Communication supervisor receives Crystal Award

By Elizabeth Brachelli
February 15, 2007

Meghan Hurley

After months of work, the communication department’s supervisor, Heather Shanley, was awarded the Crystal Award of Distinction for a radio documentary. Shanley, along with two others, produced an award-winning documentary that examined the causes of childhood obesity.

Shanley and her friends were part of the 13th annual Communicator Awards audio competition. The Communicator Awards is a leading international awards program which recognizes creative excellence in audio, video and print media. In the student production category, Rowan’s WGLS-FM took the Award of Distinction for their documentary “America’s Future: Packing on the Pounds.”

Shanley said, “I love doing documentaries. It was very rewarding.”

Shanley created the documentary with the help of her best friends, Pat Moynahan and Kelly King during their senior year at Rowan University. Shanley and her friends are now alumni of Rowan University.

Shanley said, “We didn’t kill each other. Our friendship still remains.”

After four months of intense work, the documentary aired April 28, 2006. The documentary was produced for their radio class where they had to work closely with the general manager of the Rowan University radio station, Frank Hogan. Hogan explained that the group made the topic interesting although it seemed to be a difficult task. The documentary included interviews with two children. Also, the interviews included a mother, a school administrator, a medical professional and two local advocates for children’s health.

Shanley said, “We were all really proud of it. It’s grueling work.”

The award-winning documentary, “America’s Future: Packing on the Pounds,” is an informational documentary that reveals the ups and downs children go through when dealing with weight problems and their peers. It also examines the heartbreak of parents who don’t know where else to turn for help for their children.

Parts of the radio documentary include an interview with Dr. Myles Faith from the University of Pennsylvania’s Weight Loss and Eating Disorder Clinic. Faith discusses the effects of childhood obesity as he breaks down the clinical terms. Also, Faith offered advice on how to increase daily physical activity.

Another part of the documentary includes a family that battles with childhood obesity. Cindy and her two daughters, Jessie and Erin, show listeners how weight affects their daily lives as well as the social, emotional and physical effects of dealing with childhood obesity.

After releasing 150 copies of the documentary nationwide, Rowan University requested more copies. Shanley has shown the documentary in some of her classes. Also, it is available for students upon request.

Elizabeth Brachelli

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