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Student Features

CSB and SJU students honored at Upper Midwest Emmy Awards ceremony

A pair of students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University were named winners in their category at the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Upper Midwest Chapter’s 2022 Student Production Awards on Friday night.

Taja Longley (producer/editor) and Cole Milz (talent) – both juniors – were one of two winners in the College Division: News Report – Light News category. The pair were honored for their work on the Johnnie Bennie Media news package “The New Age of Audio: From Radio to Podcasting.”

The video submission was originally posted in a newscast in September 2021. It marks the first Crystal Pillar Award that Johnnie Bennie Media has won, though other student groups affiliated with CSB and SJU have won awards in the past.

This year’s awards were handed out as part of the Upper Midwest Emmy Awards Ceremony at the Graduate Minneapolis hotel. Longley, who is studying abroad in London, was unable to attend the ceremony. But Milz was there to receive the honor.

“It’s a really cool feeling to be part of the first group from Johnnie Bennie Media to win an award like this,” Milz said. “It was an amazing experience to be able to go down there as a group and to share this honor with my co-workers.”

“As the only female producer working in Johnnie Bennie Media at the time, this award symbolizes so much more for me,” Longley said via email. “I want this award to inspire other women in production, especially Bennies, to confidently walk into any room and create something YOU are proud of.”

Videos produced by Johnnie Bennie Media were nominated in five production categories and one craft category in the college division this year. That is a record for the student media organization.

“A lot of people did cool things this year and it was awesome to see so many of us nominated,” Milz said. “I think it helped inspire all of us. I know on the van ride home on Friday we were all talking about a bunch of new ideas for things we wanted to create.

“So that was exciting.”

The complete list of CSB and SJU nominees was as follows:

News Report: Light News – “The New Age of Audio: From Radio to Podcasting”; Taja Longley, producer/editor; Cole Milz, talent.

Video Essay – “A Simple Woodworker”; Michael Pineda, producer/editor.

Music Video – “Slowly Fading” by Samantha Clayman; Samantha Clayman, artist; Josh Ehlen, producer/director/editor; Scott Spangler, editor/camera; De’Marco Walton, editor/camera; Elijah Browne, audio; Jack Clisham, camera; José Ochoa, camera; Ben Epper, production; Aaron Utke, studio advisor.

Commercial – “Craft Beer Commercial”; Josh Ehlen, producer; Nathan Barrett, producer.

Commercial – “The Schu Coffee Shop Commercial”; Josh Ehlen, producer; Nathan Barrett, producer.

Director – “The Schu Coffee Shop Commercial”’ Josh Ehlen, director.


Taja Longley


Cole Milz