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SPJ, The Chronicle of Higher Education announce student newspaper awards named for Corbin Gwaltney


Rebecca Aguilar, SPJ National President, 317-361-4134, rebeccaaguilar50@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org
Nick Findlay, Chronicle Managing Director of Marketing, 202-466-1238, findlayn@gmail.com

INDIANAPOLIS — An annual award, presented by the Society of Professional Journalists in honor of the nation’s best student newspapers, will now be named for the late Corbin Gwaltney, co-founder of The Chronicle of Higher Education and founder of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards, which recognize student journalism in dozens of categories, will now include the Corbin Gwaltney Award for Best All-Around Student Newspaper, honoring journalistic excellence in two divisions based on student enrollment. Two national winners will receive a $5,000 prize provided by The Chronicle and be recognized in June at the Sigma Delta Chi Awards banquet in Washington, D.C.

"It is befitting two of SPJ's most prestigious awards for collegiate journalism are named after Mr. Gwaltney," said SPJ National President Rebecca Aguilar. "The student journalists whose work earns this recognition benefit in so many ways from the legacy Mr. Gwaltney left — not only because of what he did for higher education but also for journalism. SPJ is honored that these awards will now bear his name."

"Corbin Gwaltney founded The Chronicle in 1966 and quickly turned it into the premier media outlet covering the higher education sector. For over 40 years, he held the publication to the highest editorial and journalistic standards and instilled a pursuit of excellence that continues to this day," said Pamela Gwaltney, Chair of The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Corbin passed away in 2019, but he would have been extremely proud to be associated with this award that, in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists, recognizes outstanding young journalists covering their own campuses."

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s roots go back to 1957 when Gwaltney, then-editor of the Johns Hopkins University alumni magazine, met in New York with fellow editors from 10 other campus publications. They discussed collaborating on a journal that would supplement college alumni publications and explore higher education more broadly. Today, through its digital and print publications, The Chronicle reaches more than 1.7 million professionals across higher ed each month.

Annually, SPJ presents the Mark of Excellence Awards, honoring the best in student journalism. Entries are first judged on the regional level. First-place regional winners advance to the national competition, and most are recognized at their respective regional SPJ conferences. National winners are showcased on SPJ’s website.

A best in show, or MOEy award, is given for the overall best entry among all national winners.
Judging for the winners of the new award will remain the responsibility of SPJ. Judging is based on overall criteria including:

• Accuracy and completeness
• Enterprise and ingenuity
• Adherence to high journalistic standards
• Significance and effectiveness
• Extenuating circumstances
• Clarity, insight, and respect for the audience
• Creative use of the medium’s unique capabilities
• Adherence to the SPJ Code of Ethics
• Available resources

In limited cases, The Chronicle will cover entry fees in the category if the fees present a genuine financial hardship for a student newsroom. Requests for hardship waivers can be submitted to Lou Harry, SPJ manager of publications and awards. Entry fees for SPJ members are $20 per entry and $30 per entry for non-members.

This year’s MOE entries are due by 11:59 p.m. EST Jan. 24. Questions should be sent to SPJ awards staff. More information regarding how to enter MOE and other SPJ awards programs is available on the SPJ website.

Every month The Chronicle of Higher Education provides more than 1.7 million professionals across higher education the right information to make the best decisions for their students, their institutions, and their careers. For more than five decades, The Chronicle has been the unrivaled leader in higher-ed journalism, providing award-winning news and information, deep insights, and opportunities for professional growth to those who shape colleges and universities. It is owned by The Chronicle of Higher Education Inc., which publishes The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Arts & Letters Daily, and The Chronicle Review.

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 SPJ Foundation.


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