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Carnegie-Knight News21 wins second consecutive Student Murrow Award

Elizabeth Sims, an Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow, films at Scott Mills Falls in Scott Mills, Oregon, for Carnegie-Knight News21's investigation into drinking water. Photo by Agnel Philip/News21

July 11, 2018

Carnegie-Knight News21, the multi-university in-depth journalism collaborative based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting for a second consecutive year.

This is the Cronkite School’s fourth Student Murrow Award, more than any school in the country.

The 2018 winners will be recognized at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala on Oct. 22 in New York.

“This national recognition is more than an honor. It's an important testament to the quality of the next generation of journalists at a time when public accountability is more important than ever,” said Jacquee Petchel, Carnegie-Knight News21 Executive Editor.

Troubled Water,” a 2017 multimedia investigation inspired by the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, and produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, featured 29 student journalists from 18 universities.

Student journalists traveled across the country to conduct hundreds of interviews, review thousands of documents, build databases and document the scope of water contamination nationwide. The team also produced a 30-minute documentary.

Among its findings:

• As many as 63 million people were exposed to potentially unsafe water more than once in the past decade.

• American taxpayers have spent $21 billion in cleanup and oversight costs of properties damaged by waste.

• Manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies were among the country’s worst polluters.

• The most prolific water contamination problems persist in small towns, low-income communities and Native American tribal lands.

• Drinking water for millions of Americans was contaminated by nitrates and coliform bacteria found in fertilizers.

The Carnegie-Knight News21 program is an initiative that brings top journalism students from across the country to the Cronkite School to report on an issue of national significance.

In 2017, the Cronkite School was the only journalism program in the country to win multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, capturing the Student Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Newscast as well as for digital reporting with “Voting Wars,” a News21 exploration of voting rights in America.

Previous Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have spotlighted issues ranging from food safety and gun rights and regulations to veterans’ issues and marijuana legalization. The student work is published at and by dozens of news organizations, including The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Center for Public Integrity.

"These projects could not be done without the generosity of our many News21 donors, which allows us to investigate critical issues that many newsrooms can no longer afford to do," Petchel said.

Established in 2015 by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Student Murrow Awards celebrate overall excellence in student journalism at the collegiate and high school levels. Unlike the professional Edward R. Murrow Awards, which are presented to a news organization, the Student Murrows are awarded to individuals in one of five categories — audio newscast, audio reporting, video newscast, video reporting and digital reporting.

The RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in professional journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession. The RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession. Members include local and network news executives, news directors, producers, reporters and digital news professionals as well as educators and students.

2018 Cronkite School/News21 Fellows

Fraser Allen Best, Arizona State University, Hearst Foundations Fellow

Bryan Anderson, Elon University

Macee Beheler, University of Oklahoma, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Bryn Caswell, University of Alabama

Claire Caulfield, Arizona State University, Louis A. “Chip” Weil Fellow

Marie Esquinca, Arizona State University, Ethics and Excellent in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Jordan Houston, American University, Knight Foundation Fellow

Andrea Jaramillo, Arizona State University, Hearst Fellow

Lauren Kaljur, University of British Columbia

Brandon Kitchin, Texas Christian University

Rachel Konieczny, St. Bonaventure University

Jenna Miller, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Amy Malloy, Dublin City University, Veronica Green Independent News & Media Fellow

Elissa Nunez, George Washington University

Fionnuala O’Leary, Dublin City University, Veronica Guerin Dublin City University Fellow

Agnel Phillip, Arizona State University, Don Bolles/Arizona Republic Fellow

William Taylor Potter, Louisiana State University

Alexis Reese, University of North Texas, Dallas Morning News Fellow

Corinne Roels, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Michael Santiago, Syracuse University

Karl Schneider, Kent State University

Elizabeth Sims, University of Oklahoma, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Briana Smith, Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Hofstra University

Jasmine Spearing-Bowen, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Adrienne St. Clair, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Nicole Tyau, Arizona State University, Hearst Foundations Fellow

Jackie Wang, University of Texas

Chelsea Rae Ybanez, Arizona State University, Hearst Foundations Fellow

Bliss Zechman, University of Tennessee, John and Patty Williams Fellow

Past Cronkite School/News21 Student Murrow Winners

2017:  Excellence in Digital Reporting: Arizona State University/News21: “Voting Wars

2017:  Excellence in Video Newscast:  Windsor Smith and Madison Romine: Cronkite News: Feb. 17, 2016

2015:  Excellence in Video:  Erin Patrick O’Connor/News21: “Gun Wars

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