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Cronkite Students Sweep International News Awards

June 25, 2009

Students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication swept a national intercollegiate journalism competition that honors the best of global news coverage.

The three Arizona State University winners of the awards, given by the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, were all students of Associate Professor Carol Schwalbe, who specializes in multimedia journalism and magazine writing at the Cronkite School.

Contest coordinator Sandy Rao, professor and associate director for graduate studies at Texas State University — San Marcos, said this is the first time that all three winners in the international news writing contest are from the same university. “We truly appreciate (the Cronkite School’s) efforts in training young people in international journalism,” she said. “Understanding the multicultural, multidimensional world that we live in has never been more important.”

Cronkite student Dan O’Connor took first place for “Finding a Home,” a story about a Congolese community living in a United Nations’ disaster relief camp in South Africa. The men fled political and economic strife in the Congo only to be the subjects of violence and threats by South Africans who banished them from their new communities.

O’Connor was part of a group studying last summer under Schwalbe in a special course that focused on covering immigrants living in South Africa. The program was funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Another of the students on the South Africa project, James Kindle, took second in the international journalism competition. Kindle won for “Scarred,” which documents the story of Sehlule Ngwenya, who fled the violence and economic hardships of her native Zimbabwe.

The third-place winner was Annalyn R. Censky for her story, “Ostrich – The Other ‘Green’ Meat,” which she wrote for Schwalbe’s advanced online media class.

“We applaud the in-depth and sophisticated work of Dan, James and Annalyn and the tremendous dedication of their gifted teacher, Professor Schwalbe,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “This work stands as a model for all of our students.”

The judges for the contest were Terry Scott Bertling, assistant managing editor for features at the San Antonio Express-News, and freelance journalist Jennifer Hinger. The contest was open to all undergraduate students.