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Cronkite Students Shine at Hearst Journalism Awards

May 18, 2015

Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication placed third among the 108 accredited journalism schools at the annual Hearst Journalism Awards.

For the 14th consecutive year, the Cronkite School finished in the top 10 at Hearst, scoring in the top three in three of four possible categories. Students placed second overall in broadcasting as well as writing, third in multimedia reporting and 20th in photography.

In the past 10 years, Cronkite has one of the best records in the Hearst Awards, often called the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism, with two first-place finishes and six top-five finishes.

In this year’s competition, 10 Cronkite students landed in the top 10 in individual categories with Jessica Boehm, Emilie Eaton, Erin Patrick O’Connor and Megan Thompson qualifying for the national championship competition in San Francisco next month.

In the writing competition, Eaton led the way securing second place in feature writing for a story examining poverty and violence in Central America, part of the annual Cronkite Southwest Borderlands Initiative project in which students report on border issues from Latin America.

In multimedia reporting, four students landed top-10 finishes. The winners included O’Connor, who earned fourth place for a video that was part of the Carnegie-Knight News21 investigation into gun rights and regulation. Additionally, Boehm and Sean Logan finished in the top five for multimedia stories that complimented “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” a statewide documentary that reached more than 1 million viewers on all 33 broadcast television stations in January.

Students working on the nightly “Cronkite News” broadcast also earned high honors. Thompson finished in fourth place in TV feature reporting for stories on local charities and businesses, and Ryan Hill took fifth place in TV news for reports on police body cameras and the endangered Mexican gray wolf.

“In the past year, our students have produced phenomenal stories on the tough issues that matter,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “To be recognized by the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism is a tremendous honor for our students.”

Students of 108 accredited journalism schools around the country are eligible to compete in the annual Hearst Awards, which are judged by professional journalists.

The Hearst Journalism Awards program was established by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation in 1960 to provide support, encouragement and assistance to journalism education at the college and university level. The program distributes more than $550,000 in scholarships, grants and stipends annually.

Cronkite School students who placed in this year’s Hearst competitions are:

Feature Writing
Second Place: Emilie Eaton, “Central American Minors Pushed North by Poverty, Violence, Hopes for Refuge,” Cronkite Southwest Borderlands Initiative

Sixth Place: Jessie Wardarski, “Shelter Operators Heed Calling,” Cronkite Southwest Borderlands Initiative

Multimedia News
Third Place: Erin Patrick O’Connor, “Colorado: Expanded Gun Laws and the Political Fallout,” Carnegie-Knight News21 “Gun Wars”

Fifth Place: Jessica Boehm, “In Prescott — ‘Everybody’s Hometown,’” Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona

Multimedia Enterprise
Fourth Place: Sean Logan, “For One Couple, Staying Sober Is the Key to Their Relationship,” Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona

Seventh Place: Jessica Boehm, “Downwind,” Cronkite Thesis Project

TV Feature Reporting
Fourth Place: Megan Thompson, “Charity Creates Mobile Unit to Help Steer People in the Right Direction” and “Local Dairy Company Is Making Old Fashion Glass Bottles a New Thing,” Cronkite News

27th Place: Brittany Bade, “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Sentinels” and “Congressman Ed Pastor Retires After 23 Years in Congress,” Cronkite News

TV News Reporting
Fifth Place: Ryan Hill, “Police Body Cameras” and “New Rule Expands Roaming Area for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf,” Cronkite News

15th Place: Jamie Warren, “Phoenix Arts District Could Be Demolished” and “Medical Marijuana Farms Could Be Your New Neighbor,” Cronkite News

Breaking News
Fifth place: Miguel Otarola, "300 More Immigrant Children Shipped to Arizona," azcentral

17th place (tie): Emilie Eaton,"ASU, Other Campuses Stock Up on Military Rifles Under Federal Program," Cronkite News

Multimedia Features
Eighth Place: Erin Patrick O’Connor, “Camden Community Battles Gun Violence,” Carnegie-Knight News21 “Gun Wars”

24th Place: Sean Logan, “Francisco’s New Leg,” The State Press

Personality Profile Reporting
10th Place: Connor Radnovich, “In Southern Mexico, an Invasion, a Battle and a Vision for the Future,” Cronkite Southwest Borderlands

34th Place: Mackenzie McCreary, “Searching for a Sea Change,” The State Press

Enterprise Reporting
10th Place: Marlena Sauceda, “Fair Trade Coffee a Big Business, but Indigenous Growers Not Getting Rich,” Cronkite News

35th Place: Mauro Whiteman, “Dropped by State, Left Out of ‘Obamacare,’ Family Struggled for Health Care” and “As National Debate Looms, Arizona’s KidsCare Freeze Puts It in Spotlight,” Cronkite News

Radio Reporting
11th Place: Annika Cline, “CrossFit Athletes Go Head-to-head in Rush Club” and “Homeless Veterans Face Barriers to Services, Job Opportunities,” Downtown Devil

Multimedia Team News
13th Place: Erin Patrick O’Connor and Andrea Martinez, “Model City Built to Help Mexico’s Indigenous Poor Now a Ghost Town,” Cronkite Southwest Borderlands Initiative

News and Feature Photography
23rd Place: Jessie Wardarski

29th Place: Dominic Valente

Sports Writing
34th Place: Kristen Hwang, “Phoenix-area Golf Courses Continue to Struggle,” Cronkite News

41st Place: Evan Webeck, “Sonics Gone, but Hoop Dreams Still Alive with Seattle Pro-am,” Sports Illustrated