COLLEGE PARK (5/13/20) — University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students Alicia Cherem ’19, Heather Kim ’20 and Cameron Doney ’20 have won national 2020 Gracie Awards for projects published by the college’s ViewFinder visual storytelling team and Capital News Service.
The Gracies, awarded by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. They also acknowledge the individuals who have made inspirational contributions to the industry.
Cherem and Kim won the TV student award for best documentary, for their ViewFinder project, “Daily Crisis Farm,” about a small dairy farm having difficulty staying afloat.
“Alicia and Heather were really dedicated in their reporting to tell this story of struggles on small dairy farms and the impact on mental health for those involved in this way of life,” said Lecturer Bethany Swain, who leads ViewFinder.
Doney won the TV student award for best soft news feature, for “Maryland teen runs her own nonprofit Adaptive Style,” which was published by CNS’ Maryland Newsline. The story is about Leah Howard, a 14-year-old from Pikesville, Maryland, whose nonprofit designs clothes for people with disabilities.
“I started my career in journalism because I wanted to share stories that inspire change,” Doney said. “Leah Howard’s ambition, selflessness, positive attitude and perseverance is something that we can all learn from. Her commitment to create change through her nonprofit is a commendable accomplishment, and the fact that she is only 14 makes it even more impressive.
“Despite struggling with her own health challenges, she dedicates her time and energy into making others feel beautiful, and I am honored to share her story.”
Mel Coffee, director of the CNS Broadcast Bureau, said Doney knew this story had far-reaching potential to engage viewers and have a positive impact.
“The collective sigh in the studio when this story aired is evidence of that,” Coffee said. “It is a well-told story at a time we crave something more positive that reflects evidence of who we are.”