Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards honor excellence in media

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A beautifully filmed documentary featuring the 4,000-acre Schiefelbein beef farm in Kimball, Minnesota won top honors at the 2010 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards, held Saturday at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. 

Schiefelbein Farms earned the gold statute for producer and writer Whitney Thielman and videographer /editor Jon Otte in the Student Production category of Single Story/Feature.

The St. Cloud State University students beat out several other nominees in the division. “We are pretty excited,” said Thielman at the Emmy pre-show event at Seven restaurant. “We were all happy because we put a lot of work in it. The Schiefelbeins are friends of mine and I wanted to do something cool to recognize the farms of Minnesota.”

Thielman and her crew brought in camera dollies and other film equipment to the farm. “We made sure we got the best angles and interviews possible. We wanted to submit it for awards,” she said. Thielman, a senior at St. Cloud majoring in Television Production, said she plans on heading to Chicago or New York City after graduation.

The Midwest Regional Emmys used to include the city of Chicago, but seceded to form the separate Upper Midwest chapter eleven years ago, said KARE 11 reporter and seven-time Emmy winner Allen Costantini at the post-party. “Chicago would get so mad at us, because Minnesota would bring home all the Emmys,” he said. The Upper Midwest media organizations are from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and western Wisconsin.

Entries made to the Upper Midwest Chapter were judged by panels assembled by other National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chapters.

Standing Ovations and Evening Highlights


Photos by Jeff Rutherford

Eric Perkins (above) of KARE 11 television was the night’s master of ceremonies. Perkins, who told the audience he was “doing a no tie deal,” said there were 757 entries, 383 selected as nominees, and 130 Emmy statues awarded.

In the new Emmy category “Military,” the Minnesota National Guard’s The Red Bull Report was a 2010 nominee in the Program/Special/Series category. The Report is a series of weekly, two-minute videos produced by the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and broadcast to 14,000 military personnel, said  Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, Director of Public Affairs. The videos are produced from south Iraq and feature various topics like Week 36’s edition “Iraqis get a handle on danger, [Camp] Basra lets the dogs out, and the 34th says farewell.”

Dressed in their military best, members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division attended the Emmy ceremony, including newly appointed Adjutant General Richard Nash. Nash, whose appointed term begins November 1, told me he just returned from Iraq.

The audience gave all the military Emmy nominees a standing ovation. In the end, the gold statue went to a KSTP-produced investigative report by Mark Albert titled “Who Killed Doc,” a story about the 2004 death of St. Paul native Navy Petty Officer David Cedergren in the showers at Camp Iskandariyah, Iraq.

In the Military category of Single Story/Feature, The Emmy went to the Star Tribune’s “Living Outside the Green Zone,” a multimedia video produced by McKenna Ewen and reported by Mark Brunswick that describes Andover native Staff Sgt. Ryan Hallberg’s injuries from a roadside bomb near Fallujah, Iraq.

In a departure from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Awards, the Midwest Emmy recipients did not present live acceptance speeches. Instead, clips of their winning media were shown to the audience and winners were interviewed backstage, filmed for clips to be posted online.

The Magazine Program category is a favorite with Emmy judges, and half the entries were in this group. A story produced by Ken Shellan, “The Minneapolis Institute of Arts: the Enduring Mystery of Paul Gauguin” was the winner in the Feature division. “On the Road with Jason Davis” won in the Special Magazine Program category.

To signify the trend of multimedia journalism, or the “backpack journalist,” two new Emmy categories emerged this year in Interactivity and Multimedia Compilation. The winners were “Minnesota Stories” by Star Tribune’s Richard Tsong-Taatarii and “Rubbed Out,” the interactive story on the 1945 murder of Minneapolis newspaper publisher Arthur Kasherman produced by McKenna Ewan and reported by Eli Shiffer.

The sports category nominees jumped 25% this year, with 40 nominees. The Feature/Human Interest Stories category received a record number of 53 nominations, and half of those came from local cable television shows. 40 entries were nominated in the Health/Science/Environmental category.

Community/Cable/Public Access received nominations in several categories such as Edited Program/News (“Logged In: The Social Media Sensation” by Cable 12 News-Northwest Television), Newscast: Live or Live-to-Tape (“12 News” Northwest Community Television) and Newscast Edited (“CRI Weekly News” by Communications Research Institute).

The Community/Cable/Public Access also included a Government/Military category with the winner “Radiant Remodel” by Coon Rapid’s CTN Studios.

KARE 11’s Boyd Huppert won for On-Camera Talent-Reporter, General Assignment. The Sports Anchor Emmy went to KSTP’s Phil Aldridge, while the News Anchor Emmy went to WCCO’s Don Shelby. Shelby received a standing ovation when he accepted his award for “Good to Know” in the Editorial/Commentator category and delivered a short message to the audience.

You didn’t have to be in the big television markets to pull in the Emmy’s, however. The winner of the most statues went to KMSP/WFTC TV for productions ranging from Director Short Form (Chad Gilmour) to public service announcements (“No Channel Left Behind”).

Weather, of importance to many in the Midwest, also factored in the Awards with their own categories (Weathercast winner Jay Trobec, Chief Meteorologist at Sioux Fall’s KELO-TV) and segment wins (Twin Cities Public Television’s “Minnesota’s Deadliest Tornadoes” in the Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic category).

A heartwarming tribute was given to WCCO television reporter Darcy Pohland, who passed away this year. Confined to a wheelchair as the result of a diving accident, Pohland’s arms were in steel braces and she typed her news stories one key at a time using a little wooden stick. She was inducted into the Silver Circle, along with John Campbell of Cedar Rapids’ KCRG-TV9 and Michelle Lee of KDLH 3 in Duluth.

The recently let-go KARE 11 reporter Scott Goldberg won an Emmy for his Single Story titled “Holocaust Survivors: My Grandparents and Their Legacy” in the Historical/Cultural/Nostalgic category.

The Directors category was expanded to eight awards this year, as some directors handle an entire news show. The Director for Newscast Emmy went to Megan Osborn for News Channel 8 at 10, KCCI-TV, Des Moines.

The Governor’s Award went to the Lakeville Government Television, Lewis House, and the Lakeville Police Department, who have been working together for 30 years on domestic violence.

The complete list of winners is here.

(Above) Don Shelby of WCCO was honored with two Emmys at the Midwest Regional Emmy Night Saturday. He sat in the “best seat in the house” at the Pantages Theater.

(Above) Emmy winners in the Student Production category of Single Story/Feature for “Schiefelbein Farms” are St. Cloud State University students Whitney Thielman (left), Jon Otte, and Joe Mackedenz.

(Above) Members of the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were nominated in the new Emmy category of Military for The Red Bull Report series of weekly videos broadcast to 14,000 military personnel. From left are Richard Kemp, Kevin Olson, Richard Nash, John Morris, and John Angelo.

(Above) The Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis was the setting for the Midwest Regional Emmys Saturday night.

(Above) Mark Rosen, WCCO Television’s sports director, anchor, and reporter at the Emmy pre-party at Seven, Minneapolis.

(Above) WCCO-TV anchor Frank Vascellaro at the Emmy pre-party at Seven.

(Above) KARE 11’s news reporter Boyd Huppert attends the Emmy pre-show at Seven.

(Above) Former Minnesota Twins player Ron Coomer (left) gets ready to present an Emmy.

(Above) St. Cloud State University students come on stage to accept their Emmy for their documentary about a Minnesota beef farm.

(Above) Don Shelby accepts his Emmy for his “Good To Know” in the Editiorial/Commentator category. The audience gave Shelby a standing ovation.

(Above) Soliders from the Red Bull division of the Minnesota National Guard Richard Kemp and Ben presented the Emmy for Stories from the War Zone/Home Front to “Who Killed Doc?”

(Above) MC Eric Perkins said he wasn’t going to put on a tie for the evening’s festivities.

(Above) WCCO’s Frank Vascellaro and Bridget Schettler-Breen of Sioux City’s KTIV were presenters at the Midwest Emmy awards; both are married to news anchors at their stations. “We are both sleeping with someone at our jobs,” said Vascellaro.

(Above) John Campbell, Sports Director at Iowa’s KCRG-TV9, was inducted into the Upper Midwest Region Emmy Silver Circle.