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For the fifth time, the Carnegie-KnightNews21 program has won a prestigious EPPY Award from Editor & Publisher magazine for a national investigation conducted by college journalism students.
The News21 “Voting Wars” project won for Best College/University Investigative/Documentary Report. Headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, News21 is a multimedia reporting initiative established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The EPPY Awards recognize the best media-affiliated websites across 31 categories, including three that honor excellence in college and university journalism. In the past five years, News21 has taken the award four times. Last year, the Cronkite School documentary “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona” won the top honor.
For this year’s “Voting Wars” investigation, 31 students from 18 universities traveled to 31 states and interviewed hundreds of individuals. They produced more than a dozen stories, shot hundreds of photos and produced more than 30 videos.
Since its release in August, portions of the “Voting Wars” investigation have been featured by more than 80 media outlets, including NBC News, USA Today and The Washington Post. In all, portions of the investigation have been published more than 180 times by media outlets.
“We are very honored and proud of the many students who worked on this voting rights project, particularly because of the significant issues that are playing out during this presidential election year,” said News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel. “Their work is a public service to every American, regardless of political affiliation. The project also is a testament to the many ways the Cronkite School is working to tell stories in engaging and innovative ways that benefit the public and the future of journalism.”
The News21 project follows up and expands on the 2012 investigation on voting rights, “Who Can Vote?” which won the Cronkite School’s first EPPY Award. Other News21 EPPY-winning projects include an investigation into gun rights and regulations in 2014 and an investigation into the battles facing post-9/11 veterans in 2013.
EPPY Award entries were judged by a panel of notable figures in the media industry, chosen by Editor & Publisher staff.
The Cronkite School received four nominations in student media categories this year. In addition to “Voting Wars,” Cronkite News, the student-produced news operation of Arizona PBS, had two nominations – one in Best College/University News or Event Feature for a major bilingual poll on border issues and the other in Best College/University Investigative/Documentary Report for a report on childhood asthma in lower-income communities.
The Cronkite School’s Southwest Borderlands Initiative project “Hungary: Europe’s Borderland” was nominated in the Best College/University Newspaper Website category. Nineteen Cronkite students traveled to Hungary and neighboring countries last spring to investigate the refugee crisis impacting the region. The project was made possible by a grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
In addition to the Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation, the News21 “Voting Wars” project was supported by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and Louis A. “Chip” Weil as well as individual universities that funded their students’ participation.