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Cronkite Students Sweep Student Awards in Annual Business Journalism Contest

April 1, 2020

Ethan Millman’s story on the large numbers of Venezuelans who are migrating to Peru in the face of economic hardship and political turmoil won a top award for work published in student media outlets.

Students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University swept the 2019 Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) contest, winning all three of the student awards given.

Students earned two first place awards and an honorable mention for stories published in The Arizona Republic and as part of an in-depth international reporting project.

“The stories honored by SABEW demonstrate the kind of excellent reporting on complex subjects produced regularly by Cronkite students,” said Andrew Leckey, president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and a member of the SABEW board of governors. “Business coverage requires attention to detail and a gift for presenting information with clarity. These stories demonstrate our students’ ability to meet that challenge while also illuminating compelling human stories behind the larger money issues.”

Cronkite students won first place in the category recognizing student journalism published in professional media outlets for an investigation of nursing home regulation in Arizona. In addition, Cronkite students won honorable mention in this category for an investigation of Arizona’s cattle grazing fee structure and its impact on public education funding. Both of those stories appeared in The Arizona Republic and were produced as part of an investigative reporting class taught by Walter V. Robinson, the former editor of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team who led that paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Cronkite also took first place in the category honoring excellence in journalism for student media for a story on the large numbers of Venezuelans who are migrating to Peru in the face of economic hardship and political turmoil. That story came out of a reporting class taught by Rick Rodriguez, former editor of the Sacramento Bee and the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors. Students study immigration and border issues and then travel to another country to produce a reporting project each spring semester.

Student reporters (clockwise from top) Ethan Millman, Molly Stellino, Erica Block and Megan Boyanton won first for student work published by professional media outlets. Their story centered on how Arizona nursing homes are rated.

Student reporters on the first-place nursing home investigation, “123 Have Unexpectedly Died in Nursing Homes, but Arizona Still Gives Them Top Grades,” were Ethan Millman, Molly Stellino, Erica Block and Megan Boyanton. In their comments, judges said: “These four ASU students did a good job of identifying an important problem. The judges appreciated the human lede and interviews with affected individuals in Arizona.”

The investigation into grazing fees, titled “Arizona Charges Less Than Almost Anyone Else to Graze Cattle. Public Schools Miss Out on the Money,” was produced by Mackenzie Shuman, Harrison Mantas, Yael Grauer, Molly Duerig and Grayson Schmidt. Judges said: “These five ASU students identified an egregious situation in which state business interests are harming residents and provided a nice comparison with other states.”

Student reporters (clockwise from top) Mackenzie Shuman, Harrison Mantas, Yael Grauer, Grayson Schmidt and Molly Duerig won honorable mention in the professional publication category for an investigation into how Arizona manages cattle grazing lands.

Student Ethan Millman reported and wrote the story on Venezuelan migration, “With Venezuela in Turmoil, Migrants and Refugees Turn to Peru.” Judge praised Millman’s enterprising work: “It’s not easy to parachute into an international crisis and come back with a cogent story, but Ethan Millman did just that with his reporting from Peru.”

In addition to student awards, the Best in Business competition recognized outstanding business journalism produced by news organizations such as the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News and The New York Times. SABEW, the world’s largest and oldest organization of business and financial journalists, has offices at the Cronkite School.

Cronkite students have been a leader in SABEW student journalism awards, receiving nine awards since 2010. The awards have also been a professional springboard for a number of the winners. Two of the most recent examples are Andres Guerra Luz, winner in the student category a year ago for a story on Puerto Rico rebuilding its tourism industry, who is now a Bloomberg News reporter; and Ethan Millman, a winner this year who is now music business reporter for Rolling Stone magazine.