Time to say thanks

The class of 1991 rocked! Dr. Ed Glick, Scott Cook, Eric Northcutt, and so many other professors, instructors and graduate assistants in the radio, TV and film department influenced my college education.

Honestly, time has blurred my memory for names and many things, but not the quality of my degree and experience I garnered at North Texas. I became a Mean Green alum in 1991 and immediately began pursuing my career as a television news photographer, and have now been working at WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio, since 1995.

News has a way of occupying one's life. The last year and a half, my life has been blessedly overwhelmed through the presence of Lauren Hill. You may remember her as the 19-year-old freshman at Mount St. Joseph’s University and a member of the women’s basketball team. She was dying of an inoperable brain cancer and had the crazy dream of playing in a Division III basketball game before she became unable to physically play any longer. She accomplished her goal with a nation watching and a world wanting to know more.

My reporter, Brad Johansen, and I had the privilege to get to know Lauren and her family, as well as tell her story locally. The night it aired I began to understand what "viral" meant. That story won a regional Ohio Valley Emmy in 2014 and we recently were awarded a national Alliance for Women in Media Gracie Award for our piece that ran following her death April 10, 2015, "Lauren Hill, A Life Well Lived." The story also has been nominated for a regional Ohio Valley Emmy.

I remember sitting in my documentary class and knew that was it, my dream. I wanted to make documentaries. My professional dream came true April 9-10 as we at Local12, WKRC-TV, screened #Playfor22, The Story of Lauren Hill in two local theatres, and then aired it on Local12 April 14. It is my greatest professional accomplishment.

I have won four regional Ohio Valley Emmys, two National Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Awards, and now one Gracie. I feel it is a good time to say thank you to UNT and the RTVF program for sending me on my way, well prepared!

Eric Gerhardt ('91)
Cincinnati, Ohio

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