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McDaniel, Wiggs and Woods assume newscast anchor positions

A newscast team stands around a newsdesk

The national Emmy award–winning “WVU News” and ESPNU–partnered “Mountaineer Playbook” named new student teams of anchors, beat reporters, producers and directors for the spring 2022 semester.

Students in both courses spend the first few weeks learning show foundations before auditioning for their roles, which they maintain for the rest of the semester.

Ali McDaniel and Daniel Woods are the main anchors for “WVU News.” Woods is also a main anchor for “Mountaineer Playbook,” along with Luke Wiggs.

McDaniel, a Journalism senior, plans to attend law school after graduation. She hopes to work in political communications, and her dream job is to be the White House press secretary.

“I think on-camera experience can help with any career field, but being a part of this team will also teach me how to interact with public officials and effectively communicate to a larger audience,” McDaniel said.

Woods, who is also a Journalism senior, plans to pursue a career in sports reporting and ultimately work for a major outlet like ESPN. He is currently the sports director for U92, the University’s student-run radio station, and has been one of the primary play-by-play announcers for soccer, basketball and baseball.

“I’m extremely humbled to be chosen to anchor both shows,” Woods said. “While I know it will be a tricky balance, I’m confident that it will prepare me well for my career. I am looking forward to being able to experience what it is like to work in a professional newsroom.”

Wiggs, a Sports and Adventure Media major, has also spent time at WVU in radio. He is the program director for U92 and has called soccer, basketball and baseball games.  

“I know being a versatile broadcaster is necessary to make it into the industry,” said Wiggs. “I’ve always wanted to work in radio, and I’m excited for the experience TV can give me to potentially further my career.”

WVU News anchors stand together

"WVU News" anchors from left to right: Daniel Woods, Jessica Riley, Sophia Pisano, Ali McDaniel, and Alexandra Bunn.

“WVU News” reporters cover events on the University campus and in the Morgantown community. Students report, write, shoot and edit television news stories for the program. They also serve as on-air anchors, producers, directors and technical crew during newscast tapings at WVU’s professional television studio.

“WVU News” is part of the Advanced Television Reporting and Producing course taught by Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Teaching Professor Gina Dahlia, who serves as the program’s executive producer. The newscast airs statewide on West Virginia Public Broadcasting as part of “Campus Connection” on Sundays.

Since 2015, “WVU News” has received more than 100 national, international and regional juried awards. “WVU News” was a national Emmy top-three finalist in 2017 and 2012 and received an Emmy first place national win in 2015.

Mountaineer Playbook anchors stand around a newsdesk

"Mountaineer Playbook" newscast from left to right: Frank McConnell, Sophia Pisano, Daniel Woods, Sara Brinsfield, Camren Gandee, Luke Wiggs, Nicole Hirasek, and Chuck Scatterday.

“Mountaineer Playbook” is the capstone course for the College’s Sports and Adventure Media major and is taught by Shott Teaching Assistant Professor Chuck Scatterday, who serves as the show’s executive producer. The student-produced show was added to the College’s curriculum in 2021 and focuses on sports video reporting and production and includes in-the-field reporting, in-the-studio camera operations, live directing and producing to cover all 17 Division I WVU athletic teams.  

“Mountaineer Playbook” has a working relationship with ESPNU, as well as a partnership with WVU Athletics and the Big 12 Conference, including Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Through an agreement between the City of Morgantown and the College of Media, Morgantown residents can watch “Mountaineer Playbook” on Comcast Channel 15 and 1084 on Mondays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  

Past episodes of “WVU News” and “Mountaineer Playbook” can be viewed at  mediacollegenewscast.wvu.edu and  mediacollegenewscast.wvu.edu/mountaineer-playbook, respectively.

The full list of student assignments for spring 2022 includes:

“WVU News” Full Newscast

Ali McDaniel – Main Anchor; Westover/Star City Beat

Daniel Woods – Main Anchor; Education/Consumer Beat

Alexandra Bunn – Social Square Anchor; Social Square/Non-Profit Beat

Sophia Pisano – Sports Anchor

Jessica Riley – COVID/Data Viz Anchor  

Chloe Snodgrass – Producer

John Keehan – Assistant Producer/Director; WVU Campus Beat

Dustin Cothern – Assistant Producer; Government/Economic Development Beat; Technical Director

Andrew Nogowski – Sports Beat

Carli Berkhouse – Health/Medical/Recreation Beat

Lauren Farnsworth – Police/Fire/Courts/Crimes Beat

Gillian Wanosky – Teleprompter, Graduate Assistan

Claire O’Neil – Floor Director, Teaching Assistant  

Jensen Mills – Web Producer


“Mountaineer Playbook” Full Newscast

Daniel Woods – Main Anchor, Spring Football Beat

Luke Wiggs – Main Anchor, Baseball Beat

Sophia Pisano – Player of the Week Anchor, Tennis Beat

Sara Brinsfield – Producer

Camren Gandee – Director, Rifle Beat

Corey Jackson – Associate Producer, Men’s Basketball Beat

Rachel Davis – Floor Director, Women’s Basketball Beat  

Natalie Barrett – Technical Director, Volleyball/Spring Football Beat

Connor Taylor – Audio/Sound/Mics, Men’s Basketball Beat

Spenser Sheffield – Audio/Sound/Mics, Rowing Beat

Liam Belan – Graphics, Men’s and Women’s Soccer Beat

Seth Seebaugh – Digital Playback, Gymnastics Beat

Chance Pickens – Camera, Women’s Basketball Beat

Sheryce Gabriel – Camera, Wrestling Beat

Nicole Hirasek – Camera/Player of the Week Producer, Swimming & Diving Beat

Frank McConnell - Camera/Player of the Week Producer, Golf Beat

Shaheen Noorzai – Teleprompter, Spring Football Beat

Jade Ruggieri – Production Coordinator/Social Media Assistant