Fundraiser hopes to send award-winning UWM students to New York City

CREATED Jun 18, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - A big investigation into school shooting safety has landed UW-Milwaukee journalism students an unprecedented national award. 

The campus TV station investigated UW-M's ability to inform students and staff of an active shooter situation and found the school's plan inadequate.
 
PantherVision started a series of reports on school shooting safety last year. Samantha Nash help produced the stories.
 
"It really felt like something we did here made a huge impact," said Nash, "and we got noticed by people." 
 
The students say the university wasn't able to quickly communicate to everyone on campus with texts alert or announcements. That concerned Dereya Pedersen as a journalist and student.
 
"This is a huge issue," said Pedersen, "and the people in charge are supposed to have our best interests at heart, aren't paying attention."
 
But judges for the prestigious Edward R. Murrow awards noticed. PantherVision beat out big market TV stations to win not only a regional but a national award.  
 
UW-M Instructor Mark Zoromski puts the honor in perspective.
 
"The regional Murrow would be like the smallest high school football team in the State of Wisconsin playing the Packers and winning," said Zoromski. "The national Murrow would be like that same small team playing in the Super Bowl and winning. It's just unprecedented."
 
There's now an online fundraiser to get a dozen students to the October ceremony in New York City.
 
"I think they are going to be the belle of the ball," said Zoromski.
 
Airfare, hotel and tickets to the ceremony add up to about $1,000 per student.
 
"To go out there and receive it as a group, as a PantherVision family, is huge," said Pedersen.
 
So far the online fund has raised $7,500. In April, the university recommended changes to its active shooter policy as a result of the investigation.