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Cronkite Students Dominate 'Best of the West,' Other Competitions

June 7, 2006

Cronkite newspaper students dominated the “Best of the West” journalism competition while students specializing in online, public relations and magazines won other regional and national accolades.

Students working at The State Press won eight of the nine collegiate awards in the Best of the West competition, sponsored by First Amendment Funding Inc. to “reward journalistic excellence and to promote freedom of information.” The contest, which started in 1988, draws entries from 13 western states.

The Cronkite winners were:

General Reporting:

First Place - Ryan Kost for “University Cooling Costs.”

Second Place - Jennifer Girardin for “NAFTA Debate Far from Over.”

Third Place - Heather Wells for “Arizona Seeks Trade South of the Border.”

Feature Writing:

First Place - Megan Irwin and Matthew Ekstrom for “After the Storm.”

Second Place - Erika Wurst for “Education, Jobs Give Rise to a Mexican Middle Class.”

Third Place - Amanda Keim for “Common Ground.”

Sports Reporting:

First Place - Beth Cochran for “Tempe, Cardinals Read to Part Ways.”

Third Place - James Schmehl for “ASU Getting Strong Returns from Recruiting Investments.”

“I’m proud of these students,” said Student Media Director Kristin Gilger. “I heard wonderful judges’ comments on all of the work.”

The judges were journalists from The Baltimore Sun.

Other Cronkite students have won awards in recent days.

  • A group of public relations students, under the guidance of Associate Professor Fran Matera, won three Remi Awards in WorldFest, an international film festival. Matera’s students won for their work on promotional videos for NASA’s international space station.
  • The ASU Web Devil was a finalist for the EPpy Award for Best College Newspaper Internet Service. The EPpy is a major online journalism competition sponsored by Editor & Publisher. The Web Devil won the award last year.
  • The Devil’s Tale, the product of a Cronkite online media class, was a Webby Award nominee for best student Web site by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The Devil’s Tale, which can be viewed at http://cronkitezine.asu.edu, showcases the finest stories, photographs, video clips, audio files and multimedia projects produced by students in a variety of classes at the Cronkite School. “The Webby Awards honor outstanding Web sites setting the standard for the Internet,” said Tiffany Shlain, founder and ambassador of the Webby Awards. “The nomination of the Devil’s Tale is a testament to the skill, ingenuity and vision of its creators.”
  • Cronkite student Stephen Harding placed second in the student interactive multimedia category of the Broadcast Education Association competition. As part of an online media class taught by Assistant Professor Carol Schwalbe, Harding designed and produced a Web site that showcases a collection of stories and multimedia about Native Americans in Arizona. The site, titled “Nations Within a Nation,” can be viewed at http://cronkitezine.asu.edu/nations/. “This class project was intended to encourage students to reach beyond their boundaries and immerse themselves in another culture,” Schwalbe said. “Stephen crafted stories of hopefulness, rather than the stereotypical helplessness, and incorporated them into a multimedia site.”
  • Graduate student Nicole Girard won first place in the Personality Profile category for small publications in the Arizona Press Club contest. Girard’s story, about a blind ASU piano player, was produced for Terry Greene Sterling’s magazine writing class and published by the College Times. “Our student worked very hard on this story and it showed – she beat the professionals,” Greene Sterling wrote in an email to her colleagues.
  • Photojournalism student Deanna Dent won the fourth annual Nancy Engebretson Memorial Photojournalism Award. The $500 scholarship was established in memory of veteran newspaper photographer Nancy Engebretson and funds an Arizona college student who demonstrates exceptional talent in print photojournalism. Dent has been a photo intern at The Arizona Republic and is a double major in journalism and photography.