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USU Journalists Dominate Annual Regional Mark of Excellence Awards

Thursday, Apr. 19, 2012

USU journalism students with awards
USU journalism students Dan Smith (left) and Rhett Wilkinson show off the 17 Mark of Excellence Awards for Aggie journalists presented at the regional Society of Professional Journalists conference. (Matthew LaPlante photo from Hard News Café)
Society of Professional Journalists logo
(logo illustration from Hard News Café website)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.


USU Journalists Dominate Annual Regional Mark of Excellence Awards


The Hard News Café, Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Utah 4-year college journalists dominated this year’s Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence Award competition, collecting more than half the honors awarded to colleges and universities across the four-state region.


Of the 83 prizes for the best student journalism in the Intermountain West region of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, Utah collected 43 Mark of Excellence Awards in 32 categories, including newspaper, photojournalism, TV, radio, online and magazine journalism appearing during 2011.


Full listing of Region 9 SPJ Mark of Excellence winners


The honorees were awarded certificates Saturday [April 14, 2012] during the Region 9 SPJ Spring Conference at the Tivoli Student Union in Denver. First-place regional winners advance to the national round of judging. National winners will be announced in late April.


Utah State University dominated the competition with a total of 17 MoE Awards, including six first-place prizes. The Hard News Café was named the best independent online student news “publication.”


• Related stories on Mark of Excellence presentation and the professional category — Top of the Rockies


Among other Utah universities, BYU won nine awards, including six firsts; the University of Utah won eight, including two firsts; Weber State has five, including three firsts; and Southern Utah University won four awards, all first-place.




USU (17 awards)
1st = 6; 2nd = 6 3rd = 5

Best Independent Online Student Publication
• First Place: Hard News Café (hardnewscafe.usu.edu), Utah State University

Online Feature Reporting
• First Place: JCOM prof is no-nonsense, respected, loved, sometimes ‘dreaded’ – by Shirrel Cooper, Utah State University
• Second Place: From Africa to the WNBA, Logan couple works to help Senegal – by Daniel Smith, Utah State University
• Third Place: Ten years later: Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11 – by Heidi Hansen, Utah State University

Online In-Depth Reporting
• Second Place: USU Gay-Lesbian Center regroups as longtime director departs – by Daniel Whitney Smith, Utah State University
• Third Place: College grads seek other options with fewer jobs in struggling economy – by Mandy Morgan, Utah State University

Online News Reporting
• Second Place: ‘Mingi’: Lournalists bring the story of Ethiopian infanticide to USU – by Heidi Hansen, Utah State University
• Third Place: Half-naked, accepting and proud: Undie Run Utahans are not uptight – by Heidi Hansen and Cathy Morgan, Utah State University

Online Opinion and Commentary
• First Place (3-way tie): Stephen Worthington, Max Parker Dahl and Jakob Asplund, Utah State University
• Second Place: Ben Zaritsky, Utah State University

Feature Writing
• Third Place: Day Trippin’: Leave holiday stress, catch North Pole Express in Heber – by Allie Jeppson, Utah State University

General Column Writing
• Third Place: Daniel Whitney Smith, Utah State University

In-Depth Reporting
• Second Place: Utah’s wage gap between men and women largest in nation – by Daniel Whitney Smith, Utah State University

Sports Writing
• First Place: Across the pond, Aggie legends together once again – by Rhett Wilkinson, Utah State University

Television General News Reporting
• Second Place: Dump truck accident – by Britta Anderson, Utah State University


BYU (9 awards)
1st = 6; 2nd = 1 3rd = 1

Photo Illustration
• Third Place: Shelter from the storm – by Chris Bunker, Brigham Young University

Sports Photography
• First Place: Apo scores touchdown!! – by Luke Hansen, Brigham Young University

Editorial Writing
• Second Place: Jade McDowell, Brigham Young University

Feature Writing
• Second Place: On the Rebound: Cougar student and basketball player Kaufusi fighting strong against her cancer – by Brooke Ward, Brigham Young University

Radio In-depth Reporting
• First Place: Forgotten by technology, again – by Brian Grimmett, Brigham Young University

Radio News Reporting
• First Place: Hunting for poachers – by Brian Grimmett, Brigham Young University

Television Feature Reporting
• First Place: Mock disaster make-up – by Jenne Anderson, Brigham Young University
• Second Place: Dig this – by Anna Hayes, Brigham Young University

Television General News Reporting
• First Place: Fishing vs. fashion – by Anna Hayes, Brigham Young University

Television Sports Reporting
• First Place: What’s a Libero? – by Christine Assily, Brigham Young University


University of Utah (8 awards)
1st = 2; 2nd = 4 3rd = 2

Feature Photography
• First Place: Games fuse athletics, services – by Richard Payson, University of Utah
• Second Place: Inversion models could help predict formations – by Richard Payson, University of Utah

Sports Photography
• Second Place: Football: The slump continues as a depleted offense strains Ute defense – by Nathan Sweet, University of Utah

Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper
• Second Place: The Daily Utah Chronicle, University of Utah

Breaking News Reporting
• Third Place: Two women groped Friday – by Lindsey Wilbur, University of Utah

General News Reporting
• First Place: U student organizes protest at Chick-fil-A – by Nic Dunn, University of Utah

Sports Column Writing
• Second Place: Jake Hibbard, University of Utah

Sports Writing
• Third Place: Football: Utes’ loss breaks hearts – by Matthew (Bubba) Brown, University of Utah


Weber (5 awards)
1st = 3; 2nd = 1 3rd = 1

Breaking News Reporting
• First Place: Blown Over – by Spencer Garn, Weber State University
• Second Place: Millner to pledge raise – by Spencer Garn, Weber State University

Editorial Writing
• Third Place: The Signpost staff, Weber State University

Best Affiliated Web Site
• Third Place: The Signpost (www.wsusignpost.com), Weber State University

General Column Writing
• First Place: Kory Wood, Weber State University

Best All-Around Television Newscast
• First Place: Weber State News, Weber State University


SUU (4 awards)
1st = 4

Editorial Writing
• First Place: The University Journal Editorial Board, Southern Utah University

Best Affiliated Web Site
• First Place: SUU News (www.suunews.com), Southern Utah University

Online News Reporting
• First Place: “The Dream of Helen” dance drama – by Sarah Webber and Matthew Montgomery, Southern Utah University

Online Sports Reporting
• First Place: Injured seniors provide leadership to SUU gymnastics team – by Carter Williams, Southern Utah University


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