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2024 Student Scholarship Winners

The Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas presented two Dr. John R. Bittner Scholarships at its annual student workshop on February 10, 2024.

The 2024 recipients are Samantha Hoffman at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Zane Heinlein at the University of South Carolina in Columbia SC. (Learn more about each winner below.)

Each year, RTDNAC awards a $2000 scholarship each to a North Carolina and a South Carolina college student majoring in a field connected to the news industry.

The RTDNAC Scholarships have been named for the late Dr. John R. Bittner, RTDNAC’s first executive manager and a member of the faculty in the journalism school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Funding for the scholarships has been provided by Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL, Hearst Television Inc./WYFF4 and the RTDNAC Board of Directors.


North Carolina Recipient

Samantha Hoffman is a junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is pursuing a double major in Media and Journalism and Environmental Studies.

Samantha has been a Dean’s List student since the fall of 2021. Outside of the classroom, Samantha has been active in campus media productions. Those include SPORTS XTRA, Carolina Week and Carolina Connection. She has gained experience on both sides of the camera, as well as studio and field work for all three programs.

Samantha spent the first six months of 2023 enrolled in a Journalism program at the University of London. This program afforded her the opportunity to cover “Fashion Week” in the spring of that year.

Samantha has experience as a documentary production intern with Ethereal Films in NC (2022). Also In 2022, she served as a reporter for UNC’s Institute for the Environment.


South Carolina Recipient

Zane Heinlein is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.

Zane has been an active member of the Garnet Media Group since 2021. The Group includes the TV news operation for the campus half-hour newscast. He has held a number of positions there including producer and news director. He also produces content for WUSC-FM, video material for the Garnet & Black Magazine as well as producing and hosting a podcast. 

During the course of his campus work, Zane has completed four producing internships, including WBTV in his hometown of Charlotte and WIS-TV and WACH Fox 57 in Columbia. He also produced a weekly show and 10 live broadcasts at the Seacrest Studios at Atrium Health in Charlotte.

Zane has been awarded the SC Broadcasters Association Scholarship for 2023-2024, and the Charles Bierbauer Scholarship for 2023-2024.

Previous scholarship winners

Click here to see the list.