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Home > SPJ News > Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced in Chicago

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Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced in Chicago


Christine Cordial, SPJ Program Coordinator, 317-920-4788, awards@spj.org
Anna Gutierrez, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, communications@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the best collegiate journalism in Region 5 with 2017 Mark of Excellence Awards winners.

SPJ’s Region 5 comprises Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Honorees received award certificates the weekend of April 7 at the Region 5 Conference. First-place winners will compete at the national level among other regional MOE winners from the 12 SPJ regions.

National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore.

MOE Awards entries are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience. Judges were directed to choose entries they felt were among the best in student journalism. If no entry rose to the level of excellence, no award was given. Any category not listed has no winner.

School divisions are based on student enrollment, including both graduate and undergraduate: Large schools have at least 10,000 students and small schools have 9,999 or fewer students.

The list below details all Region 5 winners. If you have any questions regarding the MOE Awards, contact Christine Cordial via email or phone at 317-920-4788.

This list reflects the spelling and titles submitted in the award entries.


Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Evanston police investigate sexual assault allegations against former ETHS teacher - by Rishika Dugyala, Northwestern University
Finalist: Humans vs. Zombies player sparks gun scare on campus - by Allie Kirkman and Casey Smith, Ball State University
Finalist: Victim's family not happy with Wisani's sentencing - by Benjamin Din, Northwestern University

Breaking News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Gas leak interrupts class, spurs evacuations - by Brock Turner, DePauw University
Finalist: Police apprehend robbery suspects in Upland - by Eric Andrews and Katherine Yeager, Taylor University
Finalist: After Texas church shooting, Southern Baptists to meet about security - by Cassidy Grom, Taylor University

General News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Parents push for Texas to screen all newborns for spinal muscular atrophy - by Matthew Choi, Northwestern University
Finalist: Against the smog: NKU Science students, faculty reflect on proposed federal budget cuts - by Mackenzie Manley, Northern Kentucky University
Finalist: Following executive order, international students at Northwestern express fear, confusion - by Matthew Choi and Kristina Karisch, Northwestern University

General News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Hey, Chapman! - by Eric Andrews, Taylor University
Finalist: The Facebook and Youtube war - by Madison Dudley, DePauw University
Finalist: Adler ‘stunned’ by allegations, subsequent dismissal - by David Kobe, DePauw University

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: In the dark: Records shed light on sexual misconduct at Kentucky universities - by Nicole Ares, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: As university aims to increase awareness of Title IX process, reporting remains a taxing experience - by Claire Hansen, Northwestern University

In-Depth Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Donald Trump course at Butler reveals no process, forces university to take precautions - by Zach Horrall, Butler University
Finalist: Trash talk - by Becca Robb and Eric Andrews, Taylor University
Finalist: DePauw student finds hole in DePauw E-Services webpage; student mailboxes switched as result - by Bryttni Carpenter, DePauw University

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: The third life of Darryl Pinkins - by Taylor Telford, Indiana University
Finalist: Sticker shock - by Allyson Chiu, Northwestern University
Finalist: Affording Evanston - by David Fishman, Northwestern University

Feature Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Missing wallet returned 20 years later - by Becca Robb and Eric Andrews, Taylor University

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Afraid of the unknown - by Michal Dwojak, University of Illinois
Finalist: How a Northwestern startup plans to revolutionize college football recruiting - by Dan Waldman, Northwestern University
Finalist: The John Basalyga story - by Christopher Decker, Northern Kentucky University

Sports Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Controversial two-point conversion in Monon Bell game leaves room for debate - by Austin Candor, DePauw University

Editorial Writing
Winner: Evans’ name should be removed from campus buildings; We must keep local officials accountable in response to Crosby’s violent arrest; ETHS censorship of The Evanstonian sets dangerous precedent - by Staff of The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University
Finalist: University, students must more actively raise awareness of sexual assault resources; Local journalism requires public support; Campus safety’s lack of transparency misrepresents the community’s crime rate - by Loyola Phoenix Editorial Board, Loyola University Chicago
Finalist: Administration tries to wield influence over Herald; The silencing of sexual harassment victims must stop; Pride Fest is progress, still need a fairness ordinance - by The Herald WKU Editorial Board, Western Kentucky University

General Column Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: When discussing immigration, try to see things from the other side of the border; Learning to love America in bits and pieces; In journalism, never forget empathy - by Mariana Alfaro, Northwestern University
Finalist: Adult-ish columns - by Audrey Bowers, Ball State University
Finalist: Use of N-word at A&O Ball representative of greater campus issues; When athletes kneel during national anthem, understand greater significance; The Spectrum: Students of color shouldn’t be forced to feel obligated to always speak about their identities - by Troy Closson, Northwestern University

General Column Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Dressing like a dawg; BUPD issues an untimely warning; A timely follow up to concerns of student safety - by Madeleine Lucchetti, Butler University
Finalist: The Female Gaze columns - by Lindsey Jones, DePauw University

Sports Column Writing
Winner: Big Ten changes will take away from Northwestern’s season; Wildcats locking arms is a non-story; Northwestern needs a big-time performance from Law to shock Gonzaga - by Tim Balk, Northwestern University
Finalist: Taking on Butler basketball - by Dana Lee, Butler University

Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The Daily Northwestern - by Staff of The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Best All-Around Non Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The Daily Illini - by Staff of The Daily Illini, University of Illinois
Finalist: Indiana Daily Student - by Staff of Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University
Finalist: Loyola Phoenix - by Staff of Loyola Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago


Non-Fiction Magazine Article
Winner: Examining sapphic sex - by Emma Sarappo, Northwestern University
Finalist: Baby-proofing - by Libby Berry, Northwestern University

Best Student Magazine
Winner: Ball Bearings: The Human Experience - by Staff of Ball Bearings, Ball State University
Finalist: Al Bayan - by Amal Ahmed, Northwestern University
Finalist: The Talisman - by Staff of The Talisman, Western Kentucky University


Breaking News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Chief Illiniwek protesters block Homecoming Parade - by Ethan Scholl, University of Illinois
Finalist: Muncie Fire Department responds to house fire on Carson Street - by Grace Hollars, Ball State University

General News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: The people united - by Abby Potter, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: Daylight - by Alyssa Wisnieski, Northwestern University

Feature Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Mother’s love powers family through Hurricane Maria aftermath - by Ryan Michalesko, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Finalist: Freewheeling - by Alyssa Wisnieski, Northwestern University

Feature Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Bust a fit - by Byron Mason, DePauw University
Finalist: ‘Frankenstein’ takes stage for novel’s 200th anniversary - by Cassie Reverman, University of Indianapolis

Photo Illustration (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: My schizophrenia - by Tt Shinkan and Branden Dwyer, Ball State University

Photo Illustration (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Finalist: Music festival showcases local, regional and national talents - by Andy Carr and Erik Cliburn, University of Indianapolis
Finalist: DePauw swimming - by Sam Caravana, DePauw University

Sports Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: At arm's length - by Kelsea Hobbs, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: Football vs. Central Michigan 2017 - by Grace Hollars, Ball State University
Finalist: Men’s Basketball: Northwestern erupts in blowout win over Iowa - by Rachel Dubner, Northwestern University

Sports Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Finalist: Andrew Chrabascz - by Jimmy Lafakis, Butler University

Editorial Cartooning
Winner: Trophy hunting; U.S. South battered and bruised; Gamer Trump - by Andy Carr, University of Indianapolis


Radio News Reporting
Winner: Birds-I-View: Charlottesville - by Nick Landi, Illinois State University
Finalist: Birds-I-View: Planned Parenthood - by Maddy Wierus, Illinois State University
Finalist: Binge drinking - by Travis Higdon, Western Kentucky University

Radio Feature
Winner: Dining with Doyle - by Neil Doyle, Illinois State University
Finalist: A child food critic grows up - by Shane McKeon, Northwestern University
Finalist: Birds-I-View: Comptroller - by Jake Fahrow, Illinois State University

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower: Could a federal law force Trump to choose? - by Madeline Fox, Northwestern University

Best All-Around Radio Newscast
Winner: November 3, 2017 newscast - by Neil Doyle, Illinois State University


Television Breaking News Reporting
Winner: Inauguration protests - by Dan Beedie, DePaul University
Finalist: Protest breaks out over Muncie Community Schools finances - by Tony Sandleben, Mallory Weil, Evan Like and Emerson Lehmann, Ball State University

Television General News Reporting
Winner: DACA students at UI - by Jean Kang, University of Illinois
Finalist: Low-income students battle the winter - by Michelle Baik, Northwestern University
Finalist: The Christian priority in Trump's America - by Michelle Baik, Northwestern University

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: Opera - by Dan Beedie, DePaul University
Finalist: Former trustee reflects on Ball State experience - by Tony Sandleben, Ball State University

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: From Damascus to Chicago - by Colleen Cassingham and Alex Lederman, Northwestern University
Finalist: Muncie Community Schools takeover continuing coverage - by Tony Sandleben, Ball State University

Television Sports Reporting
Winner: Leigh Healey is finally ready to hit the bodybuilding stage - by Grace Choi, Northwestern University

Best All-Around Television Newscast
Winner: November 23, 2017 broadcast - by Mallory Weil, Tony Sandleben, Ryan McClain and Evan Like, Ball State University


Online News Reporting
Winner: Champaign County uninsured rate drops, but not everyone pleased with Affordable Care Act - by Staff of CU-CitizenAccess, University of Illinois
Finalist: Evanston Decides 2017 - by David Fishman, Max Schuman and Nora Shelly, Northwestern University
Finalist: Wrong place, wrong time - by Staff of The Medill Justice Project, Northwestern University

Online Feature Reporting
Winner: Can't get there from here - by Emma Sarappo, Northwestern University
Finalist: Something in the night - by Jack Evans, Noble Guyon and Eman Mozaffar, Indiana University
Finalist: 4 women, 8 names - by Rachel Yang, Northwestern University

Online In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Camp fever: Injuries, illnesses missing from Indiana state records - by Indiana University Media School, Indiana University
Finalist: The system - by Carley Lanich, Nicole McPheeters, Emily Miles and Eman Mozaffar, Indiana University
Finalist: Birth justice is social justice - by Emma Krupp, DePaul University

Online Sports Reporting
Winner: The shoes on the sideline - by Madeline Happold, DePaul University
Finalist: Building Northwestern Basketball - by Caleb Friedman, Northwestern University
Finalist: A greater role: Gueye's game - by Elizabeth Wyman, Ball State University

Online Opinion & Commentary
Winner: How to be heard - by Cody Corrall, DePaul University

Best Affiliated Web Site
Winner: idsnews.com - by Staff of Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University
Finalist: NorthbyNorthwestern.com - by Staff of NorthbyNorthwestern.com, Northwestern University
Finalist: The Daily Illini - by Staff of The Daily Illini, University of Illinois

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: The White House & the press - by WKU Fleischaker and Greene Scholars, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: Fourteen East Magazine - by Staff of Fourteen East Magazine, DePaul University
Finalist: RE(a)D WKU - by Staff of RE(a)D 01-12, Western Kentucky University

Best Use of Multimedia
Winner: When I am healed - by Abby Potter, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: Love you forever: a mother survives after daughter’s suicide - by Srijita Chattopadhyay, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: Bigger bodies - by Emily Sabens, Ball State University


Broadcast Feature Videography
Winner: From Damascus to Chicago - by Colleen Cassingham and Alex Lederman, Northwestern University

Online/Digital News Videography
Winner: Convict of 302: Death penalty in Pakistan - by Shakeeb Asrar and Urooj Kamran Azmi, Northwestern University in Qatar
Finalist: Affordable Care Act in Central Illinois: Falling apart, smiling again - by Stephen Cohn, Andrew Ng and Hinna Raja, University of Illinois
Finalist: Affordable Care Act in Central Illinois: a passport to healthcare - by Jessica Bursztynsky and Bobbi McSwine, University of Illinois

Online/Digital Feature Videography
Winner: Burlesque dancer after double mastectomy - by Hangda Zhang, Northwestern University
Finalist: Healing Chicago: the story of raptivist Bella Bahhs - by Courtney Kang, Nastasya Popov and Hangda Zhang, Northwestern University
Finalist: Legally blind student pursuing passion for theater - by Hangda Zhang, Northwestern University

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.


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