“I’m Just Rebekah” — GWU Student Marvels at Recent Achievement

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Senior Rebekah Rausch Contributes Video Segment on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University students are often offered once in a lifetime, unique educational opportunities outside of the classroom.  Such was the case for GWU communication studies major Rebekah Rausch, who became a video contributor for a national news outlet following a series of fortunate events.

Four Gardner-Webb journalism students, including Rausch, recently participated in a multimedia workshop for the Baptist Press.  They covered various aspects of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), held in New Orleans.

As part of the multimedia workshop, students used their photography and videography skills to create multimedia stories covering aspects of the SBC annual meeting, including the election of the organization’s first African-American president, Fred Luter.   Rausch’s video piece on Luter caught the attention of officials at ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

Dr. Bob Carey, GWU communication studies department chair, served as an advisor and chaperone on the trip.  He was contacted by officials at ABC as they worked to get permission to use Rausch’s video.  They intended to feature Luter as their “Person of the Week.”

Rausch was getting on the plane to go home when she realized that she had a missed call from Carey.  She checked her voicemail immediately. “Dr. Carey said that he really needed to talk to me about something. I thought, ‘Oh shoot! What did I do wrong? Did I leave my camera?’ I was freaking out,” reflected Rausch.

She returned his call and learned that ABC wanted to use her video footage of Luter.  “It’s really indescribable,” Rausch said.  “I’m just Rebekah, and ABC World News with Diane Sawyer used my video. It was all very surreal to think about.”

Carey was also surprised by the call. “I was excited for Rebekah. I knew that the Frank Luter story was going to be big, but I really was not expecting for him to be person of the week for ABC News,” he said.

Rausch and her family gathered around the television to watch the show. “I was trying not to freak out because I did not want to be disappointed if my video was not used,” she recalled.  “We were watching the story, and they were showing all these video clips of Luter and I was thinking, ‘None this video is mine!’ Then all of a sudden I saw my video. I yelled, ‘That’s mine! That’s mine!’”

In humility, Rausch points to God’s favor as a key reason for her being in the right place at the right time.  “The Lord has been good to me,” Rebekah said. “He has put me in positions, such as being able to attend the SBC, where I was blessed with opportunities and received recognition for my work.”