SOURCE: Society of Professional Journalists

May 19, 2008 12:35 ET

SPJ Announces 2007 Mark of Excellence Award National Winners

INDIANAPOLIS, IN--(Marketwire - May 19, 2008) - The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce the national winners of the 2007 Mark of Excellence Awards. This year, collegiate journalists submitted more than 3,400 entries in 39 categories.

"I encourage media executives who are looking for the next wave of high-quality journalists to pay attention to the winners of SPJ's Mark of Excellence Awards," said Neil Ralston, SPJ's Vice President for Campus Chapter Affairs. "These young men and women represent some of the best that journalism programs have to offer, and we're proud to be able to honor them at the national level."

National winners were previously recognized by receiving first place in one of the Society's 12 regional competitions. A complete list of winners and finalists can be found below.

National winners and finalists will be recognized Friday, Sept. 5 at the Mark of Excellence Luncheon, which occurs during the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

For additional information on the Mark of Excellence Awards or the Society, please contact Heather Porter at 317-927-8000 ext. 204.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation's most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For further information about SPJ, please visit

The 2007 Mark of Excellence National Winners/Finalists Are:

Breaking News Reporting

--  National Winner: The Commonwealth Times Staff, Virginia Commonwealth
    University, "Virginia Tech Massacre"
--  National Finalist: Meaghan Peters & Camden Swita, University of
    Washington, "UW staff member slain in Gould Hall"
--  National Finalist: Claire St. Amant & Melissa Limmer, Baylor University,
    "SoulForce members arrested"

General News Reporting

--  National Winner: Ryan Kost, Arizona State University, "State tries to
    treat hospital violence"
--  National Finalist: The Red & Black Staff, University of Georgia,
    "Pharmacy Scandal"
--  National Finalist: Jessica Sondgeroth, University of Texas at Austin,
    "Student Financial Aid Scandal"

In-Depth Reporting

--  National Winner: Katherine Harmon, University of Missouri-Columbia,
    "Murky Waters:  Current Woes"
--  National Finalist: Jeremy Herb, Santa Clara University, "Santa Clara's
    Underground Coke Scene"
--  National Finalist: Journalism Student Team, Tarleton State University,
    "Police records show multiple assaults"

Feature Writing

--  National Winner: Alex Stawinski, Central Michigan University, "The
    Power of Touch"
--  National Finalist: Sarah Neff, University of Kansas, "Brother Jed:
--  National Finalist: Jared Fields, Abilene Christian University, "Living to

Sports Writing

--  National Winner: CJ Moore, University of Kansas, "Blowing Smoke"
--  National Finalist: Mark Viera, The Pennsylvania State University, "Life
    After Football"
--  National Finalist: Bill Oram, The University of Montana, "Bobby's World"

Editorial Writing

--  National Winner: Aaron Zundel, University of Utah
--  National Finalist: The Gatepost Staff, Framingham State College
--  National Finalist: Petra Hendrickson, Indiana State University

Editorial Cartooning

--  National Winner: Phil Hands, University of Wisconsin-Madison
--  National Finalist: Samuel Ayres, Yale University
--  National Finalist: Philip Cannon, University of Utah

General Column Writing

--  National Winner: Jenna Lo Castro, John Carroll University, "Lo
    Castro's Lowdown"
--  National Finalist: Imani Jackson, Grambling State University
--  National Finalist: T.J. Tranchell, University of Idaho

Sports Column Writing

--  National Winner: Brandon Scheller, Washington State University
--  National Finalist: Mark Dent, University of Kansas
--  National Finalist: Dylan Farmer, Rice University

Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper (published at least 4 times per week)

--  National Winner: Staff, Iowa State University, "Iowa State Daily"
--  National Finalist: Staff, University of Utah, "Daily Utah Chronicle"
--  National Finalist: Staff, Michigan State University, "The State News"

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper (published less than 4 times per week)

--  National Winner: Staff, George Washington University, "The GW Hatchet"
--  National Finalist: Staff, Ithaca College, "The Ithacan"
--  National Finalist: Staff, Central Michigan University, "Central Michigan

Magazine Non-Fiction Article

--  National Winner: Justine Blanchard, Drake University, "A Shot in the
--  National Finalist: Anupreeta Das, Boston University, "The Search for
--  National Finalist: Edwin Okong'o, University of California, Berkeley,
    "The Day I Became a Man"

Best Student Magazine

--  National Winner: Staff, Indiana University at Bloomington, "INside
--  National Finalist: Staff, Michigan State University, "EJ Magazine"
--  National Finalist: Staff, Texas Christian University, "Image"

Breaking News Photography

--  National Winner: Alberto Halpern, American University, "Protesters
    confront Rove post-speech"
--  National Finalist: Doug Greenwood, University of Utah, "Breakdown"
--  National Finalist: Mollie Pritchett, The Pennsylvania State University,
    "The Strongest Link"

General News Photography

--  National Winner: Maggie Shuttlesworth, The Pennsylvania State
    University, "Alcohol Patrol"
--  National Finalist: Tri Vo, The University of Texas at Austin, "USC Exacts
--  National Finalist: Keith Smiley, University of Kentucky, "Phelps wins SG

Feature Photography

--  National Winner:  Megan Nesper, The Pennsylvania State University,
    "Chemo therapy patient"
--  National Finalist: Shane Bauer, University of California, Berkeley,
    "Scorched Earth:  Rebellion and Refuge in Darfur"
--  National Finalist: Patrick Smith, Towson University, "Surprise Snowfall"

Photo Illustration

--  National Winner: Dave Hochandel, The University of Toledo, "Dealing
    with Flu Season"
--  National Finalist: Kim Peterson, University of Utah, "Full Twisting Flip"
--  National Finalist: Stacy Bengs, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities,
    "Smoking Ban"

Sports Photography

--  National Winner: Ashley Wilkerson, Jay Seawell, Geoffrey Miller &
    Aaron Bernstein, Indiana University at Bloomington, "2007 Little 500 Bike
--  National Finalist: Nate Chute, Whitworth University, "Blocked"
--  National Finalist: Joshua Sykes, The Pennsylvania State University,
    "Gymnastics jubilation"

Radio News Reporting

--  National Winner: Catherine Wolf, University of Missouri-Columbia,
    "Teens Behind the Wheel"
--  National Finalist: Miles Doran, University of Florida, "Don't Tase me
--  National Finalist: Dustin Gardiner, University of Utah, "U, Gun Activists
    at odds again"

Radio Feature

--  National Winner: Carolyn Carver, Arizona State University, "Girl Scout
    Prison Program"
--  National Finalist: Elizabeth Langton, University of Missouri-Columbia,
    "Hunting for Tradition"
--  National Finalist: Adam Swank, Texas State University-San Marcos,

Radio In-Depth Reporting

--  National Winner: WILL Radio Staff, University of Illinois, "China:
    Beyond the Great Wall"
--  National Finalist: Mills College Public Radio 2007, Mills College, "The
    Drop Out Dilemma"
--  National Finalist: Adam Rhew, University of North Carolina at Chapel
    Hill, "Davina Jones Shooting"

Radio Sports Reporting

--  National Winner: Walter Storholt, University of North Carolina at
    Chapel Hill, "Running Blind"
--  National Finalist:  Dan Boyce, The University of Montana, "Table Tennis
--  National Finalist: Elena Garcia, Brigham Young University, "BYU

Radio Newscast

--  National Winner: WRUF Radio Staff, University of Florida, "Front Page
    on the Air"
--  National Finalist: Newscenter 88 Team, Marshall University, "The 5:00 PM
    Edition of Newscenter 88"
--  National Finalist: WMUC Radio Staff, University of Maryland, "Terp Weekly

Television Breaking News Reporting

--  National Winner: Erika Taillole, Arizona State University, "Memorial
    Union Fire"
--  National Finalist: Mark Olexik, University of North Carolina at Chapel
    Hill, "Crane Accident"
--  National Finalist: Crystal Hall, University of Texas at Austin, "Tuition

Television General News Reporting

--  National Winner: Jason Lamb, University of Missouri-Columbia, "The
    Back to School Staple"
--  National Finalist: Ashley Porter & Richard Feindel, Emerson College,
    "Striving for Safety"
--  National Finalist: Kenneth Seiden, University of North Dakota, "Flood"

Television Feature

--  National Winner:  James Everetts, Kent State University, "S-Chip"
--  National Finalist:  Jason Lamb, University of Missouri-Columbia, "The
    Secret to a Long Life"
--  National Finalist: Sarah Moore, University of Arkansas, "Orrery"

Television In-Depth Reporting

--  National Winner:  Class of 2007, The University of Montana, "Beyond
    the Myths:  Growing up in Montana"
--  National Finalist: Ben Phillips, Karly Pence & Kevin Wilt, Michigan State
    University, "Dying to be Heard"
--  National Finalist:  Cronkite NewsWatch, Arizona State University, "MU
    Fire Coverage"

Television Sports Reporting

--  National Winner: Brandon Gondeiro & Alex Krigsvold, The University of
    Montana, "Ping Pong"
--  National Finalist: Mark Olexik, University of North Carolina at Chapel
    Hill, "Swimmer Story"
--  National Finalist: Davis Federspiel, DePauw University, "Roller Derby"

Television News Photography

--  National Winner: Jennifer Carpenter, University of North Carolina at
    Chapel Hill, "Davina Jones"
--  National Finalist: Nikki Rowley, Arizona State University, "Phoenix
--  National Finalist: Steve Kuzj, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities,
    "Wakeboarding in the Fall"

Television Feature Photography

--  National Winner: Robert J. Richardson, University of Maryland, "Rowing
--  National Finalist: Irma Murillo, University of Miami, "Dolphins"
--  National Finalist: CTV Staff, Colorado State University, "CSU Hockey
    Tryouts 2006-2007"

Television Sports Photography

--  National Winner: Chelsea Sherier & Veronica Andrews, University of La
    Verne, "Vertical Minds"
--  National Finalist: Nicholas Adam, University of Alabama, "Skate"
--  National Finalist: Brian Fink, Elon University, "Elon vs. Wofford"

Television Newscast

--  National Winner: UTVS Staff, St. Cloud State University, "UTVS News"
--  National Finalist: Cronkite NewsWatch Staff, Arizona State University,
    "Cronkite NewsWatch"
--  National Finalist: Troy University TV Staff, Troy University,
    "TrojanVision Nightly News"

Online News Reporting

--  National Winner: Greg Linch & The Miami Hurricane Staff, University of
    Miami, "The Presidential Forum at UM"
--  National Finalist: Claudia Vargas, The Pennsylvania State University,
    "Pedestrian Plans"
--  National Finalist: Michael Calcagno, University of Oregon, "ASUO

Online Feature Reporting

--  National Winner: Emma Carew, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities,
    "Surviving for today"
--  National Finalist: Hortense M. Barber, Jacqueline Strause & Karen
    Kiley, University of Maryland, "National Cherry Blossom Festival"
--  National Finalist: Ball Bearings Staff, Ball State University, "Camp

Online In-Depth Reporting

--  National Winner: Frontpage Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-
    Milwaukee, "Tarnished Badge"
--  National Finalist: Megan Loiselle, University of Illinois, "Latinos in
--  National Finalist: Andy Balaskovitz, John Allison & Ian Walker, Michigan
    State University, "Pine River Superfund Site"

Online Sports Reporting

--  National Winner: The Independent Florida Alligator Staff, University
    of Florida, "Gators in Glendale"
--  National Finalist: Tony Pizza, University of Utah, "Poinsettia Bowl
    Breaking Coverage"
--  National Finalist:  Andrew Alberg & Jake Sherman, George Washington
    University, "Colonials A-10 Tournament Coverage"

Online Opinion and Commentary

--  National Winner: Derek Thompson, Northwestern University
--  National Finalist: Laura Morgenthau, Boston University
--  National Finalist: Brandon Brown, Appalachian State University

Best Affiliated Web site

--  National Winner: Staff, Kent State University, "CyBurr"
--  National Finalist: Staff, The Pennsylvania State University, "The Daily
    Collegian Online"
--  National Finalist: Staff, University of Maryland, "Maryland Newsline"

Best All-Around Independent Online Student Publication

--  National Winner: JMC 494 Advanced Online Media, Arizona State
    University, "Cronkite Zine:  Spring and Fall 2007"
--  National Finalist: Staff, Washington & Lee University, "Rockbridge
--  National Finalist: Staff, Northwestern University, "North by

Contact Information

    Heather Porter
    Programs Coordinator
    317-927-8000 ext. 204

    Beth King
    Communications Manager
    317-927-8000 ext. 211