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Gun rights investigation wins ASU students prestigious award

Cronkite students
November 14, 2014

For the third consecutive year, a major national investigation by Carnegie-Knight News21 at Arizona State University has received a prestigious EPPY Award from Editor & Publisher magazine.

Gun Wars,” an in-depth News21 probe into the polarizing issues of gun rights and regulation in America, won for Best College/University Investigative/Documentary Report. Headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 is a multimedia reporting initiative established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The EPPY Awards recognize the best media-affiliated websites across 30-plus diverse categories, including three honoring excellence in college and university journalism. News21 won EPPY awards in the same category for its national investigations into the battles facing post-9/11 veterans in 2013 and voting rights in 2012.

This year’s News21 project brought 29 students from 16 universities to the Cronkite School to produce dozens of multimedia stories, videos, databases and photo galleries examining the Second Amendment and American gun cultures from both sides of the divide.

Students analyzed gun laws in all 50 states and compiled the most complete database on gun-related deaths among children in America. The project also included an unprecedented number of media partners publishing portions of the investigation, including The Washington Post, NBC News, USA Today and The Oregonian.

A team of award-winning journalists led the investigation, including four Pulitzer Prize winners. The leadership team included News21 executive editor Jacquee Petchel, a former investigative journalist at The Miami Herald and Houston Chronicle, and Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism.

“It’s an honor to win the EPPY Award because it highlights the amazing work our News21 fellows did this past summer,” Petchel said. “They pushed News21 to new digital frontiers, producing multimedia-driven content that rivals the work of professional news organizations.”

The EPPY Award entries were judged by a panel of notable figures in the media industry, chosen by Editor & Publisher staff. News21 beat out seven other university journalism projects in the investigative report category.

In addition to the Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation, the “Gun Wars” project was supported by the Miami Foundation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Peter Kiewit Foundation and Louis A. “Chip” Weil.