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Region 7 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced


Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, 317-920-4786, lharry@spj.org
Michelle Lagos, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-927-8000, mlagos@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the best collegiate journalism in Region 7 with 2021 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.

National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at the MediaFest22 convention in Washington, D.C., Oct. 27-30.

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 SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards Lou Harry by email or 317-920-4786.

This list reflects the spelling and titles submitted in the award entries. New MOE categories were added this year for cultural criticism, arts/fashion journalism and food/restaurant journalism.


Breaking News Reporting
Winner: Police served multiple warrants against FIJI and its members last year, court records show — by Caleb McCullough, University of Iowa
Finalist: Barbara Wilson named next University of Iowa president — by Rylee Wilson, Rachel Schilke and Eleanor Hildebrandt, University of Iowa
Finalist: What will replace safe ride? — by Raegan Neufeld, Fort Hays State University

General News Reporting (Large)
Winner: COVID curtains for musicals — by Alayna Verduyn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Lawrence plans to move forward with the return of ‘Founder's Rock’ to Kanza Tribe — by Max Irvine, University of Kansas
Finalist: University of Iowa presidential finalists — by The Daily Iowan staff, University of Iowa

General News Reporting (Small)
Winner: Turning point USA petitions to become a registered student organization — by Gannon Henry, Drake University
Finalist: Main Street nightlife hit with 'footloose' ban — by Alexis Montgomery, Lindenwood University
Finalist: TikTok personality Sister Cindy preaches on campus — by Luke Clausen, Mackenzie Swenson, Drake University

In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Weathering the storm — by Vox Magazine staff, Missouri School of Journalism
Finalist: KU grapples with diverse faculty retention — by Lucy Peterson, University of Kansas
Finalist: If you can see it, you can be it: How volleyball in Nebraska created a cycle of greatness — by Abby Barmore, College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Feature Writing
Winner: Being Black in Lincoln: Albert Maxey recalls his days walking the beat — by Nick McConnell, University of Nebraska
Finalist: After 20 years, the UI and Daily Iowan remember 9/11 — by Josie Fischels and Rachel Schilke, University of Iowa
Finalist: Friends, colleagues, students and family reflect on the legacy of Iowa’s first Poet Laureate Marvin — by Josie Fischels, University of Iowa

Sports Writing
Winner: Luka Garza: The Iowa men’s basketball program’s humble, team-driven all-time leading scorer — by Robert Read, University of Iowa
Finalist: ‘We knew that she was the special one’: Caitlin Clark dominating in her first season — by Chloe Peterson, University of Iowa
Finalist: Kevin Kugler is the everywhere man — by Grant Hansen, College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Editorial Writing
Winner: Editorials — by DI Editorial Board, University of Iowa
Finalist: Kansan.com — by Paul Samberg, University of Kansas

General Column Writing
Winner: Columns — by Yassie Buchanan, University of Iowa
Finalist: Columns — by Hannah Pinski, University of Iowa
Finalist: Columns — by John Carter Jr., Fort Hays State University

Sports Column Writing
Winner: Columns — by Robert Read, University of Iowa

Best Student Magazine
Winner: Drake Mag — by staff, Drake University
Finalist: Vox Magazine — by staff, Missouri School of Journalism
Finalist: Climate change Nebraska Magazine — by staff, College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Best Affiliated Web Site
Winner: Dailyiowan.com — by staff, University of Iowa
Finalist: VoxMagazine.com — by staff, Missouri School of Journalism
Finalist: Nebraska News Service — by staff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: Lindenlink — by staff, Lindenwood University
Finalist: UNLimited Sports Magazine — by staff, University of Nebraska


General News Photography
Winner: Vaccine — by Grace Smith, University of Iowa
Finalist: State of the state — by Ryan Adams, University of Iowa

Feature Photography
Winner: Fanning a dying flame — by Owen Ziliak, Missouri School of Journalism
Finalist: Freakshow — by Tate Hildyard, University of Iowa

Photo Illustration
Winner: Inside on the outside — by Jacob Moscovitch, Missouri School of Journalism

Sports Photography
Winner: Goodson hurdle — by Jerod Ringwald, University of Iowa

Best Use of Multimedia
Winner: Iowa’s first poet laureate, Marvin Bell — by Josie Fischels, Hannah Kinson, Kelsey Harrell and Parker Jones, University of Iowa
Finalist: Wood River continues recovery from 2019 flooding — by Samantha Hargens, Lena Nelson and Riley Tolan-Keig, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Broadcast/Online News Videography
Winner: John and Esteban — by Ryan Adams and Jenna Galligan, University of Iowa

Broadcast/Online Feature Videography
Winner: Mom: Iowa City mothers on pandemic parenthood — by Jenna Galligan, University of Iowa
Finalist: Character camp — by staff, College of the Ozarks
Finalist: Making a musical — by Verve Reposar, Alexander Olson and Abby Riffel, College of the Ozarks

Broadcast/Online Sports Videography
Winner: Skating past the stigma — by Daniel McGregor-Huyer, University of Iowa
Finalist: Meet the tigers: Kade Wallace — by Ethan Booe, Fort Hays State University

Data Visualization
Winner: How universities across the Big Ten are continuing to combat COVID-19 — by Kelsey Harrell, University of Iowa


Radio News Reporting
Winner: For this Columbia activist, life in pandemic hasn't slowed down — by Xcaret Nunez, University of Missouri
Finalist: In-school flu shot clinics pave the way for vaccinating kids under twelve against COVID — by Caoilinn Goss, University of Missouri
Finalist: Nebraska bill seeks to raise minimum wage to $20 — by Damon Barr, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Radio Feature
Winner: Their ‘pocket world’: Parkade students learn meaning of land — by Xcaret Nunez, University of Missouri
Finalist: Lavender a tough crop for ‘muggy’ Missouri, but this couple is giving it a go. — by Rachel Schnelle, University of Missouri
Finalist: Battle of the Joshes: How an internet meme raised over $13,000 for the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center — by Nebraska News Service staff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Researchers and student scientists look to Missouri lakes for clues about the impact of climate change — by Becca Newton, University of Missouri
Finalist: The Red Zone: Sexual assault at UNL — by Luke Weidner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Winner: State of waste — by Jolie Peal, Emma Krab, Anne Gallagher and Geoff Exstrom, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: The Check-In: MU's social justice centers — by Isabella Paxton, Becca Newton and Hannah France, University of Missouri
Finalist: Gas tax brass tacks: What drove Missouri’s first fuel tax increase in 25 years — by D.C. Benincasa and Ian Laird, University of Missouri


Television General News Reporting
Winner: Veterans of Afghanistan — by Avery Reed, Nate Hankins and Nathan Jeffries, College of the Ozarks
Finalist: Crescent Moon adapts following pandemic — by Nathan Bacon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Heritage kickoff — by Kerrigan Hutton, Fort Hays State University

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: Basement creators network — by Ty Hawkins, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Reagan Myer feature — by Ryan Atchison, University of Kansas
Finalist: The Vintage Hawks — by Caroline Soro, University of Kansas

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: 2021 Nebraska harvest — by Kloee Sander, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Finalist: Gamestop — by Karsten Armstrong, Sarah Best, Anna Ginnings and Alexander Olson, College of the Ozarks

Television Sports Reporting
Winner: Omaha North playoff run — by Blake Aerni, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Best All-Around Television Newscast
Winner: Nebraska Nightly — by staff, University of Nebraska
Finalist: KUJH News — by KUJH and Media Crossroads staff, University of Kansas
Finalist: DITV — by staff, University of Iowa

Best All-Around Television News Magazine
Winner: The Point — by staff, College of the Ozarks

All Platforms

Arts/Fashion Journalism
Winner: The people behind the instruments — by Irina Matchavariani, Missouri School of Journalism
Finalist: Many faces, one community — by Kaylee Schreiner, Missouri School of Journalism
Finalist: A song a day — by Jillian Lampkins, College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Food/Restaurant Journalism
Winner: Restaurant staffing issues — by Will Sleddins, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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