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CNN’s Joann Sierra ’85 Wins in WHNPA’s 2016 Eyes of History Contest

Joann Sierra with other 2016 Eyes of History winners in Oval Office

Joann Sierra, near the front center in the purple dress, with other winners of the 2016 Eyes of History video contest in the Oval Office with President Obama

Joann Sierra in Press Room Briefing 2016

Joann during a White House press briefing before her Oval Office visit

Senior editor and producer at CNN, Joann Sierra ’85 won two first-place awards in the White House News Photographers Association’s 2016 Eyes of History video contest.

First-place winners are invited to the Oval Office to meet the president, and this was the third trip for Joann, also a top winner in 2013 and 2015.

This year, she won in the Day Feature category for the segment “Investigating the Bible,” about Yale scholars who study early fragments of the Bible, and in the Sports category for “Super Super Bowl,” about the NFL’s popularity despite outrage over recent scandals. She took second place in Audio for “Herds Not Herbicides,” about the use of goats rather than chemicals to clear out invasive plant species.

Joann Sierra with President Obama 2016

Joann greeting President Obama during her 2015 visit to the Oval Office. “We actually spoke about rowing,” she said. “It turns out First Lady Michelle Obama took private sculling lessons and really enjoyed it.” (Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson)

She also won an Award of Excellence in the Editing Long Form category for “Inside the Paris Attack.” (See links below.)

“It was a great honor to represent CNN and to be one of the few women who placed first this year,” she said.

President Obama’s meeting with winners of the Eyes of History contest made the West Wing Week video series for the week of April 22, 2016.

Last year, Joann won a National Press Photographers Association award, placing second for Best of Photojournalism in the category TV Editing under Deadline for her “ Hidden Picasso” piece.

A decorated rower, Joann won a silver medal last year in the US Masters national rowing competition in the category lightweight four with coxswain.

Joann Sierra in a double scull

Joann, in front, in a double scull

She competes in doubles and in sweep boats, often as the rower who sets the boat’s pace.

At CNN, Joann works with 2010 IUP Distinguished Alumni Award winner John Bodnar ’83, also a past winner in the Eyes of History contest. See their most recent collaboration: “ Extra Chromosome Lets Us Eat Oysters Year Round.”

Joann is married to Javier Sierra ’86.

Joann Sierra with John Bodnar

Coworkers at CNN: Joann with John Bodnar after their 2013 visit to the Oval Office

2016 Eyes of History Winning Videos

Joann Sierra accepting 2016 Eyes of History award, with Whitney Shefte

Joann Sierra accepting a 2016 Eyes of History contest award from White House News Photographers Association President Whitney Shefte, of the Washington Post