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SPJ announces 2020 national Mark of Excellence Award winners


Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, 317-920-4786, lharry@spj.org
Ashlynn Neumeyer, Communications Coordinator, 317-361-4133, aneumeyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists congratulates the 2020 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 Summit event during its annual conference. SPJ21 is happening Sept. 2-4 in-person in New Orleans and online.

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 Manager of Publications and Awards Lou Harry.

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


Best All-Around Student Newspaper (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Columbia Daily Spectator - by Staff, Columbia University
Finalist: Loyola Phoenix - by Staff, Loyola University Chicago
Finalist: The Rocky Mountain Collegian - by Staff, Colorado State University

Best All-Around Student Newspaper (Small) 1-9,999+ Students
Winner: Miscellany News, Pandemic Newsletters - by Staff, Vassar College
Finalist: The Bethel Clarion - by Molly Korzenowski, Emma Harville, Will Jacott, Emma Gottschalk, Bethel University
Finalist: The Pendulum - by Staff, Elon University

Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: North complex fire - by Chloe Curtis, Kimberly Morales, Matthew Wreden, Chico State
Finalist: Democracy in darkness - by Benjamin Wells, Natallie St. Onge, Marquette University
Finalist: Harvard, MIT sue immigration authorities - by Michelle G. Kurilla, Camille G. Caldera, Harvard College

Breaking News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Outgoing Loyola director under investigation at Arizona State - by Rose Wagner, Loyola University New Orleans
Finalist: Administrator goes public with concerns about racism and sexism within UP administration - by Gabi DiPaulo, University of Portland
Finalist: Cedarville University will finish semester online, commencement postponed - by Tim Miller, Cedarville University

Editorial Writing
Winner: Editorials - by Zachariah Chou, University of Florida
Finalist: Editorials - by Editorial Board, Marquette University
Finalist: Editorials - by Staff, Texas State University

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Milwaukee church protests racism through religion - by Richa Karmarkar, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Finalist: Inside the conservative media outlet feeding Harvard students to Fox News - by Malaika K. Tapper, Harvard College
Finalist: Transgender awareness - by Staff, Colorado State University

Feature Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Voices on racism - by Kyra Steck, Northwestern University
Finalist: “We never realize what we have until we have it no longer” - by Joey Fox, Rebecca Tauber, Williams College
Finalist: The fight doesn't stop here - by Molly Korzenowski, Bethel University

General Column Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Brammhi's Ballot - by Brammhi Balarajan, Emory University
Finalist: John Hyrdrisko columns - by John Hydrisko, University of Mississippi
Finalist: Navdeep Bal - by Navdeep Bal, University of California, Los Angeles

General Column Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Opinion pieces - by Alexander Prevost, Gonzaga University
Finalist: Opinion pieces - by McKenzie Ward, Framingham State University
Finalist: Abroad in South Korea during COVID-19 - by Claire Lee, Pepperdine University

General News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: UMD workers union fights for improved COVID-19 protection - by Angela Roberts, Clara Longo de Freitas, University of Maryland, College Park
Finalist: Black on campus - by Tritima Achigbu, David Silva Ramirez, University of Texas at Arlington
Finalist: Between 2 worlds: how Syracuse’s racist housing policies created a racial divide - by Marnie Muñoz, Syracuse University

General News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: “I’m doing my part:” the grocery store workers on the front lines of the pandemic - by Delaney Nelson, Northwestern University
Finalist: Elon University ranks #371 for social mobility - by Grace Terry, Elon University

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: The gun edition - by Staff, Florida A&M University
Finalist: In Focus: Loopholes in federal lead law left 5th Ward in the dark about what is in its water - by Kalen Luciano, Heena Srivastava, Northwestern University

In-Depth Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Trauma behind the curtain: allegations uncovered, investigation launched, professor leaves Rider - by Stephen Neukam, Rider University
Finalist: An uphill battle: University of Puerto Rico students, professors respond to severe budget cuts - by Carmen Honker, William & Mary
Finalist: Death and injustice in the borderlands - by Julia Woock, Southwestern College

Sports Column Writing
Winner: Columns - by Peter Warren, Northwestern University
Finalist: Columns - by Michael Vestey, Miami University
Finalist: Football columns - by Simon Gibbs, Vanderbilt University

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Cosmo: An oral history of the viral dance - by Elisa Huhem, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Raising Declan - by Aidan Bea, Texas State University
Finalist: The ‘inescapable’ effect of off-campus athletics - by Staff, Columbia University

Sports Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Fighting forever - by Emma Eidsvoog, Neha Goyal, Neelam Sidhani, Bethel University
Finalist: SC 1, Yankees 0 - by Andrew Sanchez, Southwestern College
Finalist: CU alumni qualify for Olympic marathon trials - by Abigail Hintz, Cedarville University


Non-Fiction Magazine Article
Winner: ài (爱) to love and ái (挨) to suffer - by Erin Glynn, Miami University
Finalist: Thoughts, prayers & stem cells - by Katherine Sypher, Anthony J. Wallace, Arizona State University
Finalist: Worn down by wellness - by Elena DeBre, Yale University

Best Student Magazine
Winner: El Sol - by Staff, Southwestern College
Finalist: PULSE magazine - by Maddy Wilson, Sara Roach, Kassandra Eller, Spencer Clifton, Central Washington University
Finalist: Curb Pause - by Staff, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Breaking News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Protest arrest - by Katie Goodale, University of Iowa
Finalist: LAPD cruiser burns during Black Lives Matter protest - by Yasamin Jafari-Tehrani, Santa Monica College
Finalist: Supporting Trump - by Noah Riffe, The Pennsylvania State University

Breaking News Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Chino Hills residents debate evacuating during fire - by Jasmin Sani, Chapman University
Finalist: March for Action on Alden photo - by Joe Arruda, Springfield College
Finalist: Nashville tornado damage - by Mckenzi Harris, Lipscomb University

Data Visualization
Winner: California propositions 2020 - by Sonia Hiew, Michael Goldsmith, Santa Monica College
Finalist: Colorado’s 2020 election explained in 9 graphs - by Sam Ye, Colorado State University
Finalist: The Ivy League was late to respond to COVID-19. Data shows international universities did better - by Staff, Columbia University

Editorial Cartooning
Winner: Daily Bruin cartoons - by Andrea Grigsby, University of California, Los Angeles
Finalist: Student proved - by Derek Snyder, Oregon State University

Feature Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Capturing and documenting trauma in Panama - by Nicole Neri, Arizona State University
Finalist: Illuminated dancers - by Elias Valverde II, University of Texas at Arlington
Finalist: Hemp Harvest Festival buzzes with freedom - by Emily Kenny, Syracuse University

Feature Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Black Lives Matter: The digital mobilization of citizen journalists - by Julia Navarro, Humboldt State University
Finalist: Behind the lens: Altering perspective - by Alexander Johansen, Minnesota State University Moorhead
Finalist: University steps into Black History Month - by Maegan Mendoza, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

General News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Activist group marches through Arlington - by Elias Valverde II, University of Texas at Arlington
Finalist: Bayview coalition demands justice for environmental racism - by Harika Maddala, San Francisco State University
Finalist: Hugging with hope - by Lucy Morantz, Colorado State University

General News Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Police take a knee to show solidarity at peaceful protest - by Ben Levitt, Mercer County Community College
Finalist: No more bruises - by Zach Walker, Will Jacott, Hersh Singh, Emma Gottschalk, Bethel University
Finalist: Health science safety photo - by Tony Reeves, University of Indianapolis

Photo Illustration
Winner: Wonderland - by Sam Balmer, University of Missouri-Columbia
Finalist: A clear victory - by Andy Caress, Virginia Commonwealth University
Finalist: Basketball season preview - by David Onwukeme, University of Utah

Sports Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: FAU defeats UMass, finishing perfect at home under Willie Taggart’s inaugural season - by Alex Liscio, Florida Atlantic University
Finalist: Men’s lacrosse grinds out second-half comeback for massive win in defensive showdown - by Zoe Davis, Syracuse University
Finalist: Iowa-Ohio state wrestling - by Shivansh Ahuja, University of Iowa

Sports Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Sophomore forward Clay Gayman leaps over junior forward Gavin Kensmil for a layup - by David Mitchell, Abilene Christian University


Best All-Around Radio Newscast
Winner: Carolina Connection - by Staff, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Finalist: WNUR 6:00 News - by Angelina Campanile, Helen Bradshaw, Alex Harrison, Olivia Lloyd, Northwestern University
Finalist: Newsline - by Staff, Hofstra University

Radio Feature
Winner: Chess parlor sees an uptick in popularity after ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ - by Holly DeMuth, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Finalist: When eviction court moved to Zoom, this attorney kept fighting for renters’ rights - by Daisy Espinoza, University of Houston
Finalist: ‘Swamp therapy' hikes aim to connect south Floridians to the Everglades - by Maria Esquinca, University of Miami

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Choose to refuse: Escaping the cycle of addiction - by Nesrien Abdelkader, The American University in Cairo
Finalist: Explained: President Trump's election lawsuits - by Angelina Campanile, Northwestern University
Finalist: Zoonotic diseases traced to illegal wildlife trade - by Caitlynn McDaniel, Arizona State University

Radio News Reporting
Winner: Phoenix area restaurants survival - by Caitlynn McDaniel, Arizona State University
Finalist: Buzi bus service - by Alix Larson, Minnesota State University Moorhead
Finalist: Project Little Shell: Questioning blood quantum - by Mary Auld, University of Montana

Radio Sports Reporting
Winner: Pink Dragon Ladies - by Gabriela Mercurio, University of Florida
Finalist: SU's fight for social justice - by Jenna Fink, Syracuse University
Finalist: Gabe Trujillo, Spanish-speaking PBP voice of AZ Cardinals - by Jonah Hrkal, Arizona State University


Best All-Around Television News Magazine
Winner: Routes TV — Oklahoma's mental health battle - by Stingray Schuller, Aspen Endriss, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: The forgotten city - by Staff, University of Florida

Bests All-Around Television Newscast
Winner: NewsVision - by Jenna Weiss, Spencer Askinazy, Ben Ezzy, Tyler Walsh, University of Miami
Finalist: Focal Point - by Staff, Michigan State University
Finalist: Chapman News - by Staff, Chapman University

Television Breaking News Reporting
Winner: Press Bar and Parlor burns to the ground - by Tony Langfellow, Saint Cloud State University
Finalist: Trolley accident - by Greg Bradbury, Syracuse University

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: Biden at SU - by Ricky Sayer, Syracuse University
Finalist: Virtual pow wow dancing - by Jennifer Alvarez, Arizona State University
Finalist: Old school activism: A history of protest at Northwestern - by Joey Maya Safchik, Northwestern University

Television General News Reporting
Winner: ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime event.’ - by Joe Freihofer, Michigan State University
Finalist: Firefighter cancer - by Dylan McKim, Arizona State University
Finalist: Five months after Hurricane Dorian at the Abaco Lodge - by Payton Tysinger, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Dust-to-dust - by Parker Thune, Ben Possehl, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: Four Days, 5 Murders - by Chris O'Brien, University of Florida
Finalist: COVID prisons - by Katelyn Keenehan, Arizona State University

Television Sports Reporting
Winner: Skating through adversity - by Michael Gutnick, Arizona State University
Finalist: A heart of a champion and the mind of a (ninja) warrior - by Sydney Wicker, Colorado State University


Best Affiliated Web Site
Winner: Curb Pause - by Staff, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Finalist: redandblack.com - by Staff, University of Georgia
Finalist: Elon News Network - by Staff, Elon University

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: JOVRNALISM - by Staff, USC Annenberg
Finalist: Talisman Website - by Website Staff, Western Kentucky University
Finalist: The 61% Project - by Staff, Syracuse University

Best Use of Multimedia
Winner: Five years after SAE - by Paxson Haws, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: As Juneteenth approached, students across the country protested racism and police brutality - by The Eagle, American University
Finalist: Who we are: Finding home - by Staff, USC Annenberg

Online Feature Reporting
Winner: The Candy Man can - by Kailey Pickering, Colorado State University
Finalist: Rising waters - by Staff, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Finalist: Softening stigma - by Emily Isaacman, Karli VanCleave, Mel Fronczek, Indiana University

Online In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Panama – where the world waits at America’s door - by Calah Schlabach, Nino Abdaladze, Daja Henry, Anthony J. Wallace, Arizona State University
Finalist: High stakes: The risks and rewards of legalizing marijuana - by Staff, Syracuse University
Finalist: The Red Flag Law as a means of suicide prevention - by Anna Dunn, Colorado State University

Online News Reporting
Winner: Operation Agent Touch - by Staff of Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, Arizona State University
Finalist: In a time when caring more is vital, the UW system chose to care less - by Jodie Filenius, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Finalist: BERT sit-in - by Staff, University of Oklahoma

Online Opinion & Commentary
Winner: Forget about politics, why Black lives matter - by Carmen Fanning, Fort Hays State University
Finalist: A history of BSU’s demands: Repeating our university’s oppressive past - by Opinion team, University of Washington - Seattle
Finalist: What a New Yorker in 2020 has in common with a sculptor during the Black Death - by Liza Vandenboom, The King's College

Online Sports Reporting
Winner: How sports culture undermines athletes long after they graduate - by Madeleine Davison, Syracuse University
Finalist: A gridiron legacy uncovered: How Northwestern football players risked it all for racial equality - by Lia Assimakopoulos, Northwestern University
Finalist: Lacrosse coach released from contract amid potential cuts to scholarships and roster spots of five players - by Spencer Nusbaum, American University


Broadcast Feature Videography
Winner: Beyond the finish line - by Victor Prieto, University of Florida
Finalist: Virtual pow wow dancing - by Jennifer Alvarez, Arizona State University
Finalist: A sound to soldier on - by Mikayla Temple, Michigan State University

Broadcast News Videography
Winner: Door to disaster - by Joseline Donoso, University of Florida
Finalist: They've been waiting for this day - by Ian Gilmour, Michigan State University
Finalist: The essential workers of the Coachella Valley - by Edwin Flores, California State University Fullerton

Broadcast Sports Videography
Winner: All you need is a set of wheels... And one of these - by Joe Freihofer, Michigan State University
Finalist: ‘Project Dad' - by Julianna D'Urzo, Lindsay Eastwood, Peyton Smith, Syracuse University
Finalist: Saints weather the storms - by Victor Prieto, University of Florida

Online/Digital Feature Videography
Winner: Meat for the mind - by Jiakai Lou, University of Montana
Finalist: Victoria's Foil - by Brett Forrest, Brian Ryu, Columbia University

Online/Digital News Videography
Winner: Where are the students? An enrollment investigation - by Quinn Corcoran, University of Montana
Finalist: Black at Kent State - by Staff, Kent State University
Finalist: SF State student stuck in Ghana - by David Sjostedt, San Francisco State University

Online/Digital Sports Videography
Winner: Chasing the dragon - by Cole Strong, Syracuse University
Finalist: Maggie Nichols: Courageous - by Will Conover, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: San Jose State University football team comes to Humboldt - by Dakota Cox, Skylar Gaven, Thomas Lal, Humboldt State Univeristy

Immersion Journalism

Immersion Journalism
Winner: Who we are: Finding home - by Staff, USC Annenberg
Finalist: Tour Cornell's research facility where New York's hemp industry takes root - by Sonny Cirasuolo, Amanda Paule, Syracuse University


Winner: Intractable: The rat problem - by Peter Senzamici, Theresa Gaffney, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Finalist: Real College Podcast- Protest special episode - by Tosin Faseemo, Casey McCabe, John Kueppers, Zoe Challenger, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Finalist: DACAmented - by Brianna Estrada, Christine D. Insigne, Arianna Rodriguez, University of La Verne

All Platforms

Collaborative Journalism
Winner: Border War Rivals - by Staff, Colorado State University
Finalist: The Xpress 2020 California Ballot Measure Voting Guide - by Staff, San Francisco State University

Video game reporting
Winner: Why many disabled players call The Last of Us Part II the most accessible videogame yet - by Joseph Stanichar, Ohio University
Finalist: Arizona Smash community faces challenge during pandemic - by Connor Van Ligten, Arizona State
Finalist: Gamers ditch discs - by Kaden Anderson, Utah State University


COVID-19: Digital (Still) Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Limbo: Alone together - by Jessica Strange, University of North Texas
Finalist: Caring for Mr. Frantz - by Lexi Elder, The Pennsylvania State University
Finalist: Photo Gallery: COVID-19 vaccine reaches the frontlines in the High Country - by Jesse Barber, Appalachian State University

COVID-19: Digital (Still) Photography (Small) 1-9,999+ Students
Winner: Off the clock during COVID-19 - by Victoria Martinez, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

COVID-19: Newspaper, Magazine and Online Coverage (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Quarantine and Coronavirus in Montana's Indian Country - by Staff, University of Montana
Finalist: Coronavirus devastates Oxford businesses, city proposes stimulus program - by Ceili Doyle, Miami University
Finalist: Limbo: Pandemic Perspectives - by Mayborn Photojournalists, University of North Texas

COVID-19: Newspaper, Magazine and Online Coverage (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: COVID-19 university and border closures leave international students in confusing situations - by Merlina San Nicolás Leyva, Kayla Drake, Matt Hampton, Lindenwood University
Finalist: Isolated and misinformed: My aftermath regarding Coronavirus - by Luis Joel Méndez González, University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo

COVID-19: Video Coverage (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Coronavirus pandemia mundial (Coronavirus global pandemic) - by Staff, California State University Fullerton
Finalist: Dancing through COVID - by Katherine Tipton, University of Oklahoma
Finalist: COVID vs a college town - by Staff, University of Florida

COVID-19: Video Coverage (Small) 1-9,999+ Students
Winner: Campus quarantine - by Micah Kennedy, Lipscomb University
Finalist: COVID and tourism - by Colette Ngo, Chapman University
Finalist: Coronavirus on the Hilltop - by Lauren Rangel, Southern Methodist University

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