27 professors, lecturers and alumni of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism received nominations for the 2016 News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
These awards recognize achievements in broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking, with categories ranging from documentaries to investigative journalism. Many of the nominations are for documentaries that revealed problems in vulnerable communities.
“This is one of those moments when there’s been a confluence of exceptionally good work all recognized at the same time,” said Edward Wasserman, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Wasserman said the journalism school focuses on training students in technical skills and encouraging them to pursue impactful projects.
Campus journalism school alumni Daffodil Altan and Sasha Khokha and alumnus and lecturer Andrés Cediel each received two nominations for “Rape on the Night Shift,” their documentary about the sexual assaults of female night janitors.
Altan said that working with other alumni of the school of journalism “added another layer of trust” when reporting on a complex story with few accessible sources of information.
“Sexual assault victims don’t tend to talk openly or show their faces,” Altan said. “More than half of janitors work for tiny companies, and it’s very difficult to hold those companies accountable.”
Since the release of the documentary, the lead janitor’s union has taken on sexual violence as a major issue. After watching the documentary, a California lawmaker drafted a bill specifically to prevent this kind of assault.
Altan added that she is honored to be nominated for an Emmy.
“What the Emmy is about is recognizing that the work all of these journalists are doing is important and has impact,” Altan said.
Five campus journalism school professors and four lecturers received nominations, including professor Orlando Bagwell, for the HBO Documentary “3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets,” about the shooting of a Black teenager by a white man, and former professor Paul Grabowicz, nominated posthumously for his role in “Wiped, Flashed, and Rekitted, The International Black Market of Stolen Cell Phones.”
Journalism school alumnus and lecturer Dan Krauss said his nomination is “a tribute to all the faculty at the journalism school who raised me as a storyteller.”
Krauss’ Documentary, “The Kill Team” focuses on a soldier in Afghanistan who tried to blow the whistle on extrajudicial killings before being implicated himself. For the project, Krauss positioned himself within the defense team of the soldier and spoke with members of the military involved in these killings.
“It is a time for the people of the United States and global citizens to reflect on… the price paid not only in blood and treasure but in terms of our collective morality,” Krauss said, adding that he hopes his documentary will form part of a national conversation.
Alissa Figueroa, a journalism school alumna whose documentary “Prison Kids: A Crime Against America’s Children” was nominated, said that the technical components of her education at the School of Journalism, as well as the emphasis on social issues, contributed to her success in the field.
Figueroa travelled around the country to interview children in prison and their families in order to shed light on what goes on behind bars.
“When someone’s in prison they’re hidden away,” Figueroa said. “Not a lot of people sit and talk with them and ask them their opinion of the system.”
Figueroa hopes that her documentary will reveal the impact of race and mental health on childhood incarceration.
The awards will be presented in September.