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Cronkite Students Take 1st in SPJ Region 11 Awards

May 1, 2011

For the 11th consecutive year, students of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University took first place in the regional Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence awards.

The Cronkite School won a total of 39 awards, more than double the amount won by the next closest school. UCLA finished second with 17 awards, followed by the University of California at Berkeley (12), California State University-Northridge (9), the University of Arizona (7) and the University of Southern California (5).

The Region 11 SPJ Mark of Excellence contest recognizes the best student journalism in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam and the Mariana Islands.

This year’s awards included 14 first-place honors across the contest’s print, radio, television and online contest categories. The first-place-winning stories and publications will compete with other regional first-place winners in the national SPJ contest.

Cronkite students scored first place sweeps in all nine TV News Categories: Best All-around Newscast, TV Breaking News Reporting, TV In-Depth Reporting, TV General News Reporting, TV Feature Reporting, TV Sports Reporting, TV News Photography, TV Feature Photography and TV Sports Photography.

They scored complete sweeps (taking the first-, second- and third-place prizes) in six of the eight individual TV categories: TV General News Reporting, TV Feature Reporting, TV Sports Reporting, TV News Photography, TV Feature Photography and
TV Sports Photography.

The school took home several awards for its news products: Cronkite NewsWatch, the school's live, 30-minute, student-produced newscast airing on Arizona PBS four nights a week to 1.2 million households, was named Best All-Around Television Newscast among four-year universities.

The State Press, the publication of Student Media at ASU, was named second in Best Affiliated Web Site, and The Downtown Devil, another student-produced publication, was deemed first for Best Independent Online Student Publication.

Cronkite students routinely dominate the SPJ regional and national competitions and other prestigious contests and have won more than 200 SPJ regional awards in the last five years.

Last year, they also came in first in the national SPJ awards for the fifth consecutive year and second in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards.

Cronkite has finished first or second in five of the past six years in that competition, the best performance by any journalism school in the nation.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Cronkite won first in the Broadcast Education Association awards, taking home 19 student awards, six of those being first places.

In the previous school year, students received more than 130 awards in total. These included an Edward R. Murrow Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Award.

Six Cronkite students attended the awards ceremony in San Diego at the end of April.

Broadcast Awards
Best All-Around Television Newscast
First: Cronkite NewsWatch Staff, “Cronkite NewsWatch”

Television Breaking News Reporting
First: Cronkite News Staff, “Cronkite NewsWatch: Winter Storm Special Report”

Television Breaking News Reporting
Third: Heather Turner, “Teen Shot”

Television Feature Photography
First: Natalie Podgorski, “Garage Boxing”

Television Feature Photography
Second: Lindsey Reiser, “Racetrack Minister”

Television Feature Photography
Third: Tara Prindiville, “Prescribed Burns”

Television Feature
First: Lindsey Reiser, “Racetrack Minister”

Television Feature
Second: Natalie Podgorski, “Garage Boxing”

Television Feature
Third: Natalie Podgorski, “Toy Maker”

Television General News Reporting
First: Toby Phillips, “Rocky Point”

Television General News Reporting
Second: David Gonzalez, “Travel Warnings Affect Mexican Border Businesses”

Television General News Reporting
Third: Heather Turner, “Child Care Fees”

Television In-Depth Reporting
First: Courtney Godfrey, “Superior Mining Controversy”

Television In-Depth Reporting
Third: Cronkite News Staff, “Cronkite NewsWatch: SB 1070 Continuing Coverage”

Television News Photography
First: David Gonzalez, “Please Come to Mexico!”

Television News Photography
Second: Heather Turner, “Child Care Fees”

Television News Photography
Third: David Gonzalez, “Wildlife Refuge Cleanup”

Television Sports Photography
First: Tom Miller, “ASU Hockey/SD101”

Television Sports Photography
Second: Siera Lambrecht, “Ice Fishing”

Television Sports Photography
Third: Jacob Fadden, “Northland Prep Academy”

Television Sports Reporting
First: Siera Lambrecht, “Ice Fishing”

Television Sports Reporting
Second: Cameron Gidari, “Sky Diving”

Television Sports Reporting
Third: Cameron Gidari, “MMA Bill”

Radio Feature
First: John LaBarbera, “DBacks National Anthem Auditions”

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Third: Gardenia Coleman, “Finding My Shoes”

Online Awards

Best Independent Online Student Publication
First: Downtown Devil Staff, “Downtown Devil”

Best Affiliated Web Site
Second: State Press Staff, “StatePress.com Entry for Best Affiliated Web Site”

Online Feature Reporting
First: Derek Cooley, “Speaking in Code: Profiles of the Navajo Code Talkers”

Online In-Depth Reporting
Second: Rebekah Zemansky & Lisa Ruhl, “Dealing with the Dead”

Online In-Depth Reporting
Third: News21 Staff, “The Women”

Online News Reporting
Second: Tessa Muggeridge, “Driving While Tired: Safety officials are Slow to React to Operator Fatigue”

Online News Reporting
Third: Cronkite News Staff, “Live Election Coverage”

Online Opinion & Commentary
First: Janice Vega, “Janice Vega Columns”

Print Awards
Breaking News Reporting
Second: Rheyanne Weaver, “Lake Drain”

Feature Writing
First: Grant Martin, “As Climate Warms, Deserts, Forests, Cities Face Uncertain Futures”

Feature Writing
Second: Rebekah Zemansky, “Trapped in Violence: Undocumented Abuse Victims Face Hurdles”

General Column Writing
Third: Andrew Hedlund, “Andrew Hedlund Column Writing”

In-Depth Reporting
Third: Kristena Hansen & Ryan Van Zelzer, “Most Frequent Arizona Lottery Players a Little Older, a Little Wealthier”

Sports Writing
Second: Gina Mizell, “5 Years Later, Love Still Heart of ASU Athletics”