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SPJ announces 2019 Mark of Excellence Award winners


Matthew Kent, SPJ Program Coordinator, 317-920-4788, mkent@spj.org
Ashlynn Neumeyer, Communications Coordinator, 317-361-4133, aneumeyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists congratulates the 2019 Mark of Excellence Awards national winners. The MOE Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism within a calendar year.

National MOE winners are chosen from category winners in each of SPJ’s 12 regions. They are judged by journalism professionals with at least three years of experience. Lists of regional winners can be found in SPJ News.

SPJ recognizes first-place national winners at the Student Union event during Excellence in Journalism. EIJ 20 is currently scheduled for Sept. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.

Judges were directed to choose only those entries they considered outstanding work worthy of a national honor. If the judges determined none of the entries rose to this level of excellence, no award was given. Any category not listed has no winner.

School divisions are based on student enrollment, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment. Large schools have 10,000+ students and small schools have fewer than 10,000 students.

See the list below for details on national winners. Direct any MOE Awards questions to SPJ Program Coordinator Matthew Kent.

The list reflects the spelling and titles submitted in the award-entry process.


Breaking News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Getty fire – by Jintak Han, UCLA
Finalist: MPD challenges community to snowball fight – by Scott Fleener, Ball State University

Breaking News Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Climate strike crowd – by Jennifer Ng, University of Portland
Finalist: Lightning strikes Saylor Hall, starts fire – by Jesse Kucewicz, Baldwin Wallace University

Data Visualization
Winner: White supremacy movements spark rise in religion-based hate – by Saffeya Ahmed, Virginia Commonwealth University
Finalist: How IU does its laundry – by Jacob deCastro and Vivek Rao, Indiana University
Finalist: Salary database – by Jade Myers, University of Texas at Arlington

Editorial Cartooning
Winner: Alexandra Bowman, Georgetown University
Finalist: Teagan Kimbro, Central Washington University
Finalist: Ryan Greene, Colorado State University

Feature Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Milk made – by Emily Nevils, University of Missouri
Finalist: Jab jab: Tia Jablonsky fights to go pro in MMA competitions – by Ashley Sanchez, Virginia Commonwealth University
Finalist: Fairgoer stares at chicks – by Duy Vu, University of Texas at Arlington

Feature Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: L’Esprit – by Clare Grant, Elon University
Finalist: Campus jungle – by Jacob Waring, Southern Connecticut State University
Finalist: Gloves and determination of steel – by Luke Kenneally, Gonzaga University

General News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Twenty years later: Remembering Columbine – by Ali C.M. Watkins, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Finalist: Vigil at beneficence – by Jacob Musselman, Ball State University
Finalist: United, not divided – by Charlie Blalock, Del Mar College

General News Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Water main break – by Alexandria Whitten, Loyola University New Orleans
Finalist: June Speakman sweeps primary – by Kayla Ebner, Roger Williams University
Finalist: Youth climate strike advocates for change, legislation – by Tony Reeves, University of Indianapolis

Photo Illustration (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Vapergate – by Sara Diggins, University of Montana
Finalist: Celestial standards – by Gianna Sanchez, Lauren Maingot, Jacqueline Dubois and Gabby Rosenbloom, University of Miami
Finalist: Cost of crossing – by Connor Wodynski and Kevin Hurley, Arizona State University

Photo Illustration (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Alternate personas – by Tyler Judson, SCAD Atlanta
Finalist: Cal U for life – by Lily Gongaware, California University of Pennsylvania

Sports Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Flying high – by Sara Donato, Kent State University
Finalist: Gymnastics earns first meet win of the season – by Graeme Sloan, George Washington University
Finalist: Little league World Series champions – by James Leavy, Penn State University

Sports Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Cross country runner – by Sabelo Jupiter, Loyola University New Orleans
Finalist: Chasing a loose ball – by Pawan Khanal, Troy University
Finalist: Sports roundup: Oct. 31 – Women’s rugby photo – by Tiffany Trumble, Vassar College

Immersion Journalism

Immersion Journalism
Winner: Homeless realities – by JOVRNALISM Staff, USC Annenberg
Finalist: Surviving a school shooting – by Anton L. Delgado, Elon University


Best Student Magazine
Winner: The Sustainability Issue – by Staff of REFINE Magazine, Temple University
Finalist: Alice Magazine – by Staff of Alice Magazine, The University of Alabama
Finalist: Hill Magazine – by Staff of Hill Magazine, University of Arkansas

Non-Fiction Magazine Article
Winner: Under the table – by Catherine Wendlandt, University of Missouri
Finalist: Hold your ground – by Natalie Yahr, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Finalist: Vibrant light – by Abby Church, James Madison University


Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The Daily Iowan – by Staff of The Daily Iowan, University of Iowa
Finalist: The Daily Bruin – by Staff of The Daily Bruin, UCLA
Finalist: Yale Daily News – by Staff of the Yale Daily News, Yale University

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The Red & Black – by Staff of The Red & Black, University of Georgia
Finalist: The Temple News – by Staff of The Temple News, Temple University
Finalist: The Pendulum – by Staff of The Pendulum, Elon University

Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Barge resigns as Monroe County commissioner amid harassment allegations – by Caroline Anders, Indiana University
Finalist: Incoming Harvard freshman deported after visa revoked – by Shera S. Avi-Yonah and Delano R. Franklin, Harvard College
Finalist: UNT System assistant general counsel says the n-word at “When Hate Comes to Campus” event – by Lizzy Spangler and Rebekah Schulte, University of North Texas

Breaking News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Planned Parenthood controversy divides Catholic college – by Alyssa Allemand, Jena Emmert, Robin Gee and Anna Hansen, Edgewood College
Finalist: One dead in Hard Rock Hotel collapse – by Lily Cummings and Andres Fuentes, Loyola University New Orleans
Finalist: Harrison Dillard, 1949 grad and four-time Olympic gold medal winner, passes away – by Charlie Egli, Baldwin Wallace University

Editorial Writing
Winner: The Emory Wheel, Emory University
Finalist: The University Star editorial board, Texas State University
Finalist: Caleb Greene, Louisiana State University

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Students who switched tickets escaped the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing – by Jordan Muller, Syracuse University
Finalist: Young, small, but mighty: Skateboarder Sky Brown shreds path toward Olympics – by Jack Harris, Arizona State University
Finalist: He once drove a $60,000 Jaguar and almost drank himself to death. Then he found salvation in steel. – by Sarah Bahr, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Feature Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Two countries, six hours – one long commute to school – by Fernando A. Martinez, Southwestern College
Finalist: ‘Friends Help Hearts Heal’: Lehigh student writes a book about friendship during times of hardship – by Julia Adelizzi, Lehigh University
Finalist: A Texas-size mart’s road to fame – by Hannah Denham, Washington and Lee University

General Column Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Andrew Raychawdhuri, UCLA
Finalist: Kevin Schablin, Marquette University
Finalist: Community Voices, University of Texas at Arlington

General Column Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Justin Dottery, Southwestern College
Finalist: Thomas Maye, Framingham State University
Finalist: Andres Salerno, Butler University

General News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: NKU to review women’s basketball after players accuse coach of emotional abuse – by Sam Rosenstiel and Sierra Newton, Northern Kentucky University
Finalist: Series on diversity at the University of Georgia – by Anila Yoganathan, University of Georgia
Finalist: Genesis Hansen arrest (series) – by Delaney Shea, Vada Shelby, Michael Eubanks and Tanveer Sandhu, Oregon State University

General News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Elon is set to join the Common Application – by Abby Gibbs, Elon University
Finalist: After daughter’s death, a Johnson family takes charge in fighting opioids – by Alexandre Silberman, St. Thomas University
Finalist: Walking the path of migrants, Beyond Borders team volunteers forensic work to help identify migrant – by Jayden Kennett and Shylah Gibson, University of Indianapolis

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Chris Robison special issue – by Cameren Boatner and Kristen Grau, Florida Atlantic University
Finalist: Left behind – by Matthew Martinez and Sydney Czyzon, Marquette University
Finalist: Exploring the dark side of Greek Life: FOIA request details more than a decade of accusations against Phi Sigma Phi - by Melissa Frick, Andrew Mullin and Sara Kellner, Central Michigan University

In-Depth Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Caught in Rhode Island – by College Hill Independent Staff, Brown University
Finalist: Inside Title IX: Office works to educate campus about sexual misconduct, investigating complaints – by Lauren Franco, Abilene Christian University
Finalist: Youth mental health in Oregon – by Casey Chaffin, Soka University of America

Sports Column Writing
Winner: Christopher Vinel, Miami University
Finalist: Josh Kirshenbaum, University of Washington
Finalist: Josh Mullenix, Butler University

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Concussions, consequence and conscience: OU great Rickey Dixon reflects on career that’s killing him – by George Stoia, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: ‘I don’t feel like she’s ever going to lose’: An Iowa woman’s quest to go pro in MMA – by David Harmantas, University of Iowa
Finalist: The athlete advantage – by Delano R. Franklin and Devin B. Srivastava, Harvard College

Sports Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Suckerpunch – by Ana Faguy and Nick Karpinski, Saint Joseph’s University
Finalist: Back for more: 1 senior night not enough for Wolford – by Tim Miller, Cedarville University
Finalist: The infallible approach of GU women’s basketball’s newest starter – by Ian Davis-Leonard, Gonzaga University


Best Affiliated Web Site
Winner: Vox Magazine – by Vox staff, University of Missouri
Finalist: The Harvard Crimson – by Staff of The Crimson News, Harvard College
Finalist: The Daily Mississippian – by Staff, University of Mississippi

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: NYCity News Service - by NYCity News Service staff, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Finalist: Cronkite News – by Staff of Cronkite News, Arizona State University
Finalist: New Mexico News Port – by New Mexico News Port Team, University of New Mexico

Best Use of Multimedia
Winner: How we heal – by NYCity News Service, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Finalist: Death of a dream: Two responses to migrants who go missing in the desert – by Nicole Ludden, Julian Hernandez, Meg Potter and Erica Figueroa, Arizona State University
Finalist: Concentrated poverty and criminality: Homicide rates remain high in Chicago – by Nicole Sroka and Miriam Torres, University of Illinois at Chicago

Online Feature Reporting
Winner: Deported U.S. veterans find aid, comfort in a Tijuana ‘bunker’ – by Madeline Ackley and Mara Friedman, Arizona State University
Finalist: Tail of the Dragon attracts thrill-seekers, motoring enthusiasts – by Oliver Fischer, Elon University
Finalist: Ladies’ luck – by NYCity News Service, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Online In-Depth Reporting
Winner: We are still here – by Media Milwaukee staff, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Finalist: Rebuilding families – by Anna N. Saab, West Virginia University
Finalist: Power struggle: Anticipating cyberattacks on the electric grid – by Vaughn Golden and Tara Lynch, Ithaca College

Online News Reporting
Winner: The emotional trauma of Hurricane Maria – by Devna Bose, University of Mississippi
Finalist: Funded but forgotten – by NYCity News Service, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Finalist: Disappeared: 10,000 and counting – by Media Milwaukee staff, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Online Opinion & Commentary
Winner: Anxiety shapes my life, but I’m not alone – by Connor Henricksen, Washington State University
Finalist: The Daily Northwestern and its impact on ethical journalism – by Charlotte Caldwell, Ohio University

Online Sports Reporting
Winner: ‘Chaotic, beautiful thing’: The story behind Party Hard Wrestling – by Tyler Dunn, Arizona State University
Finalist: Bobby – by Noah Schmick and Jakob Thorington, Washington State University
Finalist: Athletes with disabilities in it to win it – by Neel Madhavan, Northwestern University


Winner: Syracuse Side Hustles – by Syracuse Side Hustles Staff, Syracuse University
Finalist: Sea level rise threatens the Florida Keys – Episode 1 – by Avery Van Etten, Northwestern University

Collaborative Journalism

Collaborative Journalism
Winner: Uprooted: The faces of the Venezuelan crisis – by Uprooted staff, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Colombian Network of University Journalism (Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB), Universidad Catolica Luis Amigo and Universidad de Antioquia (UdeA)
Finalist: Generation Opioids – by West Virginia University and George Washington University

Radio Broadcast

Best All-Around Radio Newscast
Winner: Carolina Connection, Feb. 9, 2019 – by Carolina Connection Staff, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Finalist: 7:45 a.m. WUFT newscast – by Henry Coburn and Joe Hastings, University of Florida

Radio Feature
Winner: Mom maintains hope for shaken baby – by Madeline Wilson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Finalist: Richmond’s first women’s theatre festival puts female stories at center stage – by Evie King, Virginia Commonwealth University
Finalist: Preserving Pennytown: A small church contains a world of memories – by Emily Aiken, University of Missouri

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Winner: After a semester of tumult, Columbia parents and officials still at odds over police in schools – by Isabel Lohman and Mawa Iqbal, University of Missouri
Finalist: Fear and loathing in a New York nursing home – by Shira Feder, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Finalist: Vegas massacre effects – One year later – by Austin Westfall, Arizona State University

Radio News Reporting
Winner: Michael: One year later – by Nicole Rogers, University of Florida
Finalist: Students say THC vaping products are common in some local high schools – by Jared Weber, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Finalist: Emmett Till memorial rededicated – by Will Stribling, University of Mississippi

Radio Sports Reporting
Winner: Revamped Milwaukee Marathon attracts thousands of runners – by Nick Knute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Finalist: Mr. Two-Bits – by Skyler Lebron, University of Florida
Finalist: Jack & Lehner – by Kenny Conrade, Hofstra University

Television Broadcast

Best All-Around Television News Magazine
Winner: After the eye – by WUFT News staff, University of Florida
Finalist: The last spike – by Cache Rendezvous Staff, Utah State University
Finalist: Southeastern Times – Nov. 11, 2019 – by Kaylee Normand and John Sartori, Southeastern Louisiana University

Best All-Around Television Newscast
Winner: Centre County Report: Nov. 22, 2019 – by Centre County Report Staff, Penn State University
Finalist: UATV News – 12/9/2019 – by UATV Staff, University of Arkansas

Television Breaking News Reporting
Winner: Migrant caravan arrives in Tijuana – by Jessica Cardenas and Xochilt Lagunas, California State University Fullerton
Finalist: Campus shooting – by Shayla Klein, West Virginia University
Finalist: Troy tornado – by Brady Talbert, Troy University

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: CSI camp – by Quan McWil, University of Florida
Finalist: Rich the custodian – by Josh Lamberty, Iowa State University
Finalist: Amputation inspires runner – by Scotty Gange, Arizona State University

Television General News Reporting
Winner: From Puerto Rico to Washington, dogs find their forever homes – by Jasmine Darakjy, Washington State University
Finalist: Public safety power shutoffs spark confusion in Lake Isabella – by Joey Maya Safchik, Northwestern University
Finalist: Hammett Bowen: A hero’s legacy – by Quan McWil, University of Florida

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Trash talk: Montana’s recycling challenge – by UM Student Documentary Unit, spring 2019, University of Montana
Finalist: Native suicides – by Jennifer Alvarez, Arizona State University
Finalist: Living on the edge: LGBTQ+ and mental health – by Aaron Cardenas, University of Oklahoma

Television Sports Reporting
Winner: Crown Boxing Club teaching students more after school – by Griffin Stroin, Michigan State University
Finalist: Transgender runner, June Eastwood – by Tessa Nadeau, University of Montana
Finalist: Husky baseball team has hot start – by Tony Langfellow, St. Cloud State University


Broadcast News Videography
Winner: Mayor’s salary debate – by Dylan Domangue, Southeastern Louisiana University
Finalist: Creating a new normal – by Hasley Pitman, University of Florida
Finalist: Bobcat thunder – by Nathaniel Snipes, Ben Johnson, Matthew Weathermon and Caleb Brubaker, College of the Ozarks

Broadcast Sports Videography
Winner: Hockey: Penn State sweeps Wisconsin – by Will Desautelle, Penn State University
Finalist: Life’s curveball – The Stallard story – by Kynan Marlin, Arizona State University
Finalist: Southeastern vs. Northwestern State football – by Dylan Domangue, Southeastern Louisiana University

Online/Digital Feature Videography
Winner: Finding the light – by Joe Valdez, University of North Texas
Finalist: South Florida Access goes from Holly Hard Rock to the Lighthouse of Broward – by Jay Valle, Monica Lebro and Andrea Igliozzi, Florida International University
Finalist: Safe or Unsafe U? – by View from the U, University of Utah

Online/Digital News Videography
Winner: MPD snowball fight – by Scott Fleener, Ball State University
Finalist: March 2 shooting documentary: Looking back one year later – by Natalie McCorvie, Central Michigan University
Finalist: Students counter-protest demonstration against abortion rights – by Danny Schapiro, George Washington University

Online/Digital Sports Videography
Winner: Walk in my shoes: The Brad Anderson story – by Tyler Lamb, Middle Tennessee State University
Finalist: OU Daily pre- and post-game videos – by Will Conover, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: Tackling the draft – Episode one: Roller coaster – by Daily Northwestern staff, Northwestern University

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