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Johnston nabs prestigious Arkansas broadcasting scholarship

April 4, 2016
By cnp
Posted in Communication Studies

Christian Johnston's dream of a career in sports broadcasting received a significant boost this week when he learned he had been chosen to receive the prestigious Jim Elder Good Sport Scholarship.

Named in memory of the long-time legendary Arkansas sportscaster, the scholarship is awarded to broadcasting and journalism college students in Arkansas and is worth $6,000 for the 2016-17 academic year. Johnston, a sophomore RTV major from Hamburg, Ark., was one of five students in the state this year to win the scholarship and the first-ever from Ozarks.

"I was pretty excited when I found out I had won it," said Johnston. "This not only helps me and my family financially, but it’s also a tremendous boost to my confidence and to my professional goals. To know that I can compete with other students around the state and do well is a great feeling."

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Sophomore RTV major Christian Johnston has been named one of the state’s five recipients of the Jim Elder Good Sport Scholarship.

Johnston learned of the scholarship from one of his professors, Susan Edens. After writing a paper about his career goals, filling out the application and securing letters of recommendation from his professors, Johnston traveled to Little Rock for his interview on March 30. By the time he returned home that evening, he had already received an email informing him that he had won the scholarship.

"I knew the interview had gone really well, but I was still surprised how quickly I got the news," he said. "I just talked to them about my love for sports and for broadcasting. It was more like a conversation than an interview."

An avid fan who has followed sports his entire life, Johnston said his professional goal is to work in some aspect of sports broadcasting.

He has already gained invaluable hands-on experience in his first two years in the U of O communication program, helping broadcast several basketball games with Eagles play-by-play announcer Steve Mercure. He plans to add baseball and softball to his announcing resume soon.

"I’ve been pretty amazed how quickly I’ve been able to come in and get real experience," Johnston said. "I think the people with the Jim Elder scholarship were pretty impressed by that as well. The professors here are great about letting you jump in and learn as you go, but they are also willing to help you when you need it. It’s been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me."

Elder, who died in 1998, served as the play-by-play announcer for the Arkansas Travelers from 1960 to 1993 and was a long-time sportscaster with KARN in Little Rock. He was an 11-time Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year and was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.