2021 Awards

2021 Student Award Winners

Cronkite students have won more awards than any other school in the nation. Please take a look at our 2021 winners below.

Arizona Press Club Awards

Cronkite students captured nearly 30 awards — including seven professional awards and all eight first-place awards in the student categories — in the 2020 Arizona Press Club contest.

Professional Awards

Statewide health reporting

The Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting

Statewide education reporting

Statewide business reporting

First-place Student Awards

Student investigative reporting

Student news reporting

 Student features reporting

Student arts, culture and food

Student sports reporting

Student photojournalism: News

Student photojournalism: Sports

  • First: Samantha Chow, The State Press, “Gymnast

Student photojournalism: FeaturesFirst: Samantha Chow, The State Press, “Feeling blue

AAJA Journalism Excellence Awards

Jack Harris won the Asian American Journalists Association’s General Excellence Award in the student category for a story about a young trailblazer who is making a name for herself as a professional skateboarder.

Harris, now a sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times, wrote the story, “Young, small, but mighty: Skateboarder Sky Brown shreds path toward Olympics,” while interning at the newspaper.

AAJA annually recognizes outstanding coverage of Asian American and Pacific Islander issues.

Associated Collegiate Press

Andrew Howard won the 2020 Story of the Year from the Associated Collegiate Press for his breaking news story on the resignation of Kurt Volker from his position as the U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine following reports of collaboration between himself, Ukraine and former President Donald Trump. 

Howard’s story, published in The State Press, was the first to confirm Volker’s resignation. 

Other ACP awards:

  • Third: Delia Johnson and Kyley Warren, Cronkite News, ‘“We can help ourselves:’Native women come together to confront high rates of maternal mortality”
  • Honorable mention: Molly Stellino, The State Press, “ASU abandoned most of its operational sustainability goals”

The ACP is a division of the national Scholastic Press Association.

Association of Food Journalists

Two students received 2020 awards from the professional food journalists’ association.

Best Writing on Food, Student Division

  • First: Molly Stellino, Cronkite News, “Produce rescue: Nogales group feeds vulnerable communities as it fights food waste” 
  • Third: Carissa Wigginton, Cronkite News, “Hatchery near Flagstaff undergoes $3.3 million in renovations to raise trout in the desert” 

Association of Health Care Journalists Awards 

Cronkite students dominated the national AHCJ Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, sweeping the top three spots in the student category.

  • First: Howard Center for Investigative Journalism,  “COVID’s Invisible Victims” and “Caring for COVID’s Invisible Victims”
  • Second: Cronkite News, “COVID in Indian Country”
  • Third: Cronkite News, “Life Is … Confronting Youth Suicide in Arizona” 

AVA Digital Awards 

Public Relations Lab students brought home seven awards in the 2020 AVA Digital Awards program for creating web-based productions and a digital marketing campaign for various clients.

Digital Marketing

●   Gold: Chad Bramlett, Jennifer Gordon, Brianna McKissick, Daniella Rudoy and Lisa Travis, Power Play: Facing Futures Together” for Phoenix Children’s Hospital 

Web-based Production

●   Gold: Chad Bramlett, Jennifer Gordon, Brianna McKissick, Nicole Nelson, Daniella Rudoy and Lisa Travis, “Ten Across Water Summit: Event Recap”

●   Gold: Nicole Nelson, Nathaniel Thrash, Zachariah Willoughby and Alexandra Wolfe, “PRSA Phoenix Chapter Website Redesign” for the Public Relations Society of America Phoenix Chapter

●   Gold: Ellen Pierce, abdLisa Travis, “The Humphrey Fellowship Program: The American Impact” for the U.S. Department of State, Institute of International Education

●   Platinum: Ellen Pierce and Lisa Travis,  “African Humphrey Voices: Building a Better Future for Our Continent,” for the U.S. Department of State, Institute of International Education

●   Platinum: Ellen Pierce, “Future Security Forum Promotional Video,” for the ASU Center on the Future of War

●   Platinum: Israel Gonzalez, Ellen Pierce and Emma Sounart, “Save Camelback: A Phoenix Icon” for Save Camelback Mountain organization 

Batten Medal

Cronkite News students were part of a national project documenting health care workers who died during COVID-19 pandemic that was awarded a prestigious Batten Medal from the News Leaders Association.

“Lost on the Frontline” was created by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News to collect the obituaries of more than 3,600 healthcare workers who died of the virus. Cronkite News reporters were invited to join the national effort and contributed 10 profiles.

Cronkite students who contributed to the project are Anthony Wallace, Katherine Sypher, Jonmaesha Beltran, Lauren Serrato, Kyla Pearce, Hannah Foote, Caitlynn McDaniel and Haley Lorenzen.

Best of the West

Carnegie-Knight News21’s “Kids Imprisoned,” a project about the American juvenile criminal justice system, was awarded first place for online presentation in the 2021 Best of the West contest.

News21 outperformed professional journalists from established newspapers in the Western U.S., placing above the Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Times.

BEA Festival of Media Arts Awards

Cronkite students again won the most news division awards in the 2021 National Broadcast Education Association’s annual Festival of Media Arts competition. Students took home 26 awards in TV, radio, documentary, podcast and video categories.

Additionally, Caitlynn McDaniel won a “Best of Festival Award,” the top prize  in the student news category.  Her radio story “Wildlife Trade,” which aired on KJZZ radio, the Phoenix NPR station, explored the impact of illegal wildlife trade on the health of animals and humans and how it can lead to zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.

First-place winners:

Radio Feature

  • Tie: Caitlynn McDaniel, “Wildlife Trade” and Jill Ryan, “School Plans for COVID-19”

TV Newscast (4 to 5 times a week)

  •  Alexa Fuenmayor and Chayanne Moreno, Nov. 9, 2020, newscast

TV News Anchor

  • Tyler Manion, anchor reel

 Radio Hard News

  • Jill Ryan, “One on One Learning in Flagstaff” 

 Educational Program

  • Molly Duerig, “Operation Agent Touch”

Copper Anvil Award

Cronkite Public Relations Lab students won a Copper Anvil Award of Merit in Integrated Communications for its “Native America” public relations campaign to help millennials better understand Native American culture. The Copper Anvil Award encourages and recognizes excellence in public relations. It is considered one of the highest honors in the industry.

dotCOMM Awards

PR Lab students won top honors in the 2020 and 2021 international dotCOMM awards, which honor excellence in web creativity and digital communication.

2020 Awards

Digital Marketing Campaign

  • Gold: Partnership with Native Americans
  • Platinum: Antstream Arcade (Digital Marketing Campaign)

2021 Awards

Online Feature Story

  • Gold: Ariana Diaz, “The success of Charli Turner Thorne: How she has become one of ASU’s greatest coaches”

Interactive Brand Experience/Digital Marketing Campaign

  • Gold: e-commerce experience strategy for Taylor Morrison homebuilders

Earned media, article or news placement

  • Platinum: media pitch, “Big Brothers Big Sisters – mentors needed”

Education Digital Marketing Awards

Students in Cronkite’s Digital Audiences Lab won top marks in the EDMAAwards for their work developing digital campaigns for clients. The competition recognizes the best educational websites, digital content, electronic communications, mobile media and social media in the country. 

Annual or Community Report

  • Gold: Digital Audiences Lab, “Global Sport Matters strategic plan”

Digital Publication Campaign

  • Gold: PR Lab, “Future Tense fictional stories campaign”

Social Equality

  • Gold:  PR Lab, Zócalo Public Square, “When Women Vote”

Education Writers Association 

Student reporter Anthony J. Wallace and photographer Megan Marples won first in feature writing in the EWA contest, competing in the professional category for their story, “‘It’s creating a new normal’: A Navajo school district and its students fight to overcome amid COVID-19,” published at Cronkite News.  

Edward R. Murrow Student Awards

The Carnegie-Knight News21 project “Kids Imprisoned” won two out of the eight Murrow Awards awarded to college journalists in 2021. 

The project won a Murrow for best digital reporting and another for best podcast. 

The podcast, produced by students Anthony J. Wallace and Katherine Sypher, told the story of how kids in the juvenile justice system have dramatically different outcomes, depending on the law in the places they live and the adults involved in their cases. 

The Murrow Awards are administered by the Radio Television Digital News Association to honor outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism nationally. 

EPPY Awards

Cronkite students took more awards than any school in the country in the collegiate division of Editor & Publisher magazine’s prestigious national EPPY Award contest honoring the best in digital news publishing.

Students earned a total of five awards, and received top honors in three categories. The Howard Center for Investigative Reporting won two of the first-place honors and was a finalist in a third category.

Best News Story on a College Website

  • First: Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, “COVID’S Invisible Victims”
  • Finalist: Howard Center for Investigative Reporting, “Operation Agent Touch”

Best Feature Story on a College Website

Best College Investigative or Documentary Story or Project 

  • First: Howard Center for Investigative Reporting,  “Homeland Secrets”
  • Finalist: Carnegie-Knight News21, “Kids Imprisoned”

Hearst Journalism Awards 

Cronkite finished among the the top five journalism schools in the country in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards program, often referred to as the Pulitzer’s of college journalism. 

Students placed second in broadcast, third in writing, seventh in multimedia and 17th in photojournalism. The school finished fifth overall.

More than 100 journalism schools around the country compete throughout the year in monthly contests that culminate in a national championship for top scorers. Cronkite students Katelyn Keenehan and Emma VandenEinde competed in the 2020-2021 championships, with VandenEinde placing second in the radio and Keenehan earning third in television.

Students who placed in the top 12 in the monthly contests:

Television News

Sports Writing

Audio News & Features 

  • Fifth: Emma VandenEinde, Blaze Radio, “Rosie’s House” and “Thanksgiving Drive Through”


Personality/Profile Writing 

Multimedia Journalism – Innovative Storytelling and Audience Engagement

Multimedia Journalism – News or Enterprise/Individual 

Hermes Creative Awards

Cronkite PR Lab students won three 2020 Hermes Creative Awards honoring the creative industry’s best publications, branding collateral, websites, videos and advertising, marketing and communication programs.

Integrated Marketing Campaign, Print Media

  • Gold: “Antstream Arcade” 

Microsite, Electronic Media/Social Media

  • Gold: “Drug Prevention Task Force”

Communication-Marketing Campaign

  •  Honorable mention: “Native Aware”

IBS Media Awards

Blaze Radio, ASU’s student radio station, took home top awards at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Media Awards, including one for best university station serving more than 10,000 students.

  • Best Streaming Station with More than 10,000 students, Blaze Radio
  • Best Baseball/Softball Play-by-Play, Gareth Kwok
  • Best Sports Talk Program – The Spurge, Jordan Spurgeon

IRE Awards

The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism won the top collegiate award in investigative journalism from Investigative Reporters & Editors for its probe of federal police shootings.

 “Homeland Secrets” took first place in the large student category for revealing how agents from Homeland Security Investigations, a little known investigative unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were involved in civilian shootings around the country, many of which had not been publicly investigated. 

Carnegie-Knight News21’s “Kid Imprisoned,” an investigation of juvenile justice in America, was a finalist. And ASU’s The State Press also was a finalist in the small student category for a reporting project that led to new university policies on helping survivors of sexual assault.

Los Angeles Press Club Awards

Two Cronkite students won top awards competing against professionals in the 2020 Los Angeles Press Club Awards. They also took two first places and a second place in student categories.

Professional Competition – Online

News Feature – General News

  • First: Grayson Schmidt, Cronkite News, “Role Reversal: Teen Caring for Father with Alzheimer’s Shares Her Experience”

Sports News or Feature

  • Second: Evan Desai and Scott Rowe, Cronkite News, “St. John Bosco: NCAA ‘Football Factory’ Is Based on Brotherhood”

Student Competition

Feature Writing – Print or Online, Sports/Arts

  • First: Jack Harris, “At Los Alamitos’ Opening Day of Horse Racing, a Feeling of ‘Less Stress’,” published by the Los Angeles Times

Feature Writing – Print or Online, Sociopolitical Feature

  • First: Grayson Schmidt, Cronkite News, “Return to ‘the Rock’: Original Alcatraz Occupier Retraces Steps during 50th Anniversary”

Personality Profile, Public Personalities — Any platform

  • Second: Jack Harris, “Young, Small, but Mighty: Skateboarder Sky Brown Shreds Path Toward Olympics,” published by the Los Angeles Times

Maggie Awards

The State Press, ASU’s student media outlet, won three awards in the Maggie competition, which honors excellence in publishing and media each year.

Best Print Cover, Student

  • The State Press Magazine Money Issue, March 2020
  • The State Press Magazine Principles Issue, Nov. 2020

Best Print Article, Student:

NABJ Salute to Excellence

Cronkite students won four first-place awards in the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2020 Salute to Excellence competition.

Digital Media – Graduate – Online Sports Reporting

Digital Media – Undergraduate – Online News Reporting

Digital Media – Undergraduate – Online Sports Reporting

Newspaper – Undergraduate – Feature Reporting

National Native Media Awards

The Native American Journalists Association honored these students for their work covering Indian Country. Two students competed against professional journalists in the professional and associate divisions to win awards.

Professional Division 

Print/Online Print/Online – Best Health Coverage

  • First: McKenzie Allen-Charmley, Cronkite News, “Many Navajos face pandemic without running water, tribal members urged to lift each other up” 

Associate Division

Print/Online – Best Coverage of Native America

  • First: Madeline Ackley, Cronkite News, “Native American veterans still struggling to get the health care they were promised”
  • Third: Anthony J. Wallace, Cronkite News, “Pandemic shines light on complex coexistence of modern times, traditional ways on Navajo Nation”

Student Division

TV – Best Feature Story

  • First: McKenzie Allen-Charmley, Cronkite News, “Navajo Firewood”

Print/ Online – Best Feature Story

  • First: Joseph Perez, The State Press, “Live más: Overnight at the Taco Bell on Apache”
  • Second: Joseph Perez, The State Press, “My mom is a nurse in the face of a pandemic”
  • Third: Noah Huerta, Turning Points Magazine, “The tight-knit town of Guadalupe”

Print/Online – Best News Photo

  • First: Raphael Romero Ruiz, azcentral.com, “Protesters at border wall site on Hia-Ced O’odham territory ends in standoff”

Print/Online – Best Editorial

  • First: Raphael Romero Ruiz, The State Press, “Forgotten Footsteps”

NYX Marcom Awards

Public Relations Lab and Digital Audiences Lab students were recognized with 2020 NYX Marcom Awards for excellence in marketing and communication. The international competition is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals.

Strategic Communications, Marketing/Promotion Campaign, Digital Marketing

  • Gold: Digital Audiences Lab, “Future Tense fictional stories campaign”

PR Media Relations/Publicity

  • Gold: PR Lab, “Big Brothers Big Sisters – mentors needed”
  • Gold: PR Lab,  “Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers”

Content Marketing & Writing

  • Gold: PR Lab, “ASU athletics coach and student athlete stories”

Online News Association

“State of Emergency,” by Carnegie-Knight News21 students, won the top student Pro-Am award in the 2020 Online Journalism Awards.

The project examined state and federal responses to natural disasters, highlighting large discrepancies in state and federal aid provided to communities across the country. 

The Online Journalism Awards honor data journalism, investigative journalism, public service, climate change reporting and community engagement.

REMI Awards

PR Lab students received 11 Remi awards at the 2020 WorldFest-Houston film festival for film and video production, and commercials and public service announcements. Of more than 4,500 entries, 10% were selected for awards.

Video production

  • Silver: Ellen Pierce, “Future Security Forum Promotional Video” for ASU Center on the Future of War
  • Silver: Chad Bramlett, Jennifer Gordon, Brianna McKissick, Daniella Rudoy and Lisa Travis, “Power Play: Event Recap” for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • Silver: Ellen Pierce and Lisa Travis, “African Humphrey Voices: Jake Okechukwu Effoduh” for U.S. State Department/Humphrey Fellowship 40th Anniversary Celebration

TV Commercials/ PSA

  • Silver: Lisa Travis, “Save the Date to Power Up with Phoenix Children’s Hospital” for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation

New Media – Websites

  • Silver: Nicole Nelson, Nathaniel Thrash, Zachariah Willoughby and Alexandra Wolfe, “Public Relations Society of America Website” for Public Relations Society of America/Phoenix Chapter

Film and Video production

  • Bronze: Chad Bramlett, Jennifer Gordon, Brianna McKissick, Daniella Rudoy and Lisa Travis, “Power Play: Meet Brendan, AKA Blue Bulldog” for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • Bronze: Israel Gonzalez, Ellen Pierce and Emma Sounart, “Save Camelback: The Legend of the Landmark”  
  • Bronze: Ellen Pierce and Lisa Travis, for videos celebrating the U.S. State Department/Humphrey Fellowship 40th Anniversary

TV Commercials/PSA

  • Bronze: Ellen Pierce and Lisa Travis,  “The Humphrey Legacy” for U.S. State Department/Humphrey Fellowship 40th Anniversary Celebration
  • Bronze: Chad Bramlett, Jennifer Gordon, Brianna McKissick, Daniella Rudoy and Lisa Travis,  “Power Play: Meet Brendan, AKA Blue Bulldog” for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation

Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award  

The Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative report “Kids Imprisoned,” a project about juvenile justice in America, won the prestigious 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. It was the third consecutive year that News21 has won the award and the sixth RFK for the school – the most of any journalism school in the country.

The RFK Journalism Awards program honors outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Kennedy’s passions, including human rights, social justice and the power of individual action in the U.S. and around the world. 

Cronkite students who participated in the “Kids Imprisoned” project were José-Ignacio Castañeda Perez,  Kelsey Collesi Ekeberg, Daja E. Henry, Delia C. Johnson, Chloe Jones, Franco LaTona,  Haillie Parker, Kimberly Rapanut, Jill Ryan, Calah Schlabach, Katherine Sypher and Anthony J. Wallace.

Rocky Mountain Emmy Student Production Awards 

Cronkite students took home seven Student Production Awards in five categories in the 43rd annual Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, bringing to 64 the number of awards students have won since 2009. 

College Sports

  • Sean Rice, reporter, “Young At Heart On Water Skis”

College Public Affairs/Community Service

  • Jordan Elder, reporter, “Covid Compilation”

College Craft: Talent

  • Jordan Evans, weather
  • Marcella Baietto anchor

College Craft: Video Essay (Single Camera Only)

  • Katelyn Keenehan, videographer / editor, “The Miracle Wish”

College News: General Assignment

  • Dylan McKim, reporter, “Firefighter Cancer”

Sports, College

  • Shaun Salehi, reporter, “Hockey Pucks for More”

SABEW Awards

Cronkite students took the top prizes in all three student categories of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing’s) 26th Annual Best in Business Awards contest honoring the best business reporting in the country.

Student Journalism — Projects and Collaborations category

  • First: Katie Surma, Anne Mickey and Jamie Fields, “Nationwide Insurance bought one of the state’s most valuable parcels of land in Scottsdale. It also got a great deal,” published in The Arizona Republic 

Student Journalism — Stories for Professional Media Outlets

  • First: Natalie Walters, “It’s as if Hurricane Katrina hit every city around the U.S.: How COVID is impacting 5 of the largest nonprofits,” published by the Dallas Morning News
  • Honorable mention: Agya K. Aning, “How journalism interns reported on places they’ve never been over the summer,” published at Poynter.org

Student Journalism — Stories for Student Media Outlets

  • First: Lauren Hernadez for a three part-series on how California’s wildfires affect farmworkers, wineries and cannabis growers, published at Cronkite News 

SPJ National Mark of Excellence Awards 

Cronkite students won five first-place awards in the 2020 Society of Professional Journalists Awards competition, recognizing the best collegiate journalism nationally. The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism’s 2020 investigation “Operation Agent Touch,” was named “Best in Show” among the first-place winners.

The Howard Center project revealed how agents of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit engaged in sex acts with women they thought could be victims of sex-trafficking, torpedoing a major undercover operation in Western Arizona. 

The national winners:

Feature Photography (Large) 

Radio News Reporting

Television Sports Reporting

Online In-Depth Reporting

  • Calah Schlabach, Nino Abdaladze, Daja Henry, Anthony J. Wallace, “Panama – where the world waits at America’s door”

Online News Reporting

SPJ Regional Mark of Excellence Awards

Cronkite swept eight categories and tallied more than 51 awards in the regional SPJ competition, more than triple any other school in the region, which includes Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and the Mariana Islands.

Students earned 16 first-place finishes that advanced them to the national competition and swept nine categories. In addition to the national winners listed above, the first-place regional finishes were:

Non-Fiction Magazine Article

  • Katherine Sypher, Anthony J. Wallace, “Thoughts, prayers & stem cells”

Radio In-Depth Reporting

  • Caitlynn McDaniel, “Zoonotic diseases traced to illegal wildlife trade”

Radio Sports Reporting

  • Jonah Hrkal, “Gabe Trujillo, Spanish-speaking PBP voice of AZ Cardinals” 

Television Feature Reporting

  • Jennifer Alvarez, “Virtual pow wow dancing”

Television General News Reporting

  • Dylan McKim, “Firefighter cancer” 

Television In-Depth Reporting

  • Katelyn Keenehan, “COVID prisons” 

Broadcast Feature Videography

  • Jennifer Alvarez, “Virtual pow wow dancing”

Video game reporting

  • Connor Van Ligten, “Arizona Smash community faces challenge during pandemic”

Best All-Around Television News Magazine

  • Cronkite Sports Report: Season 13, Episode 1 – by Cronkite News: Phoenix Sports Bureau Staff 

Online Sports Reporting

  • Jordan Rogers, “Lawsuit claims concussions turned ASU linebacker Jason Franklin’s dreams to despair”

Online Feature Reporting

  • Jonmaesha Beltran, “‘I wanted to do more than hold a sign’: Street medic crew forms out of Black Lives Matter protests”