Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Alumna wins Mid-Atlantic Emmy for video about autism center

Courtney Brinkerhoff-Rau ’86 has won another Emmy for her video storytelling work.

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) awarded presented the Mid-Atlantic Emmy for a video Brinkerhoff-Rau produced for the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support.

“There are so many fascinating stories out there, and I love the opportunity to tell people’s stories, especially when it can be used to educate people about something that needs attention,” she said.
Courtney Brinkerhoff-Rau, front row, right, received the Emmy accompanied by her daughter, Ann Elisabeth Rau,
Ian Rowe Nicholls, and representatives of the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. Photo: Top Guns Photography.
Brinkerhoff-Rau worked in the news industry for 25 years, working for news groups such as CNN (alongside Candy Crowley ’70), Knight-Ridder, and Fox. She has won several Emmy awards along the way. As she progressed, she found herself spending more time in management and less time producing journalism, her real passion. Three years ago, Brinkerhoff-Rau decided to start her own production company dedicated to helping clients tell their stories through video.

She has developed a technique for effective fundraising campaign videos, inspired by her analysis of ineffective videos she has endured over the years. “There’s really a craft and a unique way that you tell a story,” she said. “I figured out a good formula for how to get people to watch and pay attention.”

Leaders of the Kinney Center, an autism education program offered by St. Joseph’s University, approached Brinkerhoff-Rau in 2012. She conducted on-camera and off-camera interviews with autistic students in the program, their parents, college students who work with them, and the program’s administrators. The finished film debuted in September 2012 and has been successful in both raising money for the Kinney Center and increasing awareness of the need for autism education.

This was one of her favorite projects because of the inspiring stories it captured—children who met true friends at the Kinney Center, college students who found their passion in education, and parents who found hope. “I’ve done a million stories, but every once in a while there is one that really sticks with me,” Brinkerhoff-Rau said. “This was one of them. This piece was very inspiring to me personally. What a pleasant surprise that it ended up winning an Emmy.”