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Cronkite students earn numerous awards


June 27, 2008

A documentary produced by students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has won two awards for excellence in national and international competitions.

The documentary, “Holy Hunger in the Midst of Plenty,” follows Muslim students at Arizona State University as they observe Ramadan, a month-long religious observance emphasizing prayers, fasting, charity and self-examination. The 15-minute student documentary, produced by students Jamie Murdick, Stjepan Alaupovic and Zabihullah Noori, won a 2008 Bronze Telly Award as well as a Videographer Award of Distinction.

The Telly Award is one of the most prestigious awards given for video and film production as well as television programs and commercials and work created for the Web. Productions in more than 200 categories are judged on their individual merits, and the best are given Silver or Bronze awards.

The Videographer Awards is an international awards program to honor talented individuals and companies in the video production field. Entries number in the thousands from all 50 states and multiple countries. The Cronkite School documentary, entered in the “Produced by Students” category, received the organization’s highest award.

Murdick, Alaupovic and Noori, all recent graduates of the Cronkite School, created “Holy Hunger in the Midst of Plenty” last year while students in Professor John Craft’s documentary production class.

Craft said that Noori, a graduate student at the time and a Muslim, was interested in how Muslim students try to adhere to their faith and still fit into a secular culture at ASU, especially during Ramadan. The idea grew into a semester-long team project.

“They told the story very well, and in today’s world, this is an important story,” Craft said.

Cronkite students also recently finished ninth in the national Hearst Journalism Awards for 2007-2008 – the seventh consecutive year that the school has finished in the top 10.

More than 100 accredited journalism schools from around the country compete each year, entering their students’ best work in monthly competitions for radio and television news, multimedia, photography and writing. Schools are ranked at the end of the year based on points awarded in the monthly contests.

This year, Cronkite students placed in every category, taking sixth overall in broadcast news, seventh in multimedia, 13th in photography and 17th in writing in the awards that are often called the Pulitzers of college journalism. Cronkite student Bonnie Bolt was selected to participate in the Hearst national championships earlier this month. It is the fifth time in the past six years that a broadcast student from the school has been selected for the championships, which bring top journalism students from around the country to San Francisco to test their skills in an intensive, week-long face-off. Bolt, who graduated in May, was the winner of a $1,500 scholarship.

The annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program was 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 distributes more than $550,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

The following is a complete listing of Cronkite Hearst winners for the year:

Television News Reporting
Bonnie Bolt, Mesa, Ariz., fourth
Michelle Ashworth, McLean, Va., fifth

Radio News Reporting
Dana Granillo, Phoenix, 11th
Sam Eshelman, Carlsbad, Calif., 14th

Radio Feature Reporting
Sam Gavin, Newark, Ohio, 14th

In-Depth Reporting
James Kindle, Riverton, Wyo., second

Feature Writing
Celeste Sepessy, Goodyear, Ariz., eighth

Multimedia
Annalyn Censky, Tucson, Ariz., seventh

Photojournalism, Picture Story Series
Deanna Dent, Tempe, Ariz., 11th

Photojournalism, News & Sports
Deanna Dent, Tempe, Ariz., 17th