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Pony Express Documentary Wins People’s Choice Telly

A Duquesne University documentary that followed the Pony Express Trail through remote areas of the West has won a People’s Choice Telly Award.

Through an online competition on the Telly You Tube Channel, the general public was invited to view videos and commercials and pick their favorites, providing a “stamp of approval” from the public, peers and industry enthusiasts.

The Duquesne documentary, 7 days, 17 hours, was viewed for four weeks in the Non-broadcast Production category. The documentary, which was produced by a crew of Duquesne students, faculty and alumni led by James Vota, journalism and multimedia arts instructor, is still eligible to receive other Telly honors.

For the documentary, the crew on motorcycles and vehicles tried to meet or beat the record Pony Express time from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Calif., providing the title for this look at Pony Express aficionados, scenes and history along the route.

This is the third consecutive year that a team from Duquesne’s Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts has earned a Telly. In 2008, Vota’s ALT Project, which produced the Pony Express video, received two Telly Awards (Entertainment and Low Budget categories) for Collecting Somedays. It looked at Western national parks and Indian reservations and also documented the trip of then-graduate assistant Nick Sinagra, who traveled with his ventilator-equipped wheelchair.

In 2009, a crew led by Dr. Dennis Woytek and instructor Mike Clark won an Outstanding Documentary Telly for chronicling Pope Benedict’s 2008 visit to New York City and Washington, D.C. These students comprised the only college TV crew among 600 credentialed reporters from around the world.

The Telly Awards, founded in 1979, are a prestigious distinction honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, video and film productions.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.