Alex Trebek fellows with Harry Friedman (right), longtime "Jeopardy!" executive producer and founding donor of the Alex Trebek Legacy Fellowship Fund, at the Television Academy during this year's Media Educators Conference on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023
Twelve professors were selected to participate in the Television Academy Foundation's 2023 Media Educators Conference Oct. 25-27 as recipients of the Alex Trebek Legacy Fellowships. The fellowship, established in 2021, provides financial assistance for eligible attendees, geared toward educators at minority-serving institutions.
"What better tribute can we pay Trebek — the Emmy-winning host of Jeopardy! — than to honor his legacy with fellowships for those at the forefront of teaching and learning," said Cris Abrego, chair of the Television Academy Foundation; Co-founder and CEO, Hyphenate Media Group; and chairman of the Americas, Banijay. "Through the Media Educators Conference, we are committed to providing deeper connections between those who teach television and those who make it; and we are delighted to offer more educators the opportunity to attend with these fellowships."
Seventy-five educators total, including the 12 Alex Trebek fellows, attended the immersive, three-day event, held on the Academy's North Hollywood campus, which focused on the latest insights and news on the art, science and business of television. Educators learned invaluable information on how best to connect their students with the television industry.
Led by Education Committee co-chairs Tina Perry, president, OWN Network and OTT Streaming, and Jamila Hunter, executive vice president of programming and development at Freeform, the event offered a wide variety of curriculum-enhancing seminars, expert panel discussions and networking opportunities with industry leaders.
It featured one of the Foundation's signature "The Power of TV" public programs with a panel discussion on television's role in shaping healthy masculinity on screen with showrunner Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead); actor, writer and producer Matt Walsh (Veep); Gary Barker, president and CEO, Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice; and Ted Bunch, chief development officer, A Call to Men.
When asked how the industry can help facilitate a broader view of masculinity on screen, Walsh said, "One simple answer is the people who have the power, the decision-makers, those positions have to be occupied by younger, more diverse people. I'm optimistic in some ways that just the march of time will help us get there."
Additional panels and sessions included:
- "The State of the Industry" with experts discussing the current state of the entertainment industry.
- "Keynote with the head of content for Roku, David Eilenberg."
- "The Trials of TV Editing: Jury Duty" with editors Mary DeChambres, Diana Fishman and Adam Lichtenstein.
- "Masterclass: Directing for TV" with directors Dr. Rachel Raimist (Roswell, New Mexico; Up Here) and Morenike Joela Evans (Quantum Leap; iCarly).
- "At the Frontline of Unscripted," a panel conversation with Tubi and Vice Media Group on creating unscripted television narratives with purpose.
On frontline reporting in war zones, Craig Thomson, executive producer, international news, Vice Media Group, said, "Authenticity and accuracy are hugely important, and I think accuracy is key to everything because that is the trust we have [earned] with our audience."
Speakers for the conference included top entertainment-industry professionals, such as Bryan Mu, senior vice president, research and insights, Universal Studio Group; Michael Mulvihill, president, insights and analytics, FOX Entertainment, Tubi and FOX Sports; Deborah Pratt, actress, writer and producer (Quantum Leap); Craig Thomson, executive producer, international news, Vice Media Group; and Laurel Weir, executive vice president/head of programming and strategic insights and research, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks.
The 2023 Alex Trebek Legacy Fellowship recipients are Curtis Bieber (Santa Barbara City College), Yossera Bouchtia (Virginia Commonwealth University), Chris Carpenter (California State University, Monterey Bay), Vernon Clarke (Clark Atlanta University), Judith Clemens-Smucker (Sam Houston State University), Brianna Cox (Community College of Rhode Island), Alexis Duran (Miramar College), Jennie Jarvis (Full Sail University), David Lindblom (Northern New Mexico College), Monica Pierre (Xavier University of Louisiana), Dr. Tytianna Ringstaff (Simmons College of Kentucky) and Julia Wilson (Hampton University).
"This is a very important opportunity for me to learn," said Wilson, dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University. "I always try to keep up with the media trends; so when the students graduate, on day one they will be prepared."
Dr. Ringstaff, director of the Digital Teaching and Learning Center at Simmons College of Kentucky, said, "It's an honor to be selected as an Alex Trebek Fellow [not only] because of his legacy but also because I'm able to receive a lot of information from industry professionals who are doing the groundwork every single day and then bring that back into the classroom."
The 2023 Media Educators Conference was sponsored by Avid; New York University; and the UCLA School of Film, Theater & Television. The Alex Trebek Legacy Fund is sponsored by the Harry & Judy Friedman Family Foundation and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
About the Television Academy Foundation
Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of television while educating and inspiring those who will shape its future. Through renowned educational and outreach programs, such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television Project, College Television Awards and Summit, Student Internship Program, and the Media Educators Conference, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices our industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society. For more information on the Foundation, please visit TelevisionAcademy.com/Foundation.
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