Host Jeb Berrier, Producer Chris Hanson and Producer/Editor Justin Weihs accepted a Heartland Emmy last Saturday for “News Single Story: Politics and Government” for their coverage last summer of the Democratic National Convention, in Denver.
The Emmy has encouraged the station to raise the bar, and make their stories more creative, but that doesn't mean Plum will be losing its Telluride community focus.
Berrier, Hanson and Weihs traveled to Denver for the awards ceremony, a black-tie, three-course dinner affair. The National Television Academy: Heartland Chapter – which includes various Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming markets – had nominated Plum Telluride in two categories: “News Single Story: Politics and Government” and “Overall Station Excellence.” Though Hanson says he tried not to get his hopes up, it was still gratifying to receive the award for the former.
“It felt good,” Hanson says. “It's not easy getting that far along. I knew we shouldn't take for granted that we got nominated.”
The coverage of the Democratic National Convention was just one of numerous stories Plum Telluride submitted for Emmy consideration, including Mountainfilm and Telluride Film Festival segments. Hanson added that he doesn't know exactly why the story was selected for the Emmy, but that the segment was “thorough” and “fun to watch.
“There was a huge sense of hope that weekend,” he says. “We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The piece has a sense of that energy and a sense of humor.”
The convention's coverage was an anomaly for Plum Telluride, which usually sticks to local news, but Hanson and Berrier pushed to attend the event because it was being held in Denver. That is why Plum didn't also cover the Republican National Convention in Minnesota; it was the event's proximity to Telluride that made it relevant for the station. Furthermore, this award does not mean that the station plans to make a permanent switch to national hard news; Hanson says the station's role is still in covering Telluride's “arts and culture.”
Rather, the award has inspired Plum Telluride to look for more creative ways to present annual topics, like festivals, the Fourth of July and the KOTO Duck Race, the coverage of which, Hanson says, has not varied greatly in the past couple of years, but might be revamped in the future.
“It brings up the issue of whether we need to cover it again,” Hanson adds. “It's a staff-wide initiative to make the coverage in Telluride more creative.”
Along with keeping coverage unique, Plum Telluride plans to keep submitting stories for Heartland Emmy consideration, while possibly being more “strategic” in choosing possible categories. But even if they don't get another Emmy, Hanson says the station is happy with this one.
“It's had a great effect on station morale,” he says. “Winning the Emmy validated all the hard work we're doing here.”
To see Plum Telluride's Democratic National Convention coverage, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.plumtv.com/videos/2008-democratic-national-convention-highlights"http://www.plumtv.com/videos/2008-democratic-national-convention-highlights.