Jessi Crino recently was awarded an Emmy she can proudly display, although she is very quick to explain "it's only a regional one." The Emmy came from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Heartland Chapter. The chapter encompasses Colorado, Kansas, Alaska and Oklahoma.
The award winning program was "A Conversation with ... George Henderson" originally broadcast in February of 2011 by OETA (Oklahoma Educational Television Authority.) "A Conversation With..." is an interview program featuring notable Oklahoma residents.
Reached by telephone to discuss her achievement, Crino talked about her background. She graduated from Dunkirk High School in 1999 and then from Pepperdine University in California in 2003 with a degree in television and theater production. Her parents are Dominic Crino of Dunkirk and Pauline Burbee of Fredonia.
Former Dunkirk resident Jessi Crino recently received a regional Emmy award for her work on “A Conversation with...George Henderson” a program produced by OETA (Oklahoma Educational Television Authority). The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Heartland Chapter honored the program in the category of Interview/Discussion. Pictured left to right are: Producer Mickie Smith, Writer/Host Dick Pryor, and Crino who served as Associate Producer of this show.
Asked how she happened to move to Oklahoma, Crino said, "After graduating from college, I, like many other graduates, did not have a job. A number of my friends were from Oklahoma and were going back. ... The cost of living is much more affordable here (as compared to California)."
Three months later, she landed a job at OETA where she has been working for about eight years. OETA is the public television station that serves the entire state of Oklahoma.
Her job title is Senior Director and she is one of two in that position. "I direct the local shows and direct live broadcasts. I do a bunch of editing. I take care of promos, making the national ones local. We're a small crew so I do a lot of different things," Crino explained.
For the award winning show, Crino served as the function of associate producer.
The subject of the program was George Henderson who became a professor at Oklahoma University in 1967 and retired in 2006. An African-American, he was advised by his mentor not to take a job in "a small redneck school in a backward state."
When Henderson arrived in Norman, Oklahoma where the university was located, it was a "sundown town" which meant that blacks were not welcome to be seen after dark. In fact, Henderson had difficulty buying a home in the community whose realtors had an unwritten pact not to sell to a black. Henderson did buy a home from realtors Sam and Sally Matthews, whom he called "unsung heroes." The Matthews suffered for their decision, losing their business. Henderson stayed in the community, adhered to Martin Luther King Jr's philosophy of non-violent change, and helped to effect change in the culture.
The video of the broadcast can be viewed from OETA's website www.OETA.tv.
As for Crino, she plans to stay at her present job for awhile. She has developed a keener interest in historical things because of her work. "I wasn't that interested in history before but that is mostly what we do here," she said referring to the programs she has a hand in.
As for a long term goal, Crino would eventually like to go back to school to become a technician in Nuclear Medicine.
Crino lives in Oklahoma City and finds it interesting to compare the differences in culture between it and Dunkirk. "They sometimes call me a blue stater here," she said.
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