Three students in the BYU broadcasting program have recently earned a national award known as the Gracie Award.
The Gracie Award is a national award presented by Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and recognizes the efforts of women in media. Journalism students who produce exceptional written and broadcasting features will have opportunities to be considered for national journalism awards.
The recipients of the Gracie Award include Lydia Defranchi, who received the Outstanding Hard News Feature award for her story on women nursing on the job; Alexis Flake, who received the Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent award; and Taylor Lansford, who received the Outstanding Host-Sports Program award.
Chad Curtis, the news director for ElevenNEWS, recognized the prestige of the award and encouraged his students to work hard to be considered for the award.
“Because this is a national competition, it shows that BYU students in the broadcast program are talented and strongly qualified to compete at this level,” Curtis said.
Curtis then explained that this isn’t the first time female students at BYU have been awarded with this prestigious award.
“We have been greatly honored by the Alliance for many years, and their judges report how impressive our journalism students are,” Curtis said.
Flake, the recipient of the Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent Gracie Award, didn’t get her hopes up when first applying for the award.
“This Gracie award was the one award I applied for thinking, ‘This is definitely a long shot,’ so I am still shocked and honored to receive it,” Flake said
Through her experience anchoring at different news organizations, Flake was able to qualify for the Gracie Award.
Flake has been an anchor, reporter and producer for KBYU, and a reporter for BYUtv. She has also traveled to Denver to report on the presidential debates and interned for ABC’s Good Morning America in Washington D.C.
Defranchi, who is a recent BYU graduate, found out that she won a Gracie Award for her story on the obstacles working women face while nursing on the job.
“I had been really involved in women’s issues, especially my last year of school, and (I) started running into the issues surrounding breastfeeding,” Defranchi said.
Defranchi felt that due to the stigma surrounding women breastfeeding at work it would be a compelling story to report on.
“Combining that with the stress of returning to work or being forced to return to work because family finances are in bad shape makes for very difficult breastfeeding experiences,” Defranchi said.
Defranchi is currently pursuing a career in broadcast journalism working as a news anchor for KCWY News 13, a news station located in Mills, Wyoming.
“I had some wonderful experiences in the broadcast department,” Defranchi said. “I knew from the start of the program that I loved reporting, and (the) experience I had in broadcasting reinforced that.”
Taylor Lansford, who is a current sports anchor for ElevenNEWS, found out through Curtis that she had won a Gracie Award.
“I was completely shocked,” Lansford said. “I didn’t know when the results were supposed to be announced, so I had no idea Brother Curtis was going to tell me I won when I called him. I remember saying a few times, ‘Are you serious?'”
Lansford has been given the chance to work with different professionals in broadcasting. She has been trained by people who worked in ESPN and met a woman who worked for NBC Sports. She also had the opportunity to intern for FOX News in Dallas, Texas.
“Being a reporter, I have been able to talk to so many people through interviews,” Lansford said. “I love being able to talk to people and hearing their stories. In broadcast you never know who you are going to meet; every day is new, and that is what I love.”