Livingston Native Nominated for Television Academy Foundation’s 41st College TV Awards

By: Alexander Rivero, Staff Writer

Livingston’s own Spencer Askinazy has been nominated for the prestigious Television Academy Foundation’s 41st annual College Television Awards, which rewards brilliance in student-produced programming from colleges and universities across the country. Askinazy is a graduate of Livingston High School and is a current student at the University of Miami (UM) in sunny Coral Gables, Florida. He—along with fellow classmates at UM—are being nominated in the “News & Sports” category for their work on UMTV NewsVision, a weekly thirty-minute program which covers local, state, national, and international news and airs live every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. EST. 

How does one go about falling in love with television production? For Askinazy, it was fate that intervened in the form of an art requirement during his freshman year of high school, and an open slot in a seminar called Basic TV Production. 

“I’m not artsy, and pounced on that [Basic TV Production] as a way to meet the requirement,” says Askinazy. “I loved it from the start.” 

By his sophomore year, he and his fellow Livingston High classmates were filming basketball and football games, writing and planning in-studio shows where locals would come in and dish out community news and updates, and getting a hands-on understanding for the business. 

“Ever since those earlier days at Livingston, I loved spending time with the people that naturally gravitated into this line of work,” says Askinazy. “I loved everything about it, the whole process.”

Of particular help in his early falling in love with the T.V. business were teachers Steve Milano and Jason Daily. Askinazy spent a good deal of time with Milano after school, pouring over cameras and techniques, the ins and outs of every last detail of what goes into a successful production. Askinazy ate it all up and wondered where the time flew. 

Once at UM, he jumped right into the school’s nationally ranked student-production center, starting as video editor, moving up to video producer, where he learned to supervise all videos that were edited right for the air, and was then nominated and accepted for executive producer of the NewVision program.

Askinazy says it all became clear to him upon learning of his acceptance to UM, especially when he began getting involved with the television programming. 

“Once I arrived at UM, everything really clicked for me,” says Askinazy. “As time has gone on it has all been more of a defined path. I saw that I could make a career out of this. Because of the UM TV and the programs and classes I’ve been able to take, it’s all become clear that this is where I need to be. It’s a great feeling. And now, by specializing and knowing particular parts of the field more clearly, I’ve been able to narrow my options a little more. I can now start applying to jobs more efficiently.”

Askinazy says the most difficult part of the job is the managing of all the quirky moving parts in any given production. “We change our cast around each year, making everybody go through auditions—for anchor, for reporters, etc.,” he says. “So it’s tough having to usher in new people and working with them, ensuring they meet deadlines, take the effort to see their work is up to standard.”

That said, Askinazy has nothing but gratitude for the chance to have worked with such talented people so far in his young life. “I’m very, very proud of all my colleagues, as well as all the mentors I’ve had along the way, especially back at Livingston with Mr. Daily and Mr. Milano.”

As for his favorite part of the job, it’s a no-brainer: “No question, being in a position to lead. I’ve always felt like I’ve been a natural leader, which for me is nothing more than pushing the very best out of the people you’re leading, pushing them to be better than they were yesterday, in the same way I was pushed to become better.”

As for life in Miami, Askinazy reports: “I love it down here. I could not have asked for a better college experience. I was committed to Maryland for a few hours, but as soon as I was taken off the UM waitlist, it was an instant ‘yes’ from me. It’s one of the best TV programs in the country, consistently nominated. It’s an honor to be down here.”

Looking beyond southern Florida, Askinazy says he’s thinking about the bigger markets as potential landing spots for himself post-graduation. A return to the New York City area is possible, other potential contenders include Washington DC, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and yes, even Miami itself. 

As for the Television Academy Foundation Award, 54 total students have been nominated in six different categories for the 2022 awards, all of which have been selected from 185 entries submitted from 58 colleges across the country. The winners of the competition will be announced by television stars at the 41st College Television Awards ceremony on March 26. 


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