Whitney High School senior picked as top student broadcaster

A Whitney High School senior has been selected as year’s top student by a national organization that recognizes high achievement in broadcast journalism.

Sarah Murphy was chosen as the Student of the Year by the Student Television Network. The organization recognizes excellence in scholastic broadcast journalism, creative video and filmmaking.

Murphy, 18, is news director, anchor, reporter and photographer for WCTV19 at Whitney High School in Rocklin. In addition to her on-air and behind the camera duties, she also mentors younger students, teaching them how to complete news packages.

Murphy is instrumental in producing the school’s daily show called Unleashed, supervising, writing, directing and editing.

The show provides news, information and entertainment for the student body and the Rocklin community. Staff members also write and produce live events, including all home football games.

Students in the WCTV program have won high school Emmys and placed in national film competitions. Unleashed has been selected as the “Best Daily” show in the country.

The staff’s motto: “We are teens documenting reality.”

Whitney High’s broadcast teacher, Ben Barnholdt, recognized early that Murphy had a great work ethic and was coachable, accepting criticism. She became a story teller with words and visuals.

“She didn’t want to do the story on the star athlete, but the story of the player who is going through a challenge and you would not know it,” Barnholdt said.

Off campus, she also excelled at storytelling. She won a national award for a story about music therapists who work with special-needs children.

Murphy, who plans to attend Utah State University to study broadcast journalism, said that she didn’t grow up thinking about television news. However, the teaching influence of Barnholdt and the independence she enjoyed in the broadcast classes to develop stories, allowed her to learn from successes and failures.

“That clicked for me,” she said. “I saw that I could tell whatever stories I wanted and it would work out.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews