By: Jabria Roscoe

UMTV’s The Culture, the station’s first black show, now becomes the first black program at the University of Miami to be nominated for a Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Student Production Award (NATAS). NATAS recognizes excellence and outstanding achievement in television and student production.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Wow, we did it!’”, said UM senior and executive producer of The Culture, Rachel Smith. “When we started the show it was just an idea, so this is huge.”

The Culture has gone from an idea to a NATAS nominated television show. Faculty advisor and UM alumnus, Winston Warrior, says he immediately saw the potential that The Culture had. “I could see how the show could become the voice of black UM,” Warrior said. “It’s been amazing to see them bring their idea to fruition.”

The Culture is the first and only show of its kind at UMTV to be nominated for an award of this caliber. Smith says that the journey hasn’t always been easy, but the outcome is worth it.

“When you believe in something you have to do it,” Smith said. “My cousin wants to study journalism in college and when she watched the show it was the first-time, she was able to see people that looked just like her. It wasn’t easy, but as time has gone on people have been able to see how important the show is.”

Co-creator and executive producer, Kristion Matas says when he created The Culture with Rachel Smith, they just wanted to make a show from their own perspective. “We never created our show to get awards, it happened organically,” Matas said. “We always do what we’re passionate about and we put the students first.”

The Culture is nominated in the Magazine Program category for the season four episode that discussed Simone Biles, Kanye West, and the controversial n-word. Behind the production is an entire team of talent who Smith says she is super proud of.

“They’re the most talented people in the world,” Smith said.

While Smith and Mata’s time with UMTV is now coming to a close, they cherish the family they have built on set. They both graduated May 2020.

“I’m going to miss it because I’ve never been in a family dynamic like that,” Matas said.

The Culture has left a legacy behind that will likely break barriers for future shows. Warrior says he’s honored to have been a part of it.

“The show will continue to last beyond my years. The legacy will continue. They had the insight and the vision at the sophomore level to come up with the show and the School of Communication embraced it. It says a lot about our school,” Warrior said.

UMTV shows received six nominations for Student Production Awards in the following categories: Newscast; News: General Assignment- Light News; Long Form- Fiction; Sports Program; and Director. The Suncoast Chapter of the NATAS Student Production Awards will be live-streamed on Sunday, May 24, 2020, at 7 p.m.

Below is the list of UMTV nominees:


NewsVision: MSD One Year After Massacre

Tommy Fletcher, Justin Stevens, Jenna Weiss, Rebekah Chung,
Erika Orstad, Ben Ezzy, Madison Brown, Breana Ross
Advisor: Boriana Treadwell
University of Miami/UMTV, Miami, FL


Zoe’s Dolls
Madison Brown
Advisor: Boriana Treadwell
University of Miami/UMTV, Miami, FL


Hitting Home
David Perez, Josh White, Amanda Fuentes,
Gianna Sanchez, Jenna Weiss
Advisor: Trevor Green
University of Miami/UMTV, Miami, FL


Gianna Sanchez, Valerie Ferrante, Danyel De Villiers
Advisor: Ed Julbe
University of Miami/UMTV, Miami, FL


The Culture – Season 4 Episode 3
Rachel Smith, Kristion Matas, Jayda Graham
Advisor: Winston Warrior
University of Miami/UMTV, Miami, FL


NewsVision: 10/24/2019 Show
Ben Ezzy
Advisor: Boriana Treadwell
University of Miami/UMTV, Miami, FL