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Fighting Irish Media Adds To Emmy Collection

Dec. 5, 2016

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Fighting Irish Media added to its growing collection of award hardware Saturday, picking up a pair of statuettes at the 58th Annual Chicago/Midwest Regional Emmy Awards presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Fighting Irish Media earned awards for Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs – Program Series for “Onward Notre Dame: Mutual Respect” — which traces the history of the Notre Dame-Navy football series — as well as for Outstanding Crafts Achievement Off-Air: Writer – Short Form, awarded to former FIM producer Javi Zubizarreta.

Onward Notre Dame is a documentary series developed by Fighting Irish Media that chronicles the rich stories of Notre Dame football, past and present. The first show premiered in 2012, a production of NFL Films, and was recently redesigned when Fighting Irish Media took over production in 2015. “Onward Notre Dame: Mutual Respect” chronicles the unique relationship between Notre Dame and Navy stemming from World War II and looks at the unique uniform designs for the 2015 matchup made possible by mutual partner Under Armour. The episode was co-produced with 3 Penny Films.

“This industry at large often focuses on gimmicks and clicks, but all of us here remember the brand promise we give to our viewers — that we will tell the stories that need to be told and tell them in the best way possible,” FIM Executive Producer Jodain Massad said while accepting the Emmy for Onward Notre Dame. “I am humbled to be here in such esteemed company, and wish to thank (University) President Father John Jenkins and athletics director Jack Swarbrick for their leadership and vision about what a university ought to be, director of media Dan Skendzel for believing in the power of storytelling, to co-producer Jess Atkinson and all the hardworking staff at Fighting Irish Media who know we work in a special place, and to all of our families.

“The athletic landscape is a human laboratory of emotion, and it is our work to celebrate the unique journey of our student-athletes. Fighting Irish Media is a group of storytellers focused on these legends of today and yesterday. The staff here continually rediscovers that a team who believes in itself and its message is hard to silence.”

Zubizarreta, a 2011 Notre Dame alum who earned his bachelor’s degree in Film, Television and Theater, was awarded the Emmy for his work on the Notre Dame Football Primers during the 2015 season. The videos evolved over the season, becoming a quick hit on the themes and relevance of the week’s game. The FIM video staff experimented and pushed themselves with each video, trying out a variety of voice over talent and visual styles.

“I would like to thank a number of people for the win: Executive Producer Jodain Massad for the creative support on each of these scripts – he never said no to my wildest ideas and only pushed me further; Executive Director of Notre Dame Studios Dan Skendzel for his endless support and management — and for bringing a producer with no experience in sports onto the FIM team; Alan Wasielewski for his bottomless knowledge of Fighting Irish history; Joshua Long for his brainstorming support and collaboration; Scott Rinehart for recovering the many archived videos needed to bring these pieces to life; the whole of FIM video staff for their help bringing these videos together: Nate Steele, Randy Orak, Ben Johnston, Liz Colleran; the FIM platform staff for pushing these videos out to our fans: Aaron Horvath, Katie Mattie, Tim O’Connor; the FIM (athletics communications) staff for their support and cooperation on a litany of projects; and finally my parents and family for supporting me through the years in film and video production,” said Zubizarreta, who has since accepted a role as Senior Producer for the Catholic Media Project, a new media enterprise from Notre Dame Studios to launch in 2017.

The wins mark the second and third Emmy awards for Fighting Irish Media. The group earned its first Emmy in 2015 when Jack Nolan took home the award for Outstanding Achievement for On-Camera Talent–Sports Anchor/Reporter/Play by Play.

Fighting Irish Media had eight nominations in four categories. A full list of FIM nominations is below:

Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs – Program Feature/Segment (Award to the Producer/Reporter)

  • Brian Kelly’s Journey Back to Boston: Jodain Massad, Executive Producer; Jess Atkinson, Producer. Fighting Irish Media/3 Penny Films
  • Adventures of Johnny Lujack: Javi Zubizarreta, Producer; Jodain Massad, Executive Producer. Fighting Irish Media

Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs – Program Series (Award to the Producer/Host/Reporter)

  • Inside Notre Dame Football: Jodain Massad, Executive Producer; Jack Nolan, Producer; Chris Skibbe, Associate Producer. Fighting Irish Media
  • Inside Notre Dame Basketball: Jodain Massad, Executive Producer; Josh Long, Jack Nolan, Producers; Chris Skibbe, Associate Producer. Fighting Irish Media
  • Onward Notre Dame: Mutual Respect: Jodain Massad, Executive Producer; Jess Atkinson, Producer. Fighting Irish Media*

Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs – One Time Special (Award to the Producer/Host/Reporter)

  • Echoes ’15: Notre Dame Football Awards Show: Jodain Massad, Executive Producer; Josh Long, Javi Zubizarreta, Producers. Fighting Irish Media

Outstanding Crafts Achievement Off-Air: Writer – Short Form (Promos, PSAs, Commercials, etc.)

  • Javi Zubizarreta – Composite. Fighting Irish Media*
  • Josh Long, Jodain Massad – Coaches’ Campaign. Fighting Irish Media

* winner

A complete list of winners can be found here.

— ND —

Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.