Campus News

UGA telecomm students, Blitzer honored at DGK banquet

UGA telecomm students, Blitzer honored at DGK banquet

Athens, Ga.Four University of Georgia seniors and a broadcast news veteran were honored during the annual DiGamma Kappa banquet held Monday, March 15, at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication students Benjamin Sidoti, Tammy Lay, Alicia J. Steele and Isaac Rabin received top student awards while Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor and anchor of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, was named recipient of the 2010 DGK Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting.

Sidoti, Lay and Steele were recognized as the best broadcast interns in Georgia and were recipients of the Esther Award for outstanding performance in a radio or television internship. The Esther Award honors the late Esther S. Pruett, a staunch supporter of students and founding member of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, sponsor of the award.

Rabin received the WSB Radio Award. The award is presented annually by Atlanta radio station, News/Talk 750 WSB, to a student who shows an outstanding commitment to community service and who plans to embark on a career in radio.

Sidoti, a telecommunications arts and Spanish major from Alpharetta, is the son of Al andLorri Sidoti. He is a graduate of Chattahoochee High School, where he first worked with video production on CougarVision, the school’stelevisionshow. At UGA, he immediately became involved with Georgia Gameday, rising to producer in his junior year. Sidoti has filled his time at UGA shooting sporting events with Daktronics, playing intramural sports and enjoying the Athens music scene. He earned a video production/broadcasting internship with Turner Studios in Atlanta. He has been selected to participate in the Cannes FilmFestivalStudy Abroad Program and will head to France in May. After graduation, Sidoti’s goal is to move to New York City andpursuea career in the video production industry.

Lay, a broadcast news and Spanish major, is a native of Stephens. She is the daughter of Frederick and Eddie Mae Lay. After graduating at the top of her class from Oglethorpe County High School, she came to UGA because of “Grady College’s reputation for being one of the top journalism schools in the country.” She is a member of the Honors Program and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She has participated in numerous extracurricular activities including mentoring and tutoring Hispanic children at Oasis Catolico and translating conferences for the Clarke County School District. In addition to working with NewSource 15, Grady’s student newscast, Lay interned at NBC affiliate WAGT-TV in Augusta and with UGA’s WNEG-TV. After graduation, she plans to become a bilingual television journalist/personality. Her dream is to have her own television show where she can address issues that affect minority populations.

Broadcast news major Steele is a graduate of Shiloh High School in Snellville.She is the daughter of Oscar and Mary Steele. At UGA, her activities include Tomorrow Matters Inc., Hunker Down for Housing and the East Campus Village Community Board. She completed an internship with CBS Radio WVEE-Atlanta, where she was the programming intern for The Frank and Wanda Show, the number one morning show in Atlanta. She developed programming content and discussion topics for the show, hosted community events and assisted the producer and entertainment reporter with finding content for the entertainment segment. She also recorded parts of the show for air checks to ensure the radio personalities follow broadcasting guidelines. Steele’s goals are to be the producer of a night-time talk show and to be an entertainment correspondent.

Rabin of Augusta got his start as a broadcaster at WUOG, the all-volunteer student radio station at UGA. The telecommunications arts major recently took the craft of broadcasting overseas on a six-month study abroad trip to Israel. While there he was successful enough to work on one of only two independent English speaking stations in the country. Rabin’s next stop was at Atlanta’s WKLS 96.1 FM. He went from broadcasting to UGA students to working on music and talk programming in the seventh largest market in America. After five successful months in Atlanta, he was accepted out of thousands of applicants to be an intern on The Howard Stern Show for Sirius/XM and was credited for coming up with bits and material directly for the show.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor and anchor of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, was named recipient of DGK’s 37th annual Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting. Blitzer adds the UGA honor to his many awards including a George Foster Peabody Award, Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

In addition to politics, Blitzer is also known for his in-depth reporting on international news. He reported from Israel in the midst of the war between that country and Hezbollah during the summer of 2006. In 2005, he was the only American news anchor to cover the Dubai Ports World story on the ground in the United Arab Emirates. He also traveled to the Middle East that year to report on the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. In 2003, Blitzer reported on the Iraq war from the Persian Gulf region.

Blitzer began his career in 1972 with the Reuters News Agency in Tel Aviv.

Shortly thereafter, he became a Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Jerusalem Post. After more than 15 years of reporting from the nation’s capital, Blitzer joined CNN in 1990 as the network’s military-affairs correspondent at the Pentagon. He served as CNN’s senior White House correspondent covering President Bill Clinton from his election in November 1992 until 1999.

DiGamma Kappa is the nation’s oldest student broadcast society and was founded at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1939. For more information, see