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Cronkite Students Dominate SPJ Nationals For Second Consecutive Year

May 17, 2007

Students from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication finished first in the Society of Professional Journalists national awards contest for the second consecutive year.

Arizona State University’s dominance in SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards comes just one month after the Cronkite School took first place overall in the Hearst intercollegiate journalism competition. Cronkite students also won the 2005 Mark of Excellence competition.

Cronkite students won 10 Mark of Excellence Awards this year, including four first-place prizes. The University of Missouri was second with seven awards and the University of Maryland finished third with six awards. Each had two first-place awards.

Cronkite students were honored in photography, radio and television, and dominated the online journalism categories. Of seven online media categories, Cronkite students took first place in three and were national finalists in two others.

“We are thrilled our students finished first in this highly competitive national awards program for the second year in a row,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “And we are particularly excited about how well our students performed in the newest categories of online journalism. It is a testament to our talented students and dedicated faculty members.”

SPJ received more than 3,300 entries in 39 categories. Winners in each category from SPJ’s 12 regions competed in the national competition. Cronkite students dominated Region 11 with 35 awards, including 17 first-place winners.

SPJ will recognize the national winners and finalists at its annual national convention on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C.

The national winners and finalists from the Cronkite School include:

Television Feature Photography
National Winner: Sam Salzwedel, “Donut Peddler”

Online In-Depth Reporting
National Winner: Online Media Class, “Autism Arizona”

Online Sports Reporting
National Winner: James Schmehl, “NFL Pros Return to Classroom”

Best Affiliated Web Site
National Winner: Staff, “ASU Web Devil”

Feature Photography
National Finalist: Brandon Quester, “Two Sisters, Two Lives”

Radio Sports Reporting
National Finalist: Justin Karp, “D-backs Organist”

Television News Photography
National Finalist: Ian Schwartz, “Papago Park Development”

Television Sports Photography
National Finalist: Elias Johnson, “Special Wrestler”

Online Feature Reporting
National Finalist: Ljiljana Ciric and Michael Lisi, “Children of the Borderlands”

Online Opinion and Commentary
National Finalist: Chris Sheppard, “Coming Home from Iraq”