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Region 9 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced


Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, 317-920-4786, lharry@spj.org
Zoλ Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the best collegiate journalism in Region 9 with 2021 Mark of Excellence Awards winners.

SPJ’s Region 9 comprises Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. 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 9 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: Former BYU professor charged with sexually abusing a student pleads not guilty — by Decker Westenburg, Brigham Young University
Finalist: 22 forever: U campus community gathers at candlelight vigil to honor student-athlete Aaron Lowe — by Kayleigh Silverstein and Jack O'Leary, University of Utah
Finalist: Resident assistants raise concerns about pay and working conditions — by Ernesto Cisneros, Luis Rios and Hannah Zamora, New Mexico State University

General News Reporting
Winner: BYU, Utah women find healing amid high rates of sexual assault — by Cassidy Wixom, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Reflecting on research: A year of COVID-19 at CSU — by Noelle Mason, Colorado State University
Finalist: UNC students, community members experience difficulties at University Flats — by Cinthia Cortez, University of Northern Colorado

In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Vatican pronouncement highlights clash between gay marriage and religious freedom — by Cassidy Wixom, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Mine of local legend sealed — by Sarah Earnshaw, Weber State University
Finalist: Native American Heritage Month: Recognizing history and moving forward — by Abhilasha Khatri and Haley Utendorfer, University of Utah

Feature Writing
Winner: Land art, vandalism and Utah’s natural environment — by Drew Reynolds, University of Utah
Finalist: Undetected light — by Emily White, Utah State University
Finalist: Back to the Fairgrounds: After a year away, NM State Fair vendors are optimistic despite challenges — by Rachel Lorenz, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Sports Writing
Winner: A bond and brotherhood: How 7 returned missionaries are thriving with Stanford football — by Joseph Hovey, Brigham Young University

Editorial Writing
Winner: Campus police, college tuition, divestment — by The Daily Utah Chronicle Editorial Board, University of Utah
Finalist: Women's safety, the Gabby Petito case, Olympic athletes — by Aya Hibben, University of Utah
Finalist: Nonviolent offenders, plea deals, junk science — by KC Ellen Cushman, University of Utah

General Column Writing
Winner: Tackling student, local and national issues — by Megan Cowdell, Utah State University
Finalist: Kincart on MMIW, Deznat and the LDS church — by Sydney Kincart, University of Utah
Finalist: Cushman on domestic violence, tax rhetoric, stereotypes about sex — by KC Ellen Cushman, University of Utah

Sports Column Writing
Winner: Sports columns — by Jackson Payne, Brigham Young University

Corbin Gwaltney Award for Best All-Around Student Newspaper
Winner: The Signpost — by staff, Weber State University
Finalist: The Daily Utah Chronicle — by staff, University of Utah
Finalist: Rocky Mountain Collegian — by staff, Colorado State University

Best Student Magazine
Winner: The Bold Magazine — by staff, University of Colorado Boulder
Finalist: The Daily Universe Magazine — by staff, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Talon Magazine — by staff, Community College of Denver

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: The Arapahoe Pinnacle — by staff, Arapahoe Community College


Breaking News Photography
Winner: 22 Forever: U campus community gathers at candlelight vigil to honor student-athlete Aaron Lowe — by Jack Gambassi, University of Utah
Finalist: Inauguration Day stays quiet — by Sarah Earnshaw, Weber State University
Finalist: Contention captured: Preachers on the plaza — by Grayson Reed, Colorado State University

General News Photography
Winner: Colorado Air Show — by Devin Cornelius, Colorado State University
Finalist: Utah’s fossil fuel industry: Is divestment possible? — by Gwen Christopherson, University of Utah
Finalist: COVID testing — by Brooklyn Kilgore, Weber State University

Feature Photography
Winner: Excited for the show — by Tri Duong, Colorado State University
Finalist: Buening: Protect our pollinators — by Brooklyn Critchley, University of Utah
Finalist: Bring a good camera and wear the right shoes: Lessons From a protest — by Molly Thomas, Community College of Denver

Photo Illustration
Winner: The Chrony sports desk's favorite athletes of all time — by Sydney Stam, University of Utah
Finalist: Water bottle — by Skyler Pradhan, Colorado State University
Finalist: Kincart: Another blow to the Voting Rights Act should spark worry — by Cyan Larson, University of Utah

Sports Photography
Winner: Logging — by Milo Gladstein, Colorado State University
Finalist: Utah Men’s swim and dive falls to No. 2 California in hard fought dual meet — by Jack Gambassi, University of Utah
Finalist: Victory touchdown — by Dallin Wilks, Brigham Young University

Broadcast/Online News Videography
Winner: Veterans vigil — by William Bultez, Utah State University
Finalist: Family-owned businesses struggle with shortages — by Natalie Devereaux, Colorado State University
Finalist: Houska blood drive — by Kenneth Frederick, Colorado State University

Broadcast/Online Feature Videography
Winner: CSU bug zoo — by Robbie Patla, Colorado State University
Finalist: All Sales Vinyl — by Tom Isaacson, Colorado State University
Finalist: Cam the Ram — by Ren Wadsworth, Colorado State University

Broadcast/Online Sports Videography
Winner: From Santiago to Tokyo: A BYU swimmer’s journey to the Olympics — by Ashley Pasley, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Trash car racing — by Sarah Murphy, Utah State University


Winner: Talking on La Frontera — by Jose Chavez, Colorado State University Pueblo
Finalist: Bulls Ice — by Michelle Wells, Colorado State University Pueblo


Television Breaking News Reporting
Winner: October storm hits Logan — by A-TV News staff, Utah State University

Television General News Reporting
Winner: Sexual assault rates on college campuses higher than you might think — by Natalie Schiller, University of Denver
Finalist: Distracted driving dangers plague Provo — by Joe Belnap, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Spider goats — by Sam Walker, Utah State University

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: Artist Santiago Jaramillo connects community and heritage — by Linneya Gardner, Haley Birt, University of Denver
Finalist: Photography professor finds personal connection with 1917 family album — by Linneya Gardner, University of Denver
Finalist: Sarah says thanks — by Sarah Murphy, Utah State University

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Biden riles Catholics — by Jonathan May, Utah State University
Finalist: Provo moves to more sustainable power practices — by Carly Wasserlein, Brigham Young University
Finalist: Campus safety: Testing campus resources — by Ally Arnold O'Rullian, Brigham Young University

Television Sports Reporting
Winner: Trash car racing — by Sarah Murphy, Utah State University
Finalist: NBA coach retires — by Emma Feuz, Utah State University

Best All-Around Television News Magazine
Winner: Cache Rendezvous — by Fa'aitiiti Tuileta, A-TV Staff, Utah State University
Finalist: Universe Live — by staff, Brigham Young University

All platforms

Cultural Criticism
Winner: Film and television critiques — by Megan Fisher and Luke Jackson, University of Utah
Finalist: Diwali Unites — by Emma Feuz, Utah State University
Finalist: Performing arts critiques — by Paige Gardner, Tervela Georgieva, India Bown and Hannah Keating, University of Utah

Arts/Fashion Journalism
Winner: Met Gala 2021 a fashion spectacle but at the expense of safety? — by Lee Kedem, University of Utah
Finalist: Examining environmental traditions through maize with artist Jorge Rojas — by Paige Gardner, University of Utah
Finalist: North Denver theaters ‘Keep The Arts Alive’ — by Rachel Lorenz, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Food/Restaurant Journalism
Winner: Yum Yum's Lebanese restaurant is a Fort Collins institution — by Tri Duong, Colorado State University
Finalist: CTV Cooks: Burger battle — by Hattie Williams and Zeya Highley, Colorado State University

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