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SPJ announces 2023 Mark of Excellence National Winners

These awards recognize the best collegiate work published or broadcast during 2023

Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, lharry@spj.org
Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Specialist, ktsuyuki@hq.spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce national winners of the 2023 Mark of Excellence Awards, recognizing collegiate work published or broadcast in 2023. This year, 67 students and staffs from 37 universities across the United States are receiving national honors.

National contenders were previously recognized as first-place winners in one of the SPJ’s 12 regional competitions. The results of those competitions can be found in the April-May 2024 SPJ News archive. Each first-place regional winner advanced to the national competition.

The national-only categories this year are Collaborative Journalism, Editorial Cartooning and Sports Videography.

These awards honor the best in student journalism. As such, judges were directed to choose only those entries which they felt were outstanding work worthy of a national honor.

School divisions are based on student enrollment, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment. Schools with more than 10,000 students are designated as large schools.

National winners will advance to the contest for the MOEy Best in Show, SPJ’s top prize.

The MOEy and two Corbin Gwaltney Awards for Best All-Around Student Newspaper, will be announced during the Sigma Delta Chi awards ceremony happening in June. This virtual event may be viewed on the SPJ YouTube channel.

The 2023 Mark of Excellence national winners are:


Breaking News Reporting (Large)
Students react with anger, activism after Palestinian student shot in Vermont — by Staff, The Brown Daily Herald, Brown University

Breaking News Reporting (Small)
Rutgers week long strike marks historic win for union workers — by Julia Meriney, Ruby Voge, Jessica Romero Silver, The College VOICE, Mercer County Community College

General News Reporting (Large)
Tessier-Lavigne research investigation and reporting on retractions — by Theo Baker, The Stanford Daily, Stanford University

General News Reporting (Small)
“One of the worst nights of my life” — by Gabi Morando, The Butler Collegian, Butler University

In-Depth Reporting (Large)
The long return — by Staff, Montana Native News Project/Missoulian, University of Montana

In-Depth Reporting (Small)
Alamance-Burlington schools grapple with financial strain after summer mold crisis — by Sophie Rosenthal, Elon News Network, Elon University

Feature Writing (Large)
Miami ... merged — by Lily Wahl, Taylor Stumbaugh, The Miami Student, Miami University

Feature Writing (Small)
One and only RandyLand — by Mackenzie Phillips, Off the Bluff Magazine, Duquesne University

Sports Writing (Large)
Ryland Zaborowski doesn’t let autism stop him from crushing baseballs — by Jack Schmelzinger, The Miami Student, Miami University

Sports Writing (Small)
“When I play soccer, I feel 100% completely Talia” — by Caleb Denorme, The Butler Collegian, Butler University

Editorial/Opinion Writing
Editorials — by Editorial board, The Harvard Crimson, Harvard College

General Column Writing
The green transition, Housing scarcity, Campaign finance — by Chance Phillips, The Crimson White, University of Alabama

Sports Column Writing
SportsMonday — by Nicholas Stoll, Paul Nasr, Connor Earegood, The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan

Corbin Gwaltney Award for Best All-Around Student Newspaper (Large)
Indiana Daily Student — by Staff, Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

Corbin Gwaltney Award for Best All-Around Student Newspaper (Small)
Elon Pendulum — by Staff, The Pendulum, Elon University

Best Single-Issue Student Magazine
Scienceline KIDS — by Staff, Scienceline, New York University

Best Ongoing Student Magazine
El Espejo magazine — by Staff, El Espejo, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Best Affiliated Website
The Post — by Staff, The Post, Ohio University

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Infodemic — by Staff, Infodemic, Syracuse University


Breaking News Photography
Bill banning gender-affirming care for Utah minors passes — by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang, The Daily Utah Chronicle, University of Utah

General News Photography
Community remembers Arlington police officer’s life, impact — by Christine Vo, The Shorthorn, University of Texas at Arlington

Feature Photography
The most eloquent prayer — by Ava Rosvold, Byline Magazine, University of Montana

Photo Essay/Slideshow
Always dancing — by Clare Grant, Elon News Network, Elon University

Navigating student finances — by Star Neil, The Signpost, Weber State University

Photo Illustration
Warning signs of abusive relationships & where to go for help — by Fern Barber, Beaver's Digest, Oregon State University

Sports Photography
Roundup bull rider — by Ava Rosvold, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, University of Montana

Editorial Cartooning
Editorial cartoons — by Teddie Bernard, F Newsmagazine, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Best Use of Multimedia
Down to ride — by Thomas Denome, Elon News Network, Elon University

News Videography
Crowded waters: Invasive European frog-bit threatens Green Bay wildlife — by Seeger Gray, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Northwestern University

Feature Videography
Focus on the Everglades: Behind the scenes — by Finn Wilson, UMTV, University of Miami

Sports Videography
Kayaking instructor spreads love of NYC waterways — by Naoufal Enhari, NYCity News Service, City University of New York

Data Visualization
Working it out: Which gym has less traffic? — by Junwon Choi, Jessica Nguyen, Daily Bruin, University of California, Los Angeles


Radio News Reporting
‘Let’s not lose our humanity at this time’ — by Anna Colletto, KBIA, University of Missouri School of Journalism

Radio Feature
Texas archeologists team up with Indigenous communities in Paint Rock excavation — by Sheridan Wood, KACU, Abilene Christian University

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Transgender Floridians weather the political storm around their rights — by Siena Duncan, WUFT News, University of Florida

Radio Sports Reporting
Playing for something bigger — by Jordan Leonard, WAER, Syracuse University

Best All-Around Radio Newscast
Carolina Connection — by Staff, Carolina Connection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Podcast (Narrative)
Breaking the Bank: Unpacking Gen Z’s financial insecurity — by Grace Pagel, Media Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Podcast (Conversational)
'We're human beings': Homeless Chapel Hill residents ask for kindness, respect — by William Christensen, Carolina Connection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Television Breaking News Reporting
Tustin hangar fire — by Alexandra Coenjaerts, Tess Martinelli, Sophy Acosta, Gavin Nguyen, Chapman News, Chapman University

Television General News Reporting
Purple for Mackinzie — by Ophelie Jacobson, WUFT News, University of Florida

Television Feature Reporting
A woman's journey from addict to caregiver — by Bella Zafer, Cassis Tingley, DU Media, University of Denver

Television In-Depth Reporting
Food insecurity — by Metia Carroll, Haylee Kennedy, Erin Rogers, Ella Wales, LSU Tiger TV, Louisiana State University

Television Sports Reporting
The Anthony Robles story — by Noelle Blumel, Cronkite News, Arizona State University

Best All-Around Television Newscast
UATV — by Staff, UATV News, University of Arkansas

Best All-Around Television News Magazine
Carolina Week — by Staff, Carolina Week, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

All Platforms

Arts/Entertainment/Fashion Journalism
Behind the curtains: Theatre production sparks outrage and community disapproval — by Kloe Witt, The Maroon, Loyola University New Orleans

Campus Reporting
Wrongful death lawsuit, dining contracts, etc. — by Sean Scott, The Miami Student, Miami University

Collaborative Journalism
America after Roe — by Staff, Carnegie-Knight News21, Arizona State University and other schools

Cultural Criticism
Wahidi's what's happening — by Safa Wahidi, The Emory Wheel, Emory University

Food/Restaurant Journalism
Momos as a form of resistance — by Sajina Shrestha, AudioFiles, City University of New York

Investigative Reporting
Dead Wrong — by Staff, NYCity News Service, City University of New York

Regional Political Reporting
Texas' DEI reporting — by Drew Shaw, The Shorthorn, University of Texas at Arlington

Retail/Small Business Journalism
South Bronx businesses battle back — by Staff, NYCity News Service, City University of New York

Science/Environment/Climate Reporting
Assets to axes: How Harvard’s land investments inspired fear in Brazil’s Cerrado — by Sazi T. Bongwe, Jade Lozada, The Harvard Crimson, Harvard College

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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