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Cronkite School wins EPPY Award for sixth time

News21, Hate In America

Hearst Foundation Fellow Scott Bourque shoots photos for the award-winning Carnegie-Knight News21 investigation "Hate in America."

October 31, 2018

For the sixth time in seven years, an in-depth journalism project produced by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has won a prestigious EPPY Award from Editor & Publisher magazine.

Carnegie-Knight News21’s “Hate in America,” an investigation into hate crimes, won for best college/university investigative/documentary report. The EPPY Awards recognize the best media-affiliated websites across 31 categories, including three that honor excellence in college and university journalism.

Headquartered at the Cronkite School, News21 is a multimedia reporting initiative established by the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that top journalism students can produce groundbreaking reporting on major national topics and present their findings in innovative ways.

For “Hate in America,” 38 students from 19 universities traveled more than 7,000 miles across 36 states and interviewed nearly 300 people. They produced 11 stories and a blog, shot hundreds of photos and produced both a documentary and five-episode podcast. They also partnered with ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project to collect, report and research incidents.

The project was led by News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.

“Every year, I’m awed by the talent and courage shown by News21 reporters who scour the country to tell compelling and important stories,” Petchel said. “But this year, in particular, they successfully tackled an incredibly tough topic that required them to interview and document the views of extremists, and, in many cases, outright racists. That a group of students so adeptly maneuvered uncomfortable situations makes me incredibly proud and grateful that so many universities and donors support them as the future of journalism.”

Other faculty who worked with students on the project include Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post and Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Cronkite, and Sarah Cohen, the former New York Times data editor who serves at the Knight Chair in Data Journalism.

Previous News21 EPPY-winning projects include investigations into voting rights in both 2016 and 2012, the growing heroin epidemic in Arizona in 2015, gun rights and regulations in 2014 and a 2013 investigation into the battles facing post-9/11 veterans.

Also in the 2018 EPPY Awards, Cronkite News, the Cronkite School’s student-produced news operation of Arizona PBS, was named a finalist in best college/university news for “17 lives, 17 minutes,” chronicling National Walkout Day, which commemorated the one-month mark of the February high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

EPPY Award entries were judged by a panel of nearly 50 professionals in the media industry chosen by Editor & Publisher staff.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program. Individual fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists, including The Arizona Republic, The Dallas Morning News, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Knight Foundation, Murray Endowment, Myrta J. Pulliam and John and Patty Williams. Fellows also are supported by gifts honoring the legacies of photographer Charles Cushman and Irish crime reporter Veronica Guerin.

Cronkite School EPPY Award-winning Projects

2018:  “Hate in America”

2016:  “Voting Wars”

2015:  “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona”

2014:  “Gun Wars”

2013:  “Back Home”

2012:  “Who Can Vote?”

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