Rewarding the messenger

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July 30, 2010

The Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts counts among its alumni several Emmy winners, an Academy Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize recipient.

And now, thanks to 2007 electronic media graduate Miles Cooksy, Bradley can claim an Edward R. Murrow award winner among its ranks.

Cooksy, a photojournalist for the Fox news affiliate in Milwaukee, was part of a team that won the prestigious national award honoring outstanding achievements in electronic media. The group produced a piece entitled “Twisted Family Tree” about a local family with a history of sexual abuse.

“Never did I think that piece would win,” said the Zion, Ill., native. “But it was fun. And it’s really cool thinking how we beat out a lot of large-market networks to win.”

Cooksy’s role consisted of videotaping interviews, buildings and homes, and he spent the day tracking down family members for the story.

“As you’re shooting it, it gets discouraging because so many doors were being closed on us,” he said. “People didn’t want to talk. The entire day looked very bleak. It was the last door we knocked on, for the second time, and the son opened the door and spilled the beans.”

Cooksy became interested in working behind the camera at Bradley after speaking with TV production professor Bob Jacobs. While at Bradley, Cooksy worked part-time at WEEK, Peoria’s NBC affiliate, first as a teleprompter jockey for the morning summer show. He moved his way up at the station, becoming an editor and photographer before securing a full-time gig two months before graduation. Half a year later, he landed the job in Milwaukee.

Cooksy credits his professors and Bradley’s small class sizes for his success.

“I saw an opportunity,” Cooksy said. “I was always asking professors for help. I got into my major and I worked one-on-one with them.”

The Murrow award isn’t the first award Cooksy has won. He won an Associated Press first place award for a piece about sending illicit messages and photos via text message. He captured several Wisconsin and Illinois Broadcasters Association awards and he’s been nominated for an Emmy.

His job gives him access to some memorable moments. With video camera in hand, he rushed the pitcher’s mound in 2008 after the Milwaukee Brewers claimed the National League Wild Card. He was sent to Los Angeles for this year’s American Idol finale. On Monday night, he chased tornadoes around the Milwaukee area.

Cooksy finds the job incredibly rewarding.

“I love the storytelling,” he said. “Everybody has a story to tell. Bradley really helped me understand the storytelling aspect of this business.”