SPNN receives seven national awards
SPNN is very proud to announce we have received seven national awards from the Alliance for Community Media (ACM). The awards were presented at this year’s ACM conference in Chicago during the gala dinner on August 1, surrounded by our peers in community media. The honors we received included the Jewell Ryan-White Award for Cultural Diversity, presented posthumously to Kwame McDonald; the Sue Buske Leadership Award, presented to our Executive Director Mike Wassenaar; two Hometown Video Awards for SPNN Youth; two Hometown Video Awards for Community Productions; and a Hometown Video award for staff member Maria Tototzintle’s access program.
Community Productions Manager Steve Brunsberg accepted the Jewell Ryan-White award for Kawme McDonald. He made some beautiful remarks, stating that “Kwame pushed us - to be the best organization we could be. He pushed us to create and maintain diversity on our board and staff, in our contractor pool, and to reach out to all communities as we work with people.” Community Productions staff member David Zierott made a moving video tribute to Kwame, which you can watch below. Steve finished by saying that “I thought of Kwame as a sort of father figure and that a part of him is always with me - he made me a better person, a better producer, and he made SPNN a better organization.” There was hardly a dry eye in the house after the presentation.
Following the Jewell Ryan-White Award our Executive Director Mike Wassenaar literally jumped out of his chair and bolted across the room to accept the Sue Buske Leadership Award. In addition to his work at SPNN, Mike has served for many years on both the regional and national ACM boards. He dedicated his award to his parents, “the two people who taught me most about the strength and courage needed to be a leader.” He continued, speaking of the leadership that is needed within the world of community media “If we believe in the meaning and power of community media work, we must believe in the possibility that it is really available to all Americans, in all parts of the country, and is not just available to communities that are lucky or privileged. To make that possibility a reality, I need other people in this room tonight to be leaders. To energize others, to innovate, to inspire.” Mike’s remarks were met with a standing ovation from the room.
These two awards were great news for SPNN, but in addition, we also received 5 Hometown Video Awards for work produced from each department. The Community Productions department received a Cultural Perspectives award for the production FIRST- Minnesota’s African-American Groundbreakers and a Live Performance award for Jeremy Messersmith: Work for Words. The SPNN Youth department received a Cultural Perspectives award for Preserving Hmong Culture and a Magazine Show award for Set It Up episode 1004. Finally, Access Center staff member Maria Tototzintle won a Website for Producers award for her program Butter City.
SPNN continues to strive to innovate and serve the community of St. Paul in the most meaningful way possible. We’re very proud to be recognized in so many ways on the national stage.