Events News

MSUM Workshop Spreads Emmy® Passion

Success in award-winning story-telling takes not only inspiration and perspiration, but passion.  “Without passion, journalism is just another job,” is what Melissa Martz, Emmy® Award winning photojournalist at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis told students and professionals at the NATAS – Upper Midwest Chapter Emmy® on the Road workshop Saturday November 12th at Minnesota State University-Moorhead (MSUM).

WCCO-TV Photojournalist Melissa Martz talks to students and professionals at MSUM workshop

Martz graduated from MSUM Mass Communications program nearly a decade ago and got her start in TV at WDAY-TV in Fargo while still in school.  From there she went to Florida to chase hurricanes, to Topeka Kansas, to what she calls her dream job in the Twin Cities.  “I work with such a great group of people at WCCO,” said Martz.  “Their passion for their work is their inspiration to work hard everyday,” Martz said.

Melissa showed several of her stories including this year’s Emmy® winning feature “Pink Balloon” she did with reporter Lindsey Seavert.  It’s a story of a hunter in Wisconsin who found a note in a pink balloon that landed on his property.  Turns out, a young Twin Cities girl wrote the note and put it in a balloon and sent it to heaven to say goodbye to her seven-year-old friend who had died from a rare illness.  “The story almost went to another station,” Martz told the crowd. “ But we put in several days and some work on our own time to tell this wonderful story,” Martz said.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Jason MSUM Student

“It’s always great to hear from those who have a passion for story-telling and are willing to offer ideas to others on how to improve,” said Aaron Quanbeck, Campus News Program Director at MSUM.   “I’ve already heard from students who told me being there and listening to all the great tips has inspired them. That is something I try to do everyday as a broadcasting professor, so an event like the Emmy® on the Road helps to reinforce what I’m telling students in the classroom,” Quanbeck said.

“Melissa Martz was a brilliant voice for those of us who are passionate about our role in the media, but especially for women!” said Barbara Gravel, Production Manager at Prairie Public Broadcasting.   “As she spoke, I kept thinking… “Go Girl” … as she nonchalantly described her exceptional work ethic and creative process. This type of event ‘shakes up’ the creative juices and is beneficial to all levels of experience,” Gravel said.

“Melissa’s stories were outstanding and her willingness to share her techniques in great detail was special, said Martin Grindeland, Professor of Mass Communications at MSUM.  “Melissa interacted extremely well with the audience to make this a wonderful workshop for students and professionals,” Grindeland said.

“Clearly, the workshop inspired both pros and students,” said Deneen Gilmour, Multimedia Journalism Assistant Professor at MSUM. “Focusing on the craft of storytelling fit perfectly with a unit I’m currently doing with my students on narrative journalism. Melissa Martz, an MSUM grad, inspired while also addressing the nitty-gritty of putting out a daily news product,” Gilmour said.

If you are interested in holding an Emmy® on the Road workshop in your market, please contact us at or call 952-381-7494.