Maine Member Proves Emmys Aren't Just TV's Domain

June 9, 2014


Broadcasters look out: You’ve got new competition for those coveted Emmy awards, and the Portland Press Herald’s Amelia Kunhardt is proof.

Kunhardt, a video editor and member of the News Guild of Maine, won a Boston/New England regional Emmy award on Saturday night for a 13 ½-minute video, “Three Shots on Roy Road” about an officer-involved shooting.

“The other finalists were TV stations,” Kunhardt says, referring to the “Societal Concerns” category she’d entered. “I thought we had a really powerful story, but technically we’re not like television. We do things differently. When they called our name, I was pleasantly shocked.”

Kunhardt previously won an Emmy at the Guild-represented Quincy Patriot Ledger for a health story about a man who lost 100 pounds, and knows of a few others awarded to newspapers. She expects those numbers to grow. “The lines are all being blurred now,” she said. “More and more newspapers are entering these contests.”

While Kunhardt is self-taught in video editing, she produces her videos with Final Cut Pro X, the same program taught in the hugely successful CWA/NETT Academy course.

CWA and its media sector, the Guild and NABET, have provided the training at no charge to TV and print newsrooms across the country. The Press Herald hosted the course in 2012, the year before Kunhardt joined the staff.

“When we offered to the video editing to Portland, newsroom managers weren’t sure at first that they wanted or needed it – they wondered if the Guild was offering them some kind of Trojan horse,” Guild President Bernie Lunzer said. “But they didn’t have to think about it very long to see what a good deal it was, free training in state-of-the-art of video editing. As a result, another 10 staffers in their newsroom mastered the skills that Amelia has been teaching herself for years.”

Local Guild President Tom Bell, one of the reporters who took the Final Cut Pro course, said he and his colleagues, “are thrilled to have Amelia, a talented photographer and video editor, on our staff and in our union. Not only is she doing great work, but she is a mentor to the entire photo department.   By example and also by providing guidance, she has elevated the quality of the our staff's multimedia productions.”

Bell added that the newsroom and Guild are also proud of another recent award: The 2013 Scripps Howard Award of Community Journalism. A team of reporters and editors won the prestigious national award for a series on aging, “The Challenge of Our Age.”

Kunhardt’s video, which accompanied a print story by reporter and Guild member Matt Bryne, shows and tells the story of a police shooting in a rural area. Via a patrol car’s dashboard camera, with footage acquired through a state Freedom of Access request, viewers see the dirt road ahead of the car and hear Trooper Jason Wing as he slowly drives in search of a “suspicious person” reported in the area.

That person was quickly identified as a mentally ill teenager, James Reynolds, whom Wing had dealt with in the past. Wing spotted him, got out of his car and then saw Reynolds pointing rifle at him. As the audio tape confirms, Wing ordered Reynolds to drop the weapon; when he didn’t Wing fired three shots. 

The video goes on to tell the story of Reynolds after the shooting, how brain damage from a bullet, combined with mental illness, has affected him and his mother. Wing wouldn’t be interviewed, but Kunhardt found other ways to tell his story. She and Bryne worked on the print-video package for six months, she said.

Click here to watch “Three Shots on Roy Road.”