A recent University of St. Thomas graduate is kicking off her professional journalism career with a significant accolade, the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award.
One of just eight student honorees from across the country, Kayla Mayer ’22 earned the award for Excellence in Audio Hard News. Mayer spend her summer before graduation interning at KWIT-KOJI, where she produced the winning news story on food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A digital media arts and English double major, Mayer said the win was a complete surprise.
“It was a complete shock … even now it's kind of sinking in,” Mayer said. “But it feels good to be recognized.”
The Edward R. Murrow Awards are handed out each year by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Considered by many in the industry to be the top award for professional journalists, Mayer said the win was encouraging as she looks to begin her career in broadcast news.
“It’s affirming to know that, yeah, I did work really hard in college,” Mayer said. “Now, after putting in all that work, I can say, OK, this is the right path for me.”
Mayer believes her time at the University of St. Thomas helped put her on that path to success, giving her both professional skills and the drive to tell stories for the common good.
“I am so grateful for my St. Thomas experience because I was able to get hands-on experience,” Mayer said. “With the Catholic institutional mindset there’s also the common good focus, and that definitely helped inspire me for what I wrote the story about.”
An active member of the Emerging Media Department, Mayer’s professors remember her as an outstanding student.
“Kayla was a student who took full advantage of everything that eMedia has to offer, from coursework to TommieMedia to the TV studio. And she was a delight to be around,” Department Chair for Emerging Media Mark Neuzil said.
Mayer is excited to put her education to the test this month, as she begins her career as a video news editor at KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities. No matter where life takes her, Mayer is excited to keep telling excellent stories.
“My goal is to just continue storytelling. That's really what I love,” Mayer said.