Five Cronkite School students named Hearst Award finalists


The Cronkite School has placed in the top 10 in the Hearst Journalism Awards program for 17 consecutive years and has finished in the top five in nine of those years.


Five students from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will be in San Francisco next month competing in the Hearst Awards national championships — tied for the most of any school in the nation.

In the yearlong competition, the Cronkite School finished in second place nationally. The school has placed in the top 10 in the Hearst Journalism Awards program for 17 consecutive years and has finished in the top five in nine of those years.

The Hearst results come at the end of a semester during which Cronkite students won their fourth Robert F. Kennedy Award and in which students won more national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists than any other journalism school in the country.

“These awards recognize both the depth and breadth of work produced by Cronkite students,” Dean Christopher Callahan said. “In the Hearst Awards alone, students earned honors across categories and across platforms — broadcast, writing, multimedia and photography. They aren’t just good in one area; they’re excellent in all of them.”

School rankings in the Hearst Awards are based on how well each school did in four independent categories that are judged throughout the school year. Cronkite finished in the top six in all four categories, placing second overall in television and radio broadcasting, third in writing, fourth in multimedia and sixth in photojournalism.

Award-winning news stories ranged from an investigative piece about the dangers of abandoned mines in Arizona to a television news story on a potential solution to the opioid crisis. Feature stories described an organization that helps veterans heal through nature, traced the success of high school athletes on the Arizona-Mexico border and profiled a blind runner inspired by personal loss. A radio story took listeners to Las Vegas a year after a shooting that killed 58 concertgoers. A winning multimedia story about a Phoenix woman who is among the growing number of women interested in taxidermy included the memorable quote, “I just appreciate animals, especially if they’re already dead.”

All of the top stories were published on Cronkite News, Arizona PBS or campus station Blaze Radio. The University of North Carolina finished first in this year’s competition, followed by ASU and Penn State in third.

Five Cronkite students — Jack Harris, Matt Lively, Nicole Neri, Bryce Newberry and Austin Westfall — will compete in the national championships in San Francisco the first week in June. Harris and Neri are seniors returning to Cronkite in the fall. The other three competitors are recent Cronkite graduates starting new jobs. Newberry will be a multimedia reporter at KVUE News in Austin, Texas. Lively and Westfall are heading to 23ABC News in Bakersfield, California. Lively will be a weekend sports anchor, and Westfall will be a multimedia journalist. They are among 29 journalism students representing 12 universities from across the country to take part in the select competition. ASU, University of Florida and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill each have five students competing.

The Hearst Journalism Awards were established by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation in 1960 to provide support, encouragement and assistance to journalism education at the college and university level. The program awards up to $700,000 in scholarships, grants and stipends annually. A record 1,351 entries were submitted to the 2018-19 competition by accredited journalism schools across the country.

Cronkite students who placed in this year’s Hearst competitions

Writing Personality/Profile Writing

Second: Jack Harris
“Apple of his eye: Children inspire visually impaired runner after lifetime of heartache”

14th: Ethan Millman
“Interview with a Bluesman” for Phoenix Magazine

Enterprise Reporting

Fourth: Chris McCrory
“In a hole: Arizona officials lack funds to find, secure at least 100,000 abandoned mines” 

21st: Stephanie Morse
“Will Arizona’s saguaros survive climate change and drought?”

Sports Writing

Fourth: Ryan Clarke
“Something in the water: A high school on the border and its many successful athletes”

Feature Writing

Sixth: Aydali Campa
“Border towns struggle with students who live in Mexico, learn in Arizona”

Breaking News

11th: Alexis England
“Flake votes to approve Kavanaugh — for now — demands an FBI probe”

Multimedia Journalism

Enterprise Reporting

Fifth: Daria Kadovik
“Young women take rising interest in taxidermy”


Sixth: Samie Gebers
"Vegas Stronger"

10th: Rebecca Spiess
“No More Deaths duels with Border Patrol”


Seventh: Charlene Santiago
Hurricane Maria multimedia bilingual video stories, part of the project “Puerto Rico: Restless and Resilient”


Eighth: Claire Cleveland, Carly Henry and Lerman Montoya
“Puerto Rico universities grapple with future after Hurricane Maria”

10th: Cami Clark, Celisse Jones, Chris McCrory and Nicole Neri
“Arizona’s two abandoned-mine inspectors face daunting task”

Radio News and Features

Third: Austin Westfall
“Vegas Shooting Anniversary” and “Swept Away”

18th: Jordan Elder
“Walk or Rebuild”

Television News

Fourth: Bryce Newberry
“Fentanyl Strips”

Sixth: Gabriella Bachara
“Missing and murdered indigenous women” and “Customs and Border Patrol”

Television Features

Third: Matt Lively
"Veterans Retreat" and "Blind Football Player"

Ninth: Lillian Donahue
"Honor Flight: Korean War Veterans" and "Hurricane Florence Relief"


News & Features
11th: Nicole Neri

Picture Story/Series
13th: Nicole Neri
16th: Delia Johnson

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program operates under the auspices of the accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. It is fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Publisher William Randolph Hearst established the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the Hearst Foundation Inc. in the 1940s, a few years before his death in 1951. Since then, the foundations have awarded more than $1 billion in grants and programs.

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