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College of Media students, “WVU News” win Gracies

Spring 2023 "WVU News" team in the broadcast studio
The spring 2023 "WVU News" team won a Gracie for best college newscast.

Elizabeth Carey (BSJ, 2023), Makenna Leisifer (BSJ, 2023) and “WVU News” received top honors at the 49th Annual Gracie Awards.

Each year, the Alliance for Women in Media presents Gracie Awards to outstanding women in news and entertainment. Industry leaders evaluate nominations from professionals and students in television, digital media and radio. This year’s theme was “Feminine Strength, Both Large and Small.”

Elizabeth Carey

Elizabeth Carey won in the best student soft news feature category for “Bridge Day,” which aired in Fall 2023. She produced the feature as part of the Mountaineer Playbook capstone class, taught by Shott Teaching Assistant Professor Chuck Scatterday and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Teaching Professor Gina Dahlia. After graduating in May 2023, Carey accepted a news producer position at WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia.

“I am beyond honored to have won this award and so grateful to be in such an accomplished company,” Carey said. “ I am humbled by the incredibly talented storytellers that I am now amongst and have learned from the strong women around me at the Reed College. The support of my college, family and friends has been integral to my success. I cannot wait to meet the next challenge, and I look forward to the stories yet to come.”

Makenna Leisifer

Makenna Leisifer won best producer of a student newscast for her special edition show “Addiction in America, an Ongoing Epidemic.” She produced “WVU News” during the Spring 2023 semester under the guidance of Dahlia and Teaching Assistant Professor Ashton Marra.

"It’s truly an honor to have won such a meaningful award that focuses on women in the industry,” said Leisifer, who now works as a news producer at WSAZ-TV News Channel 3 in Huntington, West Virginia. “Seeing my name among major female producers on shows, such as the Kelly Clarkson Show, truly shows how hard work and dedication pays off. I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family, friends, loved ones, colleagues, mentors, past professors and WVU. The sky is the limit!"

“WVU News” also won in the best college newscast category for Episode 4 of Spring 2023. The episode was led by female reporters and produced by Leisifer.

"The Today Show listed the Gracie Winners on their website,” said Dahlia. “When I saw two of my students, Makenna and Elizabeth, being recognized among such prestigious female producers and reporters for shows like ABC News and 20/20, it knocked the wind out of me. After teaching at Reed for 23 years, it's hard to believe there are still moments that make me extremely proud to teach the next generation of journalists."

The Gracie Awards were presented to recipients at the yearly luncheon on June 18 at Cipriani’s in New York City. For the complete list of Gracie Award winners, visit