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Region 7 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced


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

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the best collegiate journalism in Region 7 with 2019 Mark of Excellence Awards winners.

SPJ’s Region 7 comprises Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. First-place winners will compete at the national level among other regional MOE winners from the 12 SPJ regions.

Regional winners would normally be recognized at regional conferences, however, all SPJ Regional Conferences have been either canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Regional winners have been notified by email and will receive their award certificates via mail.

National winners will be notified in the late spring.

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 7 winners. If you have any questions regarding the MOE Awards, contact Matthew Kent via email or phone at 317-920-4788.

This list reflects the spelling and titles submitted in the award entries. New MOE categories this year include Immersion Journalism, Data Visualization and Collaborative Journalism.


Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Hawkeye Marching Band madness: After Harreld’s Cy-Hawk remarks, universities move forward – by Marissa Payne, University of Iowa

General News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Phoenix Woodworking launches Kickstarter to continue employing people in transition – by Rylie Koester, University of Kansas
Finalist: The Raven Book Store owner Danny Caine receives Midwest Bookseller of the Year award – by Taylor Worden, University of Kansas
Finalist: UI pays nearly $4 million to keep Modern Piping off pharmacy-building construction – by Marissa Payne, University of Iowa

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: As insulin prices rise, politicians attempt to take action, but for some families — it’s too late – by Julia Shanahan, University of Iowa
Finalist: ‘It destroys you’: KU ‘legal dreamer’ fights to stay with family in US – by Corey Minkoff, University of Kansas

In-Depth Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 students
Winner: Patterson trial – by Rachel Adamson and Darcie Dujakovich, Northwest Missouri State University

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Mollie Tibbetts’ family shares the UI student’s legacy one year after her death – by Brooklyn Draisey, University of Iowa
Finalist: ‘Back in the flow’: After historic Oscar win, Willmott returns to teaching – by Courtney Bierman, University of Kansas
Finalist: The most diverse presidential field in one of the nation’s whitest states – by Julia Shanahan, University of Iowa

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: ‘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: Tom Brands leads through accountability in the Iowa wrestling room – by Anna Kayser, University of Iowa
Finalist: ‘Rollercoaster’ season for KU comes to a crashing halt in season-ending loss to Auburn – by Braden Shaw, University of Kansas

Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The Daily Iowan – by Staff of The Daily Iowan, University of Iowa

Best All-Around Non Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The University Daily Kansan – by Staff of The University Daily Kansan, University of Kansas


Non-Fiction Magazine Article
Winner: Under the table – by Catherine Wendlandt, University of Missouri
Finalist: Smoker’s paradise – by Michael Connolly, University of Missouri
Finalist: United in debt – by Staff of Vox, University of Missouri

Best Student Magazine
Winner: Vox Magazine - June – by Staff of Vox Magazine, University of Missouri


Breaking News Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Downtown fire – by Nick Rohlman, University of Iowa

Data Visualization
Winner: Reaching for the pros – by Kat Owens, Lindenwood University
Finalist: Where lynx are going before Belleville undergrad ends in May – by Kayla Drake, Lindenwood University

Feature Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Milk made – by Emily Nevils, University of Missouri
Finalist: Jeweler – by Katina Zentz, University of Iowa

General News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Helicopter pilot – by Roman Slabach, University of Iowa

Photo Illustration (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Living with a deadly past – by Derek Rieke, University of Missouri
Finalist: Smoker’s paradise – by Tristen Rouse, University of Missouri

Sports Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Women’s basketball championship – by Katina Zentz, University of Iowa
Finalist: Balance beam – by Shivansh Ahuja, University of Iowa


Radio Feature
Winner: Preserving Pennytown: A small church contains a world of memories – by Emily Aiken, University of Missouri
Finalist: Climate change threatens Nebraska’s sandhill cranes – by Natalie Saenz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Ayanna Shivers is making history as mayor of Mexico, MO – by Sidney Steele, University of Missouri

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Winner: After semester of tumult, Columbia parents and officials still at odds over police in schools – by Isabel Lohman and Mawa Iqbal, University of Missouri
Finalist: A Roe v. Wade challenge could be coming. Will it come from Missouri? – by Aviva Okeson-Haberman, Anna Lewis and Caitlyn Rosen, University of Missouri

Radio News Reporting
Winner: Vaping: A health warning goes out – by Acacia Wertzstein, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: ASL is on the rise – but it’s not always part of the deaf experience – by Kassidy Arena, University of Missouri
Finalist: New center addresses recidivism by connecting former offenders with resources – by Zia Kelly, University of Missouri


Television Breaking News Reporting
Finalist: Will rezoning work? – by Keely Drew McCormick, University of Kansas

Television General News Reporting
Winner: Mudslide – by Savannah Hampton, Ethan Harrison and Avery Reed, College of the Ozarks
Finalist: What it means to be a black business owner in Lincoln – by Allie Snow, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: On the streets – by Keely Drew McCormick, University of Kansas

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Recovering from disaster – by Keely Drew McCormick, University of Kansas
Finalist: Veterans history project – by Nathaniel Snipes, Matthew Weathermon, Ethan Harrison and Nate Hankins, College of the Ozarks
Finalist: War memorial – by Savannah Hampton, Ethan Harrison, Caleb Brubaker and Nathaniel Hankins, College of the Ozarks

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: Rich the custodian – by Josh Lamberty, Iowa State University
Finalist: Fremont flood recovery – Volunteerism in force – by Aaron Housenga, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Tunnels – by Ben Johnson and Nathaniel Snipes, College of the Ozarks

Best All-Around Television Newscast
Winner: Dec. 11, 2019, news show – by Staff, University of Kansas
Finalist: LCTV – by Staff of LCTV News, Loras College


Online News Reporting
Winner: How Missouri’s Senate passed a restrictive abortion bill overnight – by Aviva Okeson-Haberman, University of Missouri
Finalist: Flood delivers distinct blows to Nebraska’s immigrants – by Elizabeth Rembert, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Eudora resident honored for bravery in saving local woman’s life – by Riley Wilson, University of Kansas

Online Feature Reporting
Winner: A father’s love, now and forever – by Alli Davis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Finding home – by Cary Littlejohn, Brooke Johnson, Sten Spinella and Elena Cruz, University of Missouri
Finalist: Protecting the herd – by Isaiah Somanas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Online In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Finding a voice: New Americans and language – by Staff of Nebraska Mosaic, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: District manages school lunch debt with donations – by Riley Wilson, University of Kansas
Finalist: Thousands call Missouri’s adult abuse hotline, but only some get through – by Kyra Haas and Aviva Okeson-Haberman, University of Missouri

Online Sports Reporting
Winner: Reaching for the pros – by Dominic Hoscher, Lindenwood University
Finalist: Diverse cultures combine to create culture of North Star boys soccer team – by Ben Jones, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Best Affiliated Web Site
Winner: Vox Magazine – by Staff of Vox Magazine, University of Missouri
Finalist: Left in the dark: Puerto Rico’s fight for a just recovery – by Staff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: Lindenlink – by Staff of Lindenwood, Lindenwood University


Winner: The Spellmann era – by Kayla Drake and Matt Hampton, Lindenwood University
Finalist: Intersection – Combating hunger in Missouri – by Molly Dove, University of Missouri
Finalist: Intersection – Navigating the world of sound with hearing loss – by Kassidy Arena, University of Missouri


Online/Digital Sports Videography
Winner: Making it happen – by Kayla Drake, Lindenwood University

Online/Digital Feature Videography
Winner: Sharp end – by Fiona Murphy, University of Missouri
Finalist: Into the air with UIHC’s AirCare team – by Roman Slabach, University of Iowa

Broadcast News Videography
Winner: Bobcat thunder – by Nathaniel Snipes, Ben Johnson, Matthew Weathermon and Caleb Brubaker, College of the Ozarks

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