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ASU Cronkite School rises to top in national journalism contest

May 12, 2014

For the eighth time in nine years, Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication finished with the best record in the Society of Professional Journalists’ prestigious national Mark of Excellence competition.

Cronkite students won four first place awards and were finalists in three other categories, the best showing of any school in the country. The first-place awards were in the categories of Newspaper Breaking News Reporting, Online Sports Reporting, Television Breaking News Reporting and Television Sports Reporting.

The Cronkite School has the best overall record in the national SPJ contest for the past nine years and has dominated its region for the past decade, placing first for 14 consecutive years.

“For nearly a decade, our students have consistently excelled in one of the nation’s most respected collegiate journalism contests,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “This year’s strong showing is a testament to their hard work and dedication – and that of the faculty who teach them.”

Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s student-produced television news broadcast, won for stories on a blizzard that buried the Northeast and a high school football team that lost its coach to a heart attack.  Cronkite News, an immersive reporting program that produces multimedia news stories for professional media outlets, won for a story on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ call for stricter gun control legislation and a report on the fight to combat concussions in high school sports.

Carnegie-Knight News 21, a national investigative multimedia reporting program headquartered at the Cronkite School, was recognized in two categories for its in-depth look at the struggles of post-9/11 veterans returning home from war. The Downtown Devil, an independent ASU student-run online publication covering downtown Phoenix, was a finalist in the category of Best Independent Online Student Publication.

The winners and finalists were selected from approximately 5,000 entries submitted by student journalists across the nation and were judged by professional journalists. The awards will be presented in September at the national SPJ conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members.

National Mark of Excellence results for Cronkite students are as follows:

National winners

Newspaper Breaking News Reporting
Mary Shinn, Cronkite News
“Back Home: Giffords Urges Lawmakers to 'Be Courageous' on Gun Violence Measures”

Online Sports Reporting
Sean Peick, Cronkite News
“Special Report: Combatting Concussions in High School Sports”

Television Breaking News Reporting
Kristina Zverjako, Cronkite NewsWatch
“New Jersey Snowstorm”

Television Sports Reporting
Robby Baker, Cronkite NewsWatch
“Florence Coach”

National finalists

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Downtown Devil

General News Reporting
Kay Miller, Carnegie-Knight News21
“Hearing Loss Prevalent Among Post-9/11 Vets”

Online In-depth Reporting
Carnegie-Knight News21 staff
“Back Home: The Failures”