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Cronkite students among top 5 in Hearst competition

June 06, 2011

Students of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University finished first and third in a major multimedia journalism competition.

Senior Dan Neligh placed first and senior Cristina Rayas placed third in the multimedia news category of the Hearst Journalism Awards, often referred to as “the Pulitzers of college journalism.”

More than 100 accredited journalism schools compete in the annual Hearst Journalism Awards contest whose categories include multimedia, writing, radio, television and photojournalism. Professional journalists judge the students’ work.

Both Neligh and Rayas are in the Cronkite School’s dual-degree program, which enables Cronkite students also enrolled in ASU’s Barrett Honors College to pursue both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years.

Neligh will receive a $2,600 scholarship for his honor and Rayas will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Neligh also will attend the Hearst National Championship in San Francisco this week, along with two other Cronkite students – Lauren Gambino, who placed second in in-depth reporting, and Gardenia Coleman, who placed third in radio feature reporting. Both also are students of the dual-degree program.

Neligh said he’s looking forward to representing the Cronkite School at the national competition.

“It’s really an honor to place among some of the best journalism students in the country, and I think the fact that Cristina and I took two out of the top three spots in our category says a great deal about our program at Cronkite,” Neligh said. “I'm so glad that I had the opportunity, facilities and guidance to help me to do work worthy of placing in such a prestigious national competition.”

Overall, Cronkite had nine top 10 winners in the categories of multimedia, writing and broadcast, putting the school in fifth place overall for the 2010-2011 school year. Other top-placing universities included the University of North Carolina and the University of Nebraska.

ASU has placed first or second nationally in five of the past seven years in the Hearst competition and has finished in the top 10 overall results for 10 consecutive years. In that span, the school recorded two first-place finishes (2008-2009 and 2006-2007) and three second-place (2009-2010, 2005-2006 and 2004-2005) finishes.

In other journalism contests this year, Cronkite students outperformed every other school in the national Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards for the sixth consecutive year, won the highest honors in the interactive multimedia competition of the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts, came in first in the Broadcast Education Association awards and won this year’s Alistair Cooke Award in Journalism to the United Kingdom.

Associate dean Kristin Gilger called the record remarkable.

“We’re especially proud of our Hearst multimedia winners,” said Gilger, who along with Cronkite Career Services Director Michael Wong oversees the Hearst entries. “This competition brings together all the elements of journalism we teach – strong reporting and writing, compelling visuals and dynamic presentations.”

Cronkite School winners in this year’s Hearst competition are:

Multimedia News

Dan Neligh, first, Lakewood, Colo.

Cristina Rayas, third, Denver

Multimedia Features

Taryn Brady, fourth, Mesa, Ariz.

Christina Roshau, 22nd, Phoenix

In-Depth Reporting

Lauren Gambino, second, Tempe, Ariz.

Feature Writing

Weston Phippen, fourth, Salt Lake City

Colton Shone, 18th, Phoenix

Spot News Writing

Brennan Smith, seventh, Tucson, Ariz.

Tessa Muggeridge, 19th, Phoenix

Television Feature Reporting

Natalie Podgorski, eighth, Logan, Utah

Kylee Gauna, 10th, Yuma, Ariz.

Radio Feature Reporting

Gardenia Coleman, third, Phoenix

Siera Lambrecht, 16th, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Opinion Writing

Dustin Volz, 23rd, Media, Penn.