Mass Comm Students Win Coveted Telly Award

TAMPA, Fla. (March 6, 2009) – Beer has been known to get college students in trouble but this time around at the University of South Florida, beer led the way to a first-ever Telly Award.  For a class from the School of Mass Communications this meant beating out thousands of entries from established media outlets and businesses. 


“An Ale of a Tale” won in the documentary category, the first time students at USF have won the coveted award from The Silver Council judges who analyze entries based on  how they measure up “against a high standard of excellence” rather than each other.


“I am very excited and very proud of my students,” said Kristin Arnold Ruyle, who teaches a course in electronic field producing and requires a single-camera documentary project as a class project.  “It was a lot of work and the result is a documentary that is a lot of fun.”


“An Ale of a Tale” tells the history of beer and focuses on Yuengling Brewery in Tampa and Dunedin Brewery in Dunedin, Florida, as well as how to pair different kinds of beers with a variety of foods.


The documentary qualified for broadcast on WUSF and Arnold Ruyle intends to show it to her upcoming classes as an example of the quality they should aim for in their own work.  She singled out senior producer Tara Sustr for special mention.


“She did an outstanding job as the team leader of a class made up of juniors and seniors, and together they really outdid themselves,” Arnold Ruyle said.  “And given the level of competition, this is all the more impressive.  WUSF has won Tellys as have ESPN, NASA, PBS,  Warner Brothers.  I could go on and on.”


When the students found out about their win, they surprised Arnold Ruyle by decorating her USF office door, covering it with wrapping paper and greeting cards. 


According to the organization’s Web site, “Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online film and video.  The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, interactive agencies, and corporate video departments in the world.  The Telly Awards receives over 13,000 entries annually from all 50 states and countries around the world.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.