Storytelling Award Recipients

2017 Storytelling Award


Whitney High School
Students: Sarah Murphy and Savannah Hill
Advisor: Ben Barnholdt

Why it Won: Our judges were impressed with the strong writing, editing and reporting in this story from Sarah Murphy and Savannah Hill at Whitney High School in Rockin, CA.  There are wonderful small moments as b-roll and natural sound are allowed to "breathe" throughout the piece.  The creative stand-up at the piano works because both the words and music help set the stage for the sound bite that follows.  Ms. Murphy's strong voiceover, with just the right amount of inflection and professionalism, elevate this feature to award-worthy status.  Judges also appreciated the sound used at the the beginning to draw us in, and the sound pop at the end, which provided the perfect closure to a very impressive story.  

2017 Honor Roll

The following entries (in no particular order) were highly regarded by our judges from across the country, and should be congratulated on their excellence in storytelling.

Trent, Palos Verdes High School
Pride in our Differences, Moanalua High School
Casting for the Future, Moanalua High School
A Bond Beyond Basketball, Blue Valley Southwest

Spring 2016


Spring 2016

"A Home For Larenzo"

Waianae Intermediate School
Students: Amee Neves, Samantha Caldwell, Fabryanna Manumaluena, Jordyn Gerard Watkins-Oka
Advisor: Luane Higuchi
Link to Story:

Why it Won: This story features a strong central character with a clear beginning, middle and end. It features dynamic and well-composed b-roll and makes great use of natural sound. The photographers did a good job taking the audience somewhere they've probably never been and the script flows seamlessly into the nicely constructed sound bites.  Viewers don't learn about his unique situation until nearly midway through the story (save a surprise). The package takes you through Lorenzo's story one beat at a time and aims for the heart.

2016 ASB Honor Roll

For the first time, we are happy to name our finalists in the ASB Storytelling Award contest. The following entries (in no particular order) were highly regarded by our judges from across the country, and should be congratulated on their excellence in storytelling.

Museum of Puppetry ArtsHempfield High School
Loud and Cheer, Maui High School ACOM
Under the Skin, Wolf Byte TV
Fighting for the Force, Wolf Byte TV
Whatever Floats Your Boat, Mustang Morning News
Without Home, Searider Productions
Coach Clarence, CKTV Media Productions
Looming for Hope, Cypress Bay High School
One Country, One Voice, Cypress Bay High School

Spring 2015

"Walter Scott Shooting"

Summerville High School
Students: Betsy Bullock, Cole Lowery, and Isaiah Schmidt
Advisor: A.J. Chambers
Link to Story:

Why it Won: Very effective use of natural sound pops at the beginning to jump start the story and put the viewer into the atmosphere of the piece. Great example of using a stand-up with impact by Ms. Bullock by tying her script into the countdown of the number of gunshots fired. Nice hustle by all involved to get the actual footage of the shooting. The piece was well balanced, using the sound bite from the mayor of North Charleston to present the city’s POV on their handling of the aftermath of the incident. The segment provided context with sound bites from those participating in the protest, and other original footage to combine with the dash-cam video, and other video well-sourced from various entities. It is refreshing to see a high school news team with the courage to tackle a tough, touchy incident with an even hand. Kudos to all involved.

Fall 2014 - High School Division

"ALS Angel"

Maui High School
Students: Zoe Whitney, Sydney Dempsy, Renezel Lagaran
Advisor: Clint Gima
Link to Story:

Why it Won: The crew localized something that had saturated national media.  It would have been easy to do yet another story on the ice bucket challenge, but instead they found a powerful local angle, featuring a memorable character.  Zoe Whitney, Sydney Dempsy, and Renezel Lagaran covered the story with empathy, and gave us a glimpse into the heartbreak of ALS.  Skillful use of photos under powerful soundbites were especially well-done.  They used Bob Dotson’s “hey-you-see-so” method effectively, including the “so” element, letting viewers understand what this disease ultimately means for the family.  They left a strong lasting impression without trying to force an emotional response.  Kudos for resisting the temptation to add background music that was not needed for this powerful piece.  Note:  Judges did point out seeing the father, but never hearing from him, felt like a missed opportunity.  If he was unwilling to talk, it is perfectly fine to report that. 

Fall 2014 - Middle School Division

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"A Different Home"

Waianae Intermediate School
Students: Daniel Akina, LyRissa Dicion, Jayden Kepo'o-Caspino, Janieshalee Wyatt
Advisor: Luane Higuchi
Link to Story:

Why it Won: We meet a character who opens up about prior abuse in her life.  It was a courageous story for her to tell, and for the crew to cover.  We see the main character in several environments.  Use of nat. sound pops from the classroom and on the soccer field are used effectively.  Creative placement of photographs and the book itself added to the overall presentation.  The emotional bite late in the piece was impactful, and made the viewer understand where Momi had been, and how far she's come.  Note:  Judges noted the b-roll of Momi at 1:16 and 1:56 showed her lips moving, but the sound was from separate clip.  This is called "lip flap," and it's just confusing.  Also--at 1:40 students used photos of her new marriage over soundbites about her abusive relationship.

Spring 2014

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"Kendama Craze"

Now Loading News, Moanalua High School
Students: Maurice Berbano, Leah Miyasato, Branden Pascual
Advisor: Austin Zavala
Link to Story:

Why it Won: The sole winner of the Spring ASB Storytelling Award is from Moanalua High School, and it is a feature that touches all the bases.  Layers of information about this "craze" come through loud and clear with natural sound and great visual sequences.  Reporter Leah Miyasato provides a pleasant, informative stand-up and then reports on some surprising aspects of the Kendama craze, including a concern about gambling, and the up-side of getting young people to put down their cell phones and electronic devices for at least a few minutes.  The segment has a clear beginning-middle-end approach, and its tone, including an excellent script, fits the topic perfectly.  It provides an excellent example of how young journalists can cover close-to-home topics that are relevant to their target audience--their classmates and peers.  The ASB judge said, "The shots and technical aspects were nearly flawless." 

Fall 2013 

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"Flags & Guns"

Cypress Bay High School
Student: Jenna Workman
Adviser: Kurt Doster
Click Here to Watch

Why it won: The story a provides a wonderful example of "saving a surprise" for the viewer. The emotional punch provided by the piece is set up by establishing the main character, Laura, and showing her dedication to the flag corp. Natural sound pops and video sequences help get us into Laura's world, and about 45 seconds into the piece, when we thought the flag corp was the main topic, the father's story is woven into the narrative, foreshadowing the story's big scene. That scene is shot extremely well, with important action happening in the foreground and in the background.  We see faces full of emotion as we hear the letter written by the father.  When Laura says, "Life is full of surprises I guess," the viewer is fully prepared for the sequence that follows, which pays off in a big way.  The story utilizes still photos effectively, avoids adding background music, and instead uses nat sound for texture throughout. The producers are to be commended for telling a powerful story with a clear beginning, middle and end. Great stories stay with you long after you first watch them. ASB judges say this one proves that point.

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"What's the Catch?"

Waianae High School
Students: Shayla Ader, Kahunui Foster, Mahealani Nieto-Lopes, Crystal Cebedo
Adviser: John Allen
Click Here to Watch

Why it won: This story puts a local spin on a global fact:  "Over three-quarters of the world's fish stocks are overexploited."  The pristine visuals and creative sequences enhance the storytelling, as do the sounds and little "moments" captured on the beach and on the boat.  Emil and Eileen, who fish recreationally and commercially, respectively, provide insight and passion, lending a human interest angle to what could have been a very dry topic.  The expert is used sparingly, but effectively, and the simple joy of fishing is contrasted with concerns over what will happen to the world's fish stock in the next 30 years.  Each interview provides a clinic in how to locate, frame and shoot soundbites. This piece, say our judges, is a beautiful example of teens tackling a topic made possible by geographic location, and making that story relevant to viewers anywhere.

Spring 2013


"Elijah Henderson"

Blue Valley Northwest, Overland Park, KS
Students: Andrew Swailes, Kaitlyn Styve
Adviser: Kim White
Link to Story:

Why it won: “Elijah Henderson” featured a strong and engaging character in Elijah’s mom who articulately and movingly introduced us to his miracle life. A strong story structure of beginning, middle, and end, in both writing and sequencing. Numerous essential still photos of Elijah’s early life were incorporated with superb use of matching action shots with audio and excellent wide, medium, and tight framing. The most dramatic moment was the jaw-dropping reveal halfway through the story that was triggered with, “The hospital is shaken…” Perfect set-up and timing for a reveal that you never see coming. And it is the moment that Elijah’s story transitions from human interest to one that is impacting the arena of medical protocol, ethics, and decision-making.


"Changing Identity"

Decatur High School, Decatur, GA
Students: Mary Adams, Jordan Dillard
Adviser: Jon Reese
Link to Story:

Why it won: “Changing Identity” superbly models the “In Their Own Words” style of storytelling. Noah, a transgender teen, along with his parents, are masterfully sequenced with exceptional audio and video pacing. The opening sequence grabs your attention as the central character shares his perspective in a relaxed setting with softened lighting. Excellent b-roll is incorporated throughout, including several “WALLDO” shots. The nat sound of crunching leaves, the wind, the dog barking, the toaster, the clink of a knife on a jelly jar, and the wind chimes are balanced with the aptly selected music track. This story emanates and epitomizes courage from both the story sources and the storytellers.


"Coach Olson Suspension"

Mria Coasta High School, Manhattan Beach, CA
Students: Matt Campbell, Robert McMahon
Adviser: Michael Hernandez
Link to Story:

Why it won: What do you do if baseball parents demand the school board dismiss your head baseball coach? Typically, anything involving personnel issues on a campus is impossible to cover or is immediately shot down in a pitch meeting. Fortunately, the best of objective journalism is exemplified in the “Coach Olson Suspension” story. It is balanced, well-written, well-voiced, and it is NEWS. Any discipline of a teacher/coach is sensitive stuff, so kudos to the reporting team for securing the trust of the coach, the principal, and the players to do on-camera interviews. The interviews are well-lit, well-framed, and the audio is clear and balanced. There is a vast abundance of crucial and essential nat sound throughout, including the frequent “crack” and “dink” you expect to hear in a baseball story. And, thankfully, there is no added music telling us how to feel. Also, a reporter stand-up is not missed, because it was simply not needed. Great decision-making. There is excellent b-roll variety with superb framing and wide, medium, tight sequencing, including some terrific “WALLDO” shots. The final edited bites from the principal and the coach provide the perfect conclusion of perspectives going forward and what comes next. Outstanding.

Fall 2012


"Now is the Time"

Free Spirit Media, Chicago, IL
Students: Janell Coleman, Janiela McKinney
Instructor: Alex Miller
Link to Story:

Why it won: “FSM News On the Road: Lookingglass Lab / Now Is the Time” featured a multiple cast of strong and engaging characters who each had articulate and passionate words to covey in telling the story of the Lookingglass Lab theatre program for teens. Strong writing and sound bite sequencing provided effective pacing, creating a comfortable rhythm to the story. The reporter’s mid-story transitional stand-up was relaxed, warm, and effective. There was excellent shot sequencing of wide, medium, and tight along with superb framing, including some ‘WALLDO’ shots, and utilization of the studio and natural lighting available. Crucial nat sound was included and audio levels were balanced throughout. The final bite from Emilio and his description of the impact that art can have truly “wraps a bow” on this outstanding story.


"Crowning Moment"

Blue Valley Southwest, Overland Park, KS
Students: Cassie Johnson, Sam Lemieux, Garrett Becker
Instructor: Steven Cortez
Link to Story:

Why it won: “Crowning Moment” featured two very, very strong characters, Sean’s mom and friend, who were articulate, engaging, and compelling. Through their words, we got to know Sean and learned about his journey.  There was a robust beginning, middle, and end structure supported by strong writing and sequencing. The interviews, along with all of the b-roll, were aptly framed and lighted and there were balanced audio levels throughout.  The memorable moment of Sean’s announcement as “King” was captured with superb lighting, nat sound, and camera work. The huge “payoff” at the end of the story was when we got to see and hear Sean tell us in his own words what being voted “King” meant to him. Priceless.