USC professor wins Emmy

Kwame Dawes, poet-in-residence at the University of South Carolina, won an Emmy for his Web-based documentary on HIV in Jamaica, the university announced Tuesday.

Dawes, who grew up in Jamaica and made five return trips there to learn and write about the impact of the virus, was presented with the Emmy during an awards ceremony Monday night at the Lincoln Center in New York.

In a telephone interview from New York, Dawes said being nominated was "nice," but the impact of the project is what has pleased him most.

"I'm pleased when people tell me that it has changed their perspective of HIV/AIDS," he said.

Did he think he would win?

"I was honestly not putting a lot of stock in that," he said, adding that he did not view other nominated projects.

The 47-year-old Dawes, who teaches English at the university, was nominated in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming: Arts, Lifestyle and Culture.

"This is exciting, very exciting," Dawes said. "At the end of the day, the hope is that the inertia about HIV/AIDS and its impact on the world will be challenged by this and other such projects."

Dawes shares the Emmy with executive producer Jon Sawyer, co-producers Nathalie Applewhite and Stephen Sapienza, videojournalist Doug Gritzmacher, photojournalist Joshua Cogan and interactive producer Josh Goldblum.

Dawes and his team produced a Web site, "Hope," which includes poems, photos, videos and music about the people he met in Jamaica.

"I learned a lot about HIV/AIDS - the facts and the figures," Dawes said. "But I also learned about the strength and resiliency of the people battling the disease. That was transformative for me."