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Announcing the 2022 Sigma Delta Chi Awards, MOEy and Corbin Gwaltney winners


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

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is proud to recognize recipients of the 2022 Sigma Delta Chi Awards, honoring outstanding professional journalism produced last year.

Winners were announced tonight during a virtual awards ceremony hosted by SPJ National President Claire Regan. SPJ Foundation President Hagit Limor announced the winners of the top student awards. The video is archived on SPJ’s YouTube channel.

More than 100 established veteran journalists, who served as SDX Awards judges, selected 74 official winners from nearly 1,500 entries. Dozens of local and national news organizations from print, TV, radio and online received SDX Awards, including Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Insider, Noticias Telemundo, Marshall Project, KUSA, Honolulu Civil Beat, NPR, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Frontline, Univision, Voice of America, North Country Public Radio, The Flint Journal, CBS News and many more.

Sigma Delta Chi Awards categories include breaking news, investigative reporting, features, documentaries, editorials and photography and more. This year, new categories were added for regional political reporting, tech reporting, consumer/retail reporting, cultural criticism and obituaries. Plus, categories for work original published or broadcast in Spanish.

In addition to the professional SDX awards, the announcement also celebrated student journalism. The MOEy best in show award recognizes the best student journalism in the country and is given to the top entry among national Mark of Excellence award winners.

This year’s MOEy award goes to Mary Steffenhagen of the City University of New York for the podcast “Home Ed.” This podcast is an examination of the political, religious and legal forces surrounding the homeschooling movement in the United States. “Steffenhagen approached the story through a tragic incident in West Virginia, where a young girl died of abuse from her father and stepmother after she was pulled out of school when teachers reported signs of abuse. But she didn’t stop there,” Limor said. “She incorporated interviews with a homeschooler, West Virginia lawmakers and detailed reporting on the Home School Legal Defense Association, making a strong case that laws and guidelines for homeschooling are often lax. The report is a diligent eye-opener on dynamics in the growing homeschool movement, an often-overlooked area of the country’s education system that is politically and culturally relevant in a moment where parents have become more outspoken about school curriculums.”

This year also marked the second winners of the Corbin Gwaltney Awards for Best All-Around Student Newspapers. The award is named after Corbin Gwaltney, founder of The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was a media innovator who built the Chronicle to be the most respected publication in higher education. There is one award in the large division (10,000+ students) and one in the small division (1-9,999 students). Each winner receives a $5,000 prize, provided by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This year, the winner in the small school division is the staff of The Maroon from Loyola University New Orleans. The judges commented, “The newspaper is consistent and clean while also graphically innovative. With smart and clear writing, it features good story variety and tackles important and challenging topics.” And the winner in the large school division is the staff of The Independent Florida Alligator from the University of Florida. “While tackling wide variety of in-depth issues,” said a judge, “the result remains clear, clean and innovative throughout.”

Regan closed the presentation by saying, “On behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists and the hundreds of volunteer judges for the SDX and Mark of Excellence awards programs, congratulations to all of tonight’s winners. And a reminder that for each of these categories, there are many, many works that could easily have taken the top prizes. Outstanding work is being done at media outlets large and small. You give us hope for the profession, the country and the world. Keep on it.”

All SDX winners are listed and have their work displayed on the SPJ website.

Sigma Delta Chi was created as a student organization in 1909 and eventually grew to become SPJ, the longest-serving and most broad-journalism organization in the United States. SPJ continues to honor its history by retaining the original Greek letters in the awards presented.

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.

The SPJ Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SPJ Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the SPJ Foundation.


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