Harley Cochran – WVU best news video award


“Reporting for WCAT-TV, this is Harley Cochran.” For this Greater Latrobe High School junior, this simple phrase has become not only a routine, but a lifestyle. 

Cochran began her broadcasting experience in 9th grade, in which she scheduled to take the course. Harley plans to extend her involvement to the WCAT-TV team for a total of four years in hopes of perhaps pursuing a career highlighting her talents. 

Harley said, “I’ve always struggled when thinking about what I wanted to do after high school. I have taken broadcasting classes throughout my three years and I never even thought about pursuing a career in communications until last year.” 

Developing a personal involvement in media, she discovered her love for bringing entertainment to others as well as investigating different stories to inform people on what is happening. “Entertainment and news is something that everyone can connect to in some way and it’s nice knowing that I’m a part of something so impactful,”said Harley. She plans to explore the field more by experimenting with different aspects, such as journalism and sports broadcasting. 

Harley continues to explore her interest in media and never turns down an opportunity to expand her knowledge. After hearing an announcement about the WVU College of Media High School Video Challenge introduced by her broadcast teacher, Mrs. Houck, Harley did not let this opportunity slip away. 

According to West Virginia University’s Reed College Of Media, “WVU’s challenges are open to both individual students and groups of high school journalists from across the country. Each month a new challenge and deadline will be announced. Entries will be judged by WVU Reed College Of Media professors and student media leaders.” WVU allows this challenge to be open to students 9-12, providing a different type of media focus each month. Feedback is then provided, announcing the top three student entries on the WVU Reed College of Media Social media channels. More personally, the winners also receive certificates sent virtually. 

The three WVU High School Media Challenge topics for the month of January included best feature video, best news video, and best sports video. Several submissions were entered, which consisted of talented students from 28 schools involving four different states. 

After considering the three submission topics offered, Harley decided to focus on “best news video.” Her submission for the challenge was a piece shown on WCAT-TV:  the effects of coronavirus on the public education system and how Greater Latrobe School District adapted to provide students with the best possible education in this atypical time. 

Cochran particularly loves working on entertainment pieces and more light-hearted work, but was really looking forward to reporting heavy news. Cochran explained, “This topic was actually something I have been wanting to report on for a while and this package gave me the ability to work on that and I’m really happy with the results.” Harley was not only able to try something new with her media experiences, but also create a piece of work she can forever reflect on.

She constructed her video using the current class lesson consisting of news packages. “Making a news package was really fun to learn about and a really important skill to know for someone like me interested in pursuing a career in media,” said Cochran. 

Harley said that the helpful feedback she received from a professor who has worked in the field for a long time reinforces the  importance of this contest to her future. 

“Finding out about winning the contest was actually really special to me. I not only won a contest, but more importantly West Virginia has always been really important in my family,”Harley said. She emphasized her pride as  her mother attended WVU.  Harley has it in her goals to be the next family member to graduate as a Mountaineer. 

Harley’s video submission can be viewed on WVU College Of Media’s twitter page, where her hard work and talent is showcased. Whether it be due to the WVU decorated basement Harley spends a lot of time in, or the certificate of recognition she received from a recruitment specialist, she will forever be reminded of this great step toward her future in media.


Proving the hard work of the WCAT-TV team, senior Annie Duda additionally took the winning of another topic, “best feature video”, which featured Cece Daniele in her mascot career.