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News21’s “Hate in America” project examines acts of intolerance, racism and hate crimes across the U.S. The Cronkite School has won five Student Murrow Awards, more than any other journalism program in the country.
Carnegie-Knight News21, the multi-university, in-depth journalism collaborative based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has won the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting for a third consecutive year.
The award brings to five the total of Student Murrow Awards the Cronkite School has won – the most of any journalism program in the country.
This year’s winning project is “Hate in America,” a package of multimedia stories focused on acts of intolerance, racism and hate crimes across the country. It also received a 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in the college category.
The project was reported and produced by a team of 38 journalism students from 19 universities who traveled to 36 states, including a 7,000-mile road trip around the country, conducted nearly 300 interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of court documents, FBI data and state and federal statutes. Their analysis of national crime statistics concluded that there were more than 2.4 million hate crimes committed across the U.S. between 2012 and 2016.
Portions of the project were published and aired by new organizations across the country. This year’s publishing partners included USA Today, the Center for Public Integrity, ProPublica, The Arizona Republic, The Des Moines Register, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Oregon Public Broadcasting, among others.
The students were supported by fellowships from national foundations that include the Hearst Foundations, the John S. and James Knight Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, in addition to a number of individual and university sponsors.
Allie Bice, a Hearst Journalism Foundations fellow, noted that she and other students spent eight months researching, reporting and producing the “Hate in America” project. “I like to think we channeled the qualities of Murrow in our day-to-day work ethic,” she said. “We were filled with curiosity and determination to dive deeper into this difficult subject. We grappled with incomplete FBI data and traveled across the country to interview victims and perpetrators of hate. It feels great to have our hard work pay off, but we wouldn't have been able to do any of it if it weren't for so many brave sources willing to share their stories with us.”
The 2019 winners will be recognized at the Edward R. Murrow Awards black-tie event hosted by the Radio Television Digital News Association Oct. 24 in New York City.
The Carnegie-Knight News21 program is an initiative that brings top journalism students from across the country to the Cronkite School each year to report on an issue of national significance. Previous projects have spotlighted issues ranging from water safety and gun rights and regulations to veterans’ issues and marijuana legalization.
“I’m continually in awe of the work by young reporters in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program,” said News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel. “This project on hate crimes in America was particularly challenging. The students navigated often difficult and uncomfortable situations, yet they excelled at telling great stories.”
Established in 2015 by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Student Murrow Awards celebrate excellence in student journalism at the collegiate and high school levels. Unlike the professional Edward R. Murrow Awards, which are presented to news organizations, the Student Murrows are awarded to individuals in five categories — audio newscast, audio reporting, video newscast, video reporting and digital reporting.
The RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession. It has been honoring outstanding achievements in professional journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.
2018 News21 students, their universities and their named fellowships: