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For the fourth consecutive year, an Arizona State University student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has won the highest collegiate honor in the state’s top photojournalism contest.
Cronkite senior Sean Logan of Tucson, Ariz., was named College Photographer of the Year in the Arizona Press Club’s 2015 Arizona Photojournalism Awards, earning him a $500 scholarship. His win marks the fourth straight year a Cronkite student has won this award. He joins past Cronkite student winners: Connor Radnovich (2014), Jessie Wardarski (2013) and Aaron Lavinsky (2012).
In this year’s contest, Cronkite swept the category, with junior Courtney Pedroza of Phoenix taking second place, winning a $250 scholarship. In the professional competition, Cronkite sophomore Ben Moffat of Tempe, Ariz., bested some of the state’s leading professional photojournalists, securing second place in the spot news category for a State Press photo capturing the aftermath of a monsoon storm that hit the Valley in 2015.
Logan’s award-winning entries included a family impacted by a mine spill in Mexico, the relapse of a heroin addict and a quiet scene of a woman wearing a hijab walking into an Islamic community center following an anti-Islam protest outside the building.
Logan, who has interned at Arizona Highways Magazine and The Arizona Republic, played a key role in Cronkite’s 2015 duPont Award-winning documentary “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” where he said he developed his skills and learned the importance of public service journalism.
“It means a lot to me to have won this award because it gives me more inspiration to continue telling important stories about the people in our community and around the world,” Logan said. “The real awards belong to the subjects of journalism, because without them, there would be no stories.”
Moffat, who was previously the photo editor of ASU’s independent student-run news organization, The State Press, finished in the top three of the spot news category with the Arizona Daily Star and the Casa Grande Dispatch. His second place photo captured an uprooted tree toppled by a monsoon storm. Moffat said the honor speaks to the value of The State Press as a news outlet.
Pedroza’s entry included photos from India, various daily assignments from her internships and a gun culture story she worked on as part of an independent study project at Cronkite. She currently interns as a photographer at The Arizona Republic and has held internships at the Phoenix New Times and Phoenix Magazine.
“At the Cronkite School, I learned I could and wanted to be a photojournalist,” Pedroza said. “With the help of mentors, I have been given countless opportunities and with each one, I have grown as a photographer.”
Since the Cronkite School moved into its current $71 million state-of-the-art facility in 2008, the popularity of photojournalism has substantially grown. Cronkite currently offers four photojournalism classes ranging from introductory and intermediate photography instruction to visual storytelling and sports photojournalism.
“Not only has interest in photojournalism increased dramatically in the past few years at Cronkite, but our photo students are some of our most driven,” said Cronkite Associate Dean Kristin Gilger. “They have founded a student chapter of the National Press Photographers Association — one of only a dozen such student chapters in the country, and have been winning prestigious honors, such as these Arizona Photojournalism Awards. We are very proud of the achievements of our students.”
Gilger said the Cronkite School also fosters photojournalism excellence through its annual Greg Crowder Memorial Photojournalism Award contest. The annual honor was established by Troy and Betsy Crowder of Chandler, Ariz., in memory of their late son, 1980 Cronkite graduate Greg Crowder. Logan won second place in the 2015 contest and Moffat received an honorable mention.
The Arizona Photojournalism Awards are an annual competition held by the Arizona Press Club, a nonprofit organization of professional reporters, editors, photographers and designers from publications across the state. Their goal is to promote excellence in journalism through an annual contest, training seminars, scholarships and networking events.