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Cronkite School excels in national competitions

April 25, 2007

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has been named first in the nation in the annual Hearst Journalism Awards, often called the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism.

“The Hearst Awards are the gold standard for college journalism, and this year’s first-place finish in this extraordinarily competitive program is a testament to truly remarkable team of talented students and dedicated teachers,” says Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “We could not be more proud of them.”

The school also claimed top awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Broadcast Education Association and the Society of Professional Journalists for work done by students during the past year.

The Hearst Awards recognize the best broadcast news, writing and photography work done by students at more than 100 accredited journalism schools around the country.

Student work is judged by professional journalists.

Cronkite students Elias Johnson and Tatiana Hensley finished first nationally in television news reporting, and personality and profile writing, respectively. Thirteen other students placed in categories ranging from radio news reporting to sports writing and news photography. Top-ranking students receive scholarships and compete in national championships to be held in San Francisco in June.

This year’s victory in Hearst follows two straight second-place overall finishes by ASU and the third time in four years that broadcast students have finished first in the broadcast portion of the competition. For the past six years, ASU has finished in the top 10 overall. The University of Missouri and the University of Florida finished second and third, respectively, this year.

ASU also swept the first student awards given by the National Press

Photographers Association, a professional organization for still and television photographers. Johnson, who also was honored in the Hearst competition, finished first in the NPPA in-depth photojournalism category, and former student Ian Schwartz scored first and second in the weekly assignments category.

Schwartz, who graduated last May and now reports for WHOI-TV (ABC) in Peoria, Ill., also was named the nation’s best college TV news reporter by the Broadcast Education Association (BEA). It was the second year in a row that Schwartz won the award, and the first time that a student has won the award twice.

Schwartz and seven other Cronkite students dominated the reporting categories in this year’s BEA contest with eight awards. The next closest schools had three awards each.

Finally, Cronkite students swept five categories of the regional SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards, taking first, second and third places in online news reporting, TV news photography, TV feature photography, TV sports reporting and radio news reporting.

Students also took home first place in TV in-depth reporting, TV sports reporting, radio sports reporting, newspaper breaking news reporting and feature photography. The ASU Web Devil, the online branch of the State Press student newspaper, was named best student Web site, and the Cronkite Zine, an online publication featuring Cronkite School students’ work, was named best independent online student publication.

In total, Cronkite students brought home 35 awards in this year’s SPJ competition, more than any other school in the region, which includes Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. The 17 first-place winners will move on to the national SPJ competition.