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Cronkite Student Wins Top Collegiate Honor at Arizona Photojournalism Awards

June 16, 2017

For the fifth straight year, a journalism student at Arizona State University has been named the top collegiate photojournalist in the state by the Arizona Press Club.

Courtney Pedroza of Phoenix, a recent graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won the College Photographer of the Year Award in the 2016 Arizona Press Club Photojournalism Awards. She joins past Cronkite student winners: Sean Logan (2015), Connor Radnovich (2014), Jessie Wardarski (2013) and Aaron Lavinsky (2012).

Cronkite student Ben Moffat of Tempe, Arizona, finished third in the collegiate contest. Moffat also placed in two professional categories, taking second in feature photography and third in sports pictorial, competing against some of the state’s best professional photojournalists.

Pedroza’s winning entry included photos from Brazil, Slovakia and Mexico as well as a photo from the 2016 Summer Olympics, which she covered for Cronkite News, the student-produced news division of Arizona PBS. Her portfolio also featured photos depicting Arizona’s gun culture that she produced as part of a Cronkite class taught by National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier and several photos that she took in Mexico for the Dallas Morning News.

“The Cronkite School gave me so many opportunities,” Pedroza said. “It really opened my eyes to what kind of photojournalism that I want to pursue – and that’s telling stories and documenting someone’s life and being able to show what it is that they’re going through.”

In addition to her Arizona Press Club honor, Pedroza, who is interning this summer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, recently won the Cronkite School’s Greg Crowder Memorial Photojournalism Award contest, which honors the best student photojournalist each year. Pedroza also won the award in 2016, making her the only student to win the honor twice. Second place went to Moffat, and Cronkite student Reilly Kneedler of East Wenatchee, Washington, received an honorable mention.

The Crowder Award was established by Troy and Betsy Crowder of Chandler, Arizona, in memory of their late son, 1980 Cronkite graduate Greg Crowder.

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. The group also sponsors training seminars, scholarships and networking events.