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By Mario Baralta
Students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University took home the most first-place awards in the collegiate division of Editor & Publisher magazine’s prestigious national EPPY Award contest.
The Cronkite School earned a total of five awards, the most of any school in the annual competition, and received top honors in three collegiate categories.
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, which is headquartered at the Cronkite School, took home first place in the “Best News Story on a Website” for the multimedia investigation “COVID’s Invisible Victims.” Additionally, the in-depth reporting project “Homeland Secrets” won the top prize for “Best Investigative or Documentary story or project.”
“COVID’s Invisible Victims” explores the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on America’s homeless population. The Howard Center’s “Homeland Secrets” investigates Homeland Security Investigations, a little-known division of ICE, whose agents were involved in a deadly shootout in a Phoenix suburb.
Madeline Ackley of Cronkite News also received first place in a collegiate category for “Best Feature Story on a Website.” Ackley’s story, “Deported U.S. veterans find aid, comfort in a Tijuana bunker,” gives readers an in-depth look at a support house where deported U.S. military veterans can receive guidance and refuge as they fight to return to America.
Cronkite students were also finalists in two categories. Carnegie-Knight News21, which is also headquartered at the Cronkite School, was a finalist in the “Best Investigative Documentary” category for its “Kids Imprisoned” investigation. The Howard Center was also a finalist for “Best News Story on a Website” for its project “Operation Agent Touch.”
“We are so proud of our amazing student journalists,” said Maud Beelman, executive editor of the Howard Center. “To have all three of the Howard Center’s projects honored is a testament to the mission and value of investigative journalism.”
Student winners were recognized during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 27.
This year's EPPY contest received more than 450 entries and was judged by a panel of notable media professionals with backgrounds in journalism, website design, marketing, advertising, editorial, technology, education and management.