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Cronkite Finishes Among Top Schools in Prestigious Hearst Awards Competition

June 16, 2021

By Lisa Diethelm

Cronkite students placed second and third in the nation for the broadcast and writing category – and fifth overall – in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards program, often referred to as the Pulitzers of college journalism.

Award-winning work from Cronkite students covered topics from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and rural communities to the journeys of ASU athletes after college. Another story documented how the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Tucson is the first Arizona community to benefit from the U.S. Water Resource Development Act with the construction of a new water pipeline.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation holds yearlong contests for writing, radio and television, photojournalism and multimedia reporting. Journalism schools with the most points throughout the year are awarded prize money and their students win scholarships. More than 100 journalism schools around the country compete in the annual competition.

The top five universities in writing for 2020-2021 are Syracuse University, Indiana University, Arizona State University, University of Florida and the University of Oklahoma.

In addition to the second and third place award, Cronkite placed seventh in the multimedia category and 17th in the photojournalism category.

The Hearst results come at the end of a semester during which Cronkite students won their sixth Robert F. Kennedy Award and more national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists than any other journalism school in the country.

Winning stories, videos and photos were published in or aired on Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, The Arizona Republic, the Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue and the campus station Blaze Radio.

After the yearlong competition, Cronkite students Katelyn Keenehan and Emma VandenEinde were selected to compete in the 2020-21 Hearst national championships held the second week of June, during which winners of the individual competitions faced off in a live competition that consisted of reporting, writing and producing stories. This year’s competition was held virtually.

VandenEinde, of Maple Plain, Minnesota, placed second in the national radio championship and earned $7,500. VandenEinde graduated in May and will return to Cronkite in the fall to earn her master’s degree in journalism, and was grateful for the opportunity to compete.

“I've always seen those Hearst Awards on the second floor of Cronkite. When I was a freshman and as soon as I found out about them I was like, ‘I really want to try and win one of these,’” she said. “I'm so glad that I get the opportunity to do this and I just couldn't be happier.”

Keenehan, of Geneva, Illinois, finished third in the national television championship and won a $5,000 scholarship. She also graduated in May and works for WBIR 10 News in Knoxville, Tennessee, as a multimedia journalist.

“Throughout college, I spent almost all my free time shooting, editing, scripting or chasing down the next story. Journalism is truly a life investment and to see my time and work recognized in this way.... well, you cannot really use a word to describe it. I have so much gratitude to the professors, mentors and bosses who invested in me,” she said.

Mike Wong, the director of the Cronkite School’s Career Services, added that the school is just as thrilled for VandenEinde and Keenehan for their Championship awards.

“We congratulate participants from all schools for making it to the Hearst Championships. It took hours of hard work, their talent and a huge amount of creativity to make it this far,” said Wong.

“We are proud of Katelyn Keenehan and Emma VandenEinde for representing the Cronkite School with such passion and professionalism during the Championship. They are talented and driven reporters who bring a human angle to each story they tell. We applaud Emma’s 2nd place and Katelyn’s 3rd place national championship finish.”

In past Hearst competitions, Cronkite students have:

Finished first or second nationally in the intercollegiate broadcast competition in 11 of the past 15 years
Finished in the top-5 nationally in the intercollegiate writing competition in 11 of the past 15 years
Finished in the top-5 nationally overall in 9 of the past 15 years

During the monthly and national competitions this past year, Cronkite students won a total of $19,500 in scholarships. Here is a list of Cronkite students who placed in this year’s Hearst monthly competitions:

Television II - News
First: Katelyn Keenehan, “Pascua Yaqui Water Pipeline,” “COVID-19 Rise in Prisons” and “Minimum Wage Rally,” Cronkite News
Second: Tyler Manion, “Rural COVIDAZ,” “Democrats Celebrate Biden Nomination” and “Social media mental health,” Cronkite News

Sports Writing
Fifth: Michael Gutnick, “Tale of two brothers: Brinson, Steenn Pasichnuk share hockey journey from ASU to San Jose,” Cronkite News
12th: Jordan Rogers, “Lawsuit claims concussions turned ASU linebacker Jason Franklin’s dreams to despair,” Cronkite News

Audio News & Features
Fifth: Emma VandenEinde, “Rosie’s House” and “Thanksgiving Drive Through,” Blaze Radio
16th: Julia Sorgie, “Cheerleading Injuries” and “Airline Travel During Pandemic,” Blaze Radio

Investigative
Seventh: Kevin Pirehpour, “Neighbors hope for relief from crematorium smoke as COVID-19 deaths decrease,” Cronkite News

Personality/Profile Writing
Sixth: Jake Santo, “‘She’s got a part of us with her’: Donor family confident son’s heart is in the right place,” Cronkite News
10th: Jamie Landers, “Aging Out of Foster Care During COVID-19: Pandemic Brings Additional Challenges,” Teen Vogue

Multimedia Journalism – Innovative Storytelling and Audience Engagement
Ninth: Jennifer Alvarez, “Virtual Pow Wow Dancing,” Cronkite News

Multimedia Journalism – News or Enterprise/Team
16th: Christopher Howley, Dylan McKim and Michael Hannan, “Diversifying the Pack: Cross Fostering helps Mexican Wolf population boost genetic mix,” Cronkite News
17th: Miranda Cyr, “Vaccinations give migrants hope and health as they wait to enter the U.S.,” Cronkite News

Multimedia Journalism – News or Enterprise/Individual
12th: Ike Everard, “Free Cap Hill,” Free Cap Hill Project
20th: Katelyn Keenehan, “‘They’re scared’: A look inside the COVID-19 crisis in Arizona prisons,” Cronkite News

Explanatory
17th: Farah Eltohamy, “2020 Census: Middle Easterners and North Africans don't fit the box,” Cronkite News

Photojournalism I – News and Features
17th: “Portfolio of Meg Potter's work,” Cronkite News and The Arizona Republic

Feature Writing
Tie for 20th: Lauren Hernandez, “Heat, smoke, pandemic: Dangers multiply for farmworkers in 2020,” Cronkite News

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program operates under the auspices of the accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. It is fully funded and administered by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Publisher William Randolph Hearst established the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and The Hearst Foundation, Inc. in the 1940s, a few years before his death in 1951. Since then, the foundations have awarded over $1 billion in grants and programs.