Junior Melissa Campbell and seniors Julie Olds, Shannon Schrecengost and Emilie Firn were honored for their originally produced "Illicit Exchanges: Canada, the U.S. & Crime," a 30-minute film that explores the effects of crime, drugs and gangs in communities across North America. The documentary won in the News Long Form category, competing against colleges and universities from Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Research on “Illicit Exchanges” began in October 2007, and the team began conducting interviews and filming in January 2008. The team traveled nearly 10,000 miles across North America, devoted the spring and summer months to documenting the transfers and effects of illegal drugs and firearms that cross the U.S. and Canadian border. Their work resulted in the “Illicit Exchanges,” which premiered at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry in October 2008.
“We found that issues of crime, poverty, gangs and drugs existed in every community we visited,” said Robert Marshall Wells, MediaLab’s faculty adviser and Assistant Professor of Communication at PLU. “This award just exemplifies the hard work and dedication that MediaLab students invest.”
In addition to the Emmy, “Illicit Exchanges” has won other awards this year, including a national 2009 Honorable Mention Award from the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts in the long-form documentary category, as well as a First Place Grand Prize Award from the National Broadcasting Society.