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ASU alumnus wins prestigious national visual journalism award

Aaron Lavinsky

ASU alumnus Aaron Lavinsky is the recipient of a top photojournalism honor from the National Press Photographers Association.

March 25, 2016

Aaron Lavinsky, a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won a prestigious honor from one of the nation’s top visual journalism organizations.

Lavinsky, a photographer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, took first place in the sports multimedia package category at the National Press Photographers Association's 2016 Best of Photojournalism Multimedia contest, beating out The New York Times and ESPN.

Judges awarded him first place for his photographs and video for “Hope on the Range,” an in-depth multimedia story profiling 44 young men in a remote region of Minnesota chasing the elusive dream of playing big-time college football. Lavinsky said he spent three months on the project, traveling north to Virginia, Minn., nearly 200 miles away from the Star Tribune’s newsroom.

At the Cronkite School, Lavinsky was a standout photographer, winning the school’s top photojournalism honor, the Greg Crowder Memorial Photojournalism Award. The annual honor was established by Troy and Betsy Crowder of Chandler, Arizona, in memory of their late son, 1980 Cronkite graduate Greg Crowder.

“It underscores the impact of philanthropy when we see our alumni being honored as professionals whose good work was recognized by donor-driven scholarship awards when they were students,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School.

As a student, Lavinsky also won first place in both feature and general news photography in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards in 2013 and was named Arizona College Photographer of the Year by the Arizona Press Club in 2012. He held photo internships at The Seattle Times and was a Pulliam Fellowship at The Arizona Republic. At his graduation, he won one of the school’s Outstanding Undergraduate Awards.

“We are so proud of Aaron’s success,” Callahan said. “Even as a student he showed exceptional talent, evidenced by his many awards and honors. We are thrilled for him and couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate this deserving honor.”

Lavinsky, who joined the Star Tribune in 2014, said the faculty and classes at the Cronkite School open the door to many opportunities. “The Cronkite School has a great network that can get you in places where you can really learn the industry,” he said.

The NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism Multimedia contest recognizes the best visual journalism being produced online or for mobile delivery. There were approximately 1,000 multimedia project entries in this year's contest.

The NPPA is a leading journalism organization, dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism — its creation, practice, training, editing and distribution — in all news media and works to promote its role as a vital public service.

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