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Enterprising reporter AND Emmy award winner

| Judy Berthiaume

As a TV reporter, Ginna Roe has had plenty of experience sharing stories about how specific events have changed the lives of others. But it was a personal experience she had as a Blugold that inspired a series of stories that earned the May 2014 UW-Eau Claire journalism grad a prestigious Emmy Award. As a student, Ginna was among the Blugolds who participated in the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a student-led trip that takes Blugolds to the South where they visit sites of historic importance to the U.S. civil rights movement. The trip, Ginna says, changed her as a person and helped ignite a passion within her because it opened her eyes to injustices she’d not recognized before and inspired her to want to do her part to fight back against those injustices. With that in mind, the young journalist was determined to tell the story of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a significant event in the civil rights movement. With the support of her bosses at WXOW-TV in La Crosse, where she works as a multimedia journalist, Ginna traveled to Selma, Alabama, to cover the March 2015 anniversary of the historic march. Once in Alabama, she interviewed all sorts of people, ranging from the original foot soldiers who marched in Bloody Sunday 50 years ago, to representatives from an organization she believes is leading the movement of today, the Freedom Foundation. From her interviews, she created three pieces, one that was reflective of the movement back then and the actual events of Bloody Sunday, and another that was about the city of Selma and where it is now, including the poverty and disparity that still exist there. Her third piece was about the future of Selma and the civil rights movement, and how a young man from Wisconsin is helping to lead that movement. When she returned to La Crosse, her “Wisconsin to Selma: Bringing History Home” three-part story earned her a Midwest Regional Emmy Award. While her initial trip to Selma as a student was her inspiration for her award-winning piece, she credits the UW-Eau Claire journalism program with helping to prepare her to tell the story so well as a professional journalist. Her professors, Ginna says, taught her the basics of journalistic writing, but also taught her how to ask the right questions, and they gave her the confidence to follow her curiosity and her instincts. All of those things helped prepare her for success in the challenging media industry. Making the spring journey to Selma even more meaningful was the opportunity to connect with Jan Larson, her former journalism professor, and current Blugold journalism students who also were there to cover the Bloody Sunday anniversary events. UW-Eau Claire’s Ginna Roe is an enterprising reporter AND an Emmy-winning journalist … and that’s pretty powerful!