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OU Journalism Professor and War Correspondent Awarded Two Emmys For Coverage of War in Afghanistan

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OU Journalism Professor and War Correspondent Awarded Two Emmys For Coverage of War in Afghanistan


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NORMAN — University of Oklahoma journalism professor and foreign correspondent Mike Boettcher has been awarded two Emmys for his coverage of the war in Afghanistan, marking the first time an active university professor also serving as a war correspondent has won an Emmy.

In addition, Boettcher’s son, Carlos, produced the story, making it the first time a father and son have won Emmys for the same story.

Mike Boettcher worked with OU students to tell the stories of the war in Afghanistan through a cooperative venture between and the OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, named “Afghan 101.” During a year-long effort embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Boettcher delivered lectures to his students from the front lines via Skype. Students in the class, co-taught by professor John Schmeltzer, used videos and photos shot by Mike Boettcher and Carlos Boettcher to tell the personal stories of the men and women fighting the war, often focusing on the war’s effect on their families. The stories were featured on the “Afghan101” website,, and

“We are extremely proud that OU Journalism Professor Boettcher has made history in winning two Emmys,” OU President David Boren said. “The course which he taught while embedded with troops in Afghanistan demonstrates the creative approach taken by The Gaylord College of Journalism in providing unique opportunities to students.”

“American Valor: Home of the Brave,” the Emmy award winning news package, followed the Strong Eagle battle in Afghanistan. The story aired on ABC’s “Nightline” over the 2011 Memorial Day weekend. It was nominated in two categories: outstanding feature and best story in a regularly scheduled newscast.

The News and Documentary Emmys were presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in an Oct. 1 ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York City.

A companion piece to “American Valor” was produced by Mara Nelson, an OU student working on the “Afghan 101” project.

To recognize the students who participated in “Afghan 101” project, Boettcher today gave the Emmys to the Gaylord College in appreciation.

“I told the Emmy award audience in New York that if they want to hire great students, come to the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma,” Mike Boettcher said. “The biggest award I received was seeing Gaylord students engaged in an issue of huge international importance during the ‘Afghan 101’ project. Their efforts kept my son and me inspired to press on during our two years in Afghanistan. These Emmys belong to them, the college and the university!”

Over the last three decades, Boettcher has covered world conflicts for NBC News, CNN and ABC News. He was one of a small group of reporters embedded with U.S. Special Forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom and since then has reported extensively from Iraq and Afghanistan. Boettcher has received national recognition in all facets of broadcast journalism, including a Peabody Award and a National Headliner Award. With his most recent honors, he has earned a total of six National Emmys.

“When we first dreamed of doing this ambitious project it was the generosity of the Sarkeys Foundation that turned the dream into a reality,” Boettcher said. “They invested in our students, and public service was the only dividend they expected. The entire college worked hard to meet those expectations, and the two National Emmys are proof of that.”

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