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Lipscomb baseball documentary wins prestigious Murrow Award

The eighteen minute and thirty-seven second video documentary captured more than just the story of the iconic Nashville Sounds’ scoreboard — it captured the cherished memories of players, coaches, and the people of Nashville. The Grand Ole Guitar is more than just any old scoreboard. As interviewee and former Sounds pitcher R.A. Dickey said in the video, “in my mind it’s the Nashville landmark. If I could put in my backyard, I would try, that’s how much I think it means to this city.”

The Lipscomb University School of Communication team poured hundreds of hours into the video documentary project. The proposal for the video had been selected through a rigorous process by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in the spring of 2022. Upon selection, the Lipscomb group — led by seniors Shawna Mann, Spencer Barnabee and Emma Shanahan, along with May graduate Kahwit Tela and Professional-in-residence Demetria Kaladimos, a highly experienced journalist — set to work to complete the documentary in the two months before the 33rd Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, where they would present it.

With help from volunteers Emmy award winning videographer/editor Zina Bauman and KARE-TV’s former chief photographer Jeff Wiltgen, the documentary was completed in the two month timespan, and Mann, Shanahan, Barnabee, Tela and Kaladimos flew to New York. It was there that they showed the piece to a crowd in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Bullpen Theater on the final morning of the symposium, during a session speaking of baseball on campus and in the community. To read more about the presentation and the process of creating the video documentary, check out Lipscomb’s article “Student documentary on famous Nashville Sounds scoreboard selected for Cooperstown.

This year, the video documentary has won the Murrow Award for Video Feature Reporting. The Murrow Award is not just any award, either. It is among one of the most highly respected journalism awards in the world. The Murrow Awards are the embodiment of the values, principles and standards set forth by Edward R. Murrow, a journalism pioneer who set the standards for the highest quality of broadcast journalism. Another thing that is unique about the Murrow Award is that it strives to highlight responsible journalism, which helps to expose corruption and shines a light on problems that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Murrow Award winning stories put public interest above all else, provide a catalyst for public discussion, and adhere to the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) Code of Ethics. There are a wide variety of stories and networks represented among this year’s Murrow Award winners, and Lipscomb sits among them. The Lipscomb student team will have the opportunity this October to fly to New York City to attend the Murrow Award black tie gala, alongside anchors and journalists and others from many major networks – from The New York Times to FOX News. 

Edward Murrow strongly believed in the value of journalism, yet he understood that journalism could be a method to spread falsehoods as well as the truth. “The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue,” Murrow stated. However, he believed that high quality, responsible journalism could trump the lies and stand out. The Murrow Award helps to draw attention to responsible journalism that stands out, and helps to keep such journalism alive. Because the Murrow Award puts public interest above all else, there are stories represented across different opinion lines. Yet Murrow was firm in the belief that such difference of opinions was necessary in the country. “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” Yet he was also firm in his stance that truth must come above all else, saying that “to be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”

To watch Lipscomb’s award-winning video documentary, click here to watch “The Grand Ole Guitar.

Photo courtesy of Demetria Kaladimos, featuring (from left to right) Barnabee, Shanahan, Kaladimos, Mann and Tela at “Cooperstown”.