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Students Win Recognition for PR, News Efforts

July 9, 2009

Students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University are winning recognition for work ranging from public awareness campaigns to international news reporting and multimedia reporting projects..

The recent accolades include several awards, including a Webby honor, a multimedia reporting project that is being showcased by the Online News Association and a presentation that helped win Phoenix an All-American City designation.

Best of the West Award
Cronkite student Andrew Pentis won the 2009 Best of the West collegiate award for sports reporting.

His story, "Letting go of it all," profiles ASU pitcher Josh Satow. Judge Corydon Ireland Writer of the Harvard University Gazette, said, “The writer draws a series of pictures that created a you-are-there feeling, listening alongside the reporter. Good writing, and the clipped, neat, short paragraphs kept the narrative moving.”

The Best of the West contest awards three collegiate journalism awards – for sports writing, feature writing and general reporting. It is one of the West’s most prestigious contests, drawing
nearly 2,000 entries each year from journalists in the 13 states from the Rockies west to Alaska and Hawaii. The college contest began in 2005 and covers the same region.

Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award
Cronkite student James Kindle took second place in the 2009 Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award, which recognizes excellence in collegiate reporting that demonstrates an understanding of the basic ideas that support a free society.

Kindle was part of a group of students who went to South Africa last summer to report on the lives of immigrants. He wrote about a Zimbabwe woman who was beaten, raped and nearly killed for her political activism; refugees from Angola who fled their country because of violence and now live in a displacement camp in South Africa; and a high-rise apartment building in Johannesburg that teams with dozens of nationalities struggling to live in peace.

The award is one of three sponsored by the Institute on Political Journalism, the collegiate journalism program of The Fund for American Studies. Kindle was awarded $2,500.

Kindle’s work includes “Scarred,” “Divided They Stand,” and “Johannesburg’s Babel Falls.”

Public Awareness Campaign
Cronkite students took an honorable mention in a national Collegiate STD Awareness Month campaign contest for their work creating a public awareness campaign that warns of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

The award was given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

The campaign was developed by three graduate students in the Cronkite public relations lab under the direction of Cronkite Assistant Professor Xu Wu. The students are Ashley Panter, Katie Charland and Chrissy Koczenasz.

Wu said the award was especially meaningful because it came in the lab’s very first semester of operation. It is, he said, proof that “we can compete with any school at the national level.”

First place went to the University of Missouri.

Webby Award
A Cronkite student project on South Africa is one of the honorees of the 2009 Webby Awards in the student category.

The project, “South Africa: At the Crossroads of Hate and Hope,” can be seen on the Cronkite Zine at http://cronkitezine.asu.edu/SouthAfrica/index.html.

The multimedia project is the work of 10 Cronkite students and two professors — Carol Schwalbe and Susan Green — who traveled to South Africa in June 2008 to document the lives of immigrants.

Their work, which was funded through a generous grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, was selected for top recognition from among nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 states and more than 60 countries.

The official honoree distinction is awarded to the top 15 percent of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement.

ONA Showcase
A project on families divided by the U.S.-Mexico border has been selected by the Online News Association as an example of effective multimedia storytelling.

The project, “Divided Families,” was produced by students in an In-Depth Reporting class taught by Associate Dean Kristin Gilger and developed for the Web by an advanced online media class taught by Assistant Professor Carol Schwalbe with assistance from student Nancie Dodge.

The ONA chose the project for inclusion in its “Interactive Narratives: The Best in Multimedia Storytelling” in the border category, along with projects from The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Arizona Daily Star.

All-American City Competition
Tania Mendes, a sophomore broadcast major, played the part of a newscaster for Phoenix’s presentation to the judges during the All-American City competition this summer in Tampa, Fla.

Delegations from 29 competing cities made presentations and touted accomplishments such as job creation, downtown revitalization, crime reduction, community-based problem solving, grassroots civic engagement and cooperation between public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The Phoenix group included Mendes, who talked about ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus.
Mendes said that students particularly appreciate the Valley’s new light rail service, the new Civic Space park and internships at local media outlets.

Ten cities were awarded the All-American honor. In addition to Phoenix, winners were: Inglewood, Calif.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Richmond, Ind.; Wichita, Kan.; Somerville, Mass.; Albany, N.Y.; Kinston, N.C.; Statesville, N.C.; and Caroline County, Va.