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Student journalists earn prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for documentary project

Kim Chaudoin | 

Four Lipscomb students and professional-in-residence at Cooperstown

Lipscomb alums Spencer Barnabee, Emma Shanahan, Shawna Mann and Kahwit Tela with professional-in-residence and veteran journalist Demetria Kalodimos (center) at National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York last summer.

The story of an iconic scoreboard has put a team of student journalists from Lipscomb’s School of Communication in the national spotlight. 

“The Grand Ole Guitar," produced by recent Lipscomb graduates Shawna Mann, Spencer Barnabee, Emma Shanahan and Kahwit Tela and guided by professional-in-residence and veteran journalist Demetria Kalodimos, has been selected to receive a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the most esteemed honors in the journalism industry.

Lipscomb is one of only eight institutions nationwide honored this year with a Murrow Award. Among the other institutions recognized in addition to Lipscomb is The Cronkite School at Arizona State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Loyola University New Orleans and the University of Florida.

Murrow medallion

“I am extremely proud of the work that went into this project. This is a testament to the quality of our students, first and foremost, and program,” said Sarah Gibson, chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism, housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “This honor highlights the importance of active relationships between professionals and academics. Demetria Kalodimos is an important member of our program. Her experience, mentorship, guidance, and vision bring a new dimension to our students.” 

“Most of the students involved in this project have graduated and started their careers,” she continued. “I believe this will be an award that they will cherish forever. We look forward to seeing the impact they will have in their respective fields. We look forward to supporting students in future projects and endeavors.”

The Murrow Awards are the embodiment of the values, principles and standards set forth by Edward R. Murrow, a journalism pioneer who set the standards for the highest quality of broadcast journalism. Of the awards given to journalists, the Murrow Awards are among the most respected journalism awards in the world.

“As the name implies the Edward R. Murrow award is a gold standard in journalism. I had every confidence that our students could and would aim high,” said Kalodimos. “This will always be a great reminder of my year as Lipscomb’s professional-in-residence and the promise of this next generation of storytellers. It may be the first national accolade for Herd Media but it certainly won’t be the last.”

Scoreboard at Greer Stadium

The famed guitar-shaped scoreboard at the Nashville Sounds former home at Herschel Greer Stadium.

“The Grand Ole Guitar” is an 18-minute documentary that tells the story of the guitar-shaped scoreboard that was an icon for decades at Greer Stadium, former home of the Triple-A minor league affiliate Nashville Sounds. The stadium opened in 1978 as the home of the Sounds and the scoreboard remained a favorite site at games until the team moved to First Horizon Park in Germantown in 2015. Demolition of Greer Stadium took place in 2019. Chicago-based real estate developer AJ Capital Partners bought the scoreboard in 2019 at auction for $54,815. The company has incorporated the scoreboard into the design of the city’s new Nashville Warehouse Company site, just blocks from its original home.

Mann said the documentary project provided unique opportunities and memorable experiences, including presenting at the 33rd Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York last summer.

“When starting this documentary project my classmates and I never imagined the places it would take us. I felt so honored when we got to present it at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY last year. Now to be awarded a Student Murrow Award is surreal,” said Mann, a May 2023 graduate who is communication coordinator and video content creator at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville. “It truly feels like the perfect dream-come-true ending to what we created together. Even since graduating, my time at Lipscomb still continues to give back. I’m so grateful for that blessing and the doors this honor will open in the future.”

Lipscomb’s School of Communication will be recognized at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala Oct. 9 at Gotham Hall in New York City.