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Cronkite First in Broadcast Features

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January 8, 2009

A first-place finish and two other top five performances have propelled the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication into first place in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program’s national broadcast competition.

Arizona State University Senior Liz McKernan of Phoenix won top honors in the television contest with stories about a former ASU student who has started an organization to donate blankets to families with babies and a story about a veteran jazz musician who is teaching more than music lessons to a new generation of artists. McKernan won the $2,000 top prize.

ASU Senior Joe “J.W.” Cox of Hemet, Calif., finished second in the radio feature reporting contest. His stories took listeners back in time to when the Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix, a low-income home for senior citizens, was the hotel of choice for Hollywood elite. Cox also produced a story on fishing in urban lakes in Phoenix.

Sophomore Colton Shone of Phoenix took fourth place in the radio feature reporting category with stories about a tattoo artist in Glendale and a new high-tech piece of equipment to rid grocery carts of germs and bacteria.

The Cronkite School was the only school with three students to place in the top five of the first round of the broadcast competition. The school’s three winners will compete in the semifinal round of the national Hearst competition this spring.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program consists of a series of annual competitions in broadcast news, writing, photojournalism and multimedia. The program, administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, is commonly referred to as the Pulitzers of college journalism. Winners are selected from among hundreds of entries from students in accredited journalism schools from around the country.

The Cronkite School has finished in the top 10 nationally in the Hearst competition for the past seven years, including a first-place finish in 2007 and second-place finishes the previous two years.