; and Harris.
Photo: Caitlin Selle / CMA

Dean was one of two students honored for demonstrating “creativity, dedication, and promise in covering the CMA Music Festival on assignment from CMA,” according to a press release issued by the CMA.

Dean received her commemorative medallion during backstage press conference coverage of “The 47th Annual CMA Awards” Wednesday, Nov. 4, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Candidates for the awards were chosen based on recommendations from department heads in journalism, photography and equivalent programs at several universities and colleges throughout the country. The final team of five reporters, under direction of CMA Close Up Editor Bob Doerschuk, and four photographers, supervised by CMA Director of Creative Services Amanda Eckard and CMA Manager of Creative Services Christian Bottorff, covered all aspects of the 2013 CMA Music Festival. Their articles and photos were posted daily during the festival and have been archived at

Dean, 22, was born near Chicago, Ill., and came to Nashville to major in communication: journalism/new media at Lipscomb University. She was part of the Lumination team that won the Southeast Journalism Conference’s Best of the South Awards in 2011, which included third place in “Best Video News” and first place as “Best College TV Station.”

 “I didn’t expect to win the CMA Close Up Award of Merit at all,” Dean said. “I had to read my name four times on the email message for it to register! But this will definitely be a big help on my resumé because I have such a passion for Country Music and I’d love to do something that incorporates music and entertainment with TV after I graduate.”

Dean’s work impressed CMA executives.

“Kelly brought discipline and initiative to her work during all four days of CMA Music Fest,” said Doerschuk. “Her writing experience as well has her on-air broadcasting and broadcast production served her well in finding the essence of each assignment and connecting with the people for ‘fan-on-the-street’ interviews. Plus, she pitched some great ideas. Clearly, her future in this industry is strong, and her Award of Merit is very well deserved.”

Examples of Dean’s on-camera work can be seen at