Home / News and Events / News / Cronkite Students Win Most Honors at National SPJ Student Awards

Cronkite Students Win Most Honors at National SPJ Student Awards

May 28, 2020
Madeline Ackley

Madeline Ackley

Students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University won 10 national Society of Professional Journalists awards – more than any other university in the nation – in a competition that honors the best in student journalism.

Students won top honors in two categories in the 2019 Mark of Excellence Award program, for online feature reporting and online sports reporting. They were also national finalists in eight other categories.

"Deported U.S. veterans find aid, comfort in a Tijuana ‘bunker’" a story in Cronkite News written by Madeline Ackley, with photos by Mara Friedman, won best online feature reporting. It tells the story of deported U.S. veterans living in Tijuana, Mexico, who get almost no attention, in part because of their troubled pasts.

Winning best online sports reporting was graduate student Tyler Dunn’s "‘Chaotic, beautiful thing’: The story behind Party Hard Wrestling," which also appeared in Cronkite News. It is about Arizona’s weirdest independent wrestling company where theatrics often get crowds riled up.

Other national finalists include stories about those who die or go missing while crossing Arizona’s border, youth suicides on Native American nations and athletes who succeed despite the odds against them.

This year’s 10 combined national winners and finalists matched the Cronkite School’s performances in 2018, 2008 and 2006. Cronkite was followed by the University of Florida, which had seven national winners and finalists in the 2019 contest.

Cronkite students have topped the Mark of Excellence Award program 11 times since 2005 and won a total of 117 awards. Cronkite holds the record for the most first-place awards in the national competition – 54 – during that same time period.

The school holds the record for the best performance over the past 19 years in the SPJ Region 11 contest, which includes Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, North Mariana Islands and Nevada. Cronkite won 53 awards, including 19 first-place awards in the 2019 regional competition. All first-place winners in regional competitions advance to the finals.

“We are extremely proud of our outstanding students, who consistently win the top awards in this important contest year after year,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “In addition, their in-depth multimedia reporting has had a significant impact in Arizona and beyond.”

Tyler Dunn

Tyler Dunn

Cronkite’s two national winners:

Online Feature Reporting:
"Deported U.S. veterans find aid, comfort in a Tijuana ‘bunker’," Cronkite News
Madeline Ackley and Mara Friedman

Online Sports Reporting:
"‘Chaotic, beautiful thing’: The story behind Party Hard Wrestling," Cronkite News
Tyler Dunn

And eight national finalists:

Best Independent Online Student Publication:
"Cronkite News".

Best Use of Multimedia:
"Death of a dream: Two responses to migrants who go missing in the desert,” Cronkite News
Nicole Ludden, Julian Hernandez, Meg Potter, Erica Figueroa

Broadcast Sports Videography
Finalist: "Life’s curveball – The Stallard story,” The Arizona Republic
Kynan Marlin

Feature Writing (Print: Large) 10,000+ Students:
"Young, small, but mighty: Skateboarder Sky Brown shreds path toward Olympics,” Jack Harris, published during an internship at the Los Angeles Times

Photo Illustration (Large) 10,000+ Students:
"The cost of crossing,” ASU’s The State Press
Connor Wodynski, Kevin Hurley

Radio In-Depth Reporting:
"Vegas massacre effects – One year later,” Blaze Radio at ASU
Austin Westfall

Television Feature Reporting:
"Amputation inspires runner,” Cronkite News/Arizona PBS
Scotty Gange

Television In-Depth Reporting:
"Native American suicides,” Cronkite News/Arizona PBS
Jennifer Alvarez

For a full list of winners, go to: https://www.spj.org/news.asp?REF=1726