Three distinguished journalism programs housed at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University took home a collective nine prizes in the prestigious 2023 Editor & Publisher Magazine EPPY Awards contest.
Honorees include the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, Cronkite News for its “Cronkite Sports” section and the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, which brings together top journalism students from universities across the country to produce in-depth enterprise projects.
The Howard Center, a capstone program that advances deeply researched watchdog journalism, and its partner, the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting (AZCIR), won first place awards in the professional categories of “Best investigative/enterprise video” and “Best community service project/reporting” for “In the Sheriff We Trust.” The project examines the growth of an extreme right-wing “constitutional sheriffs” group that has been quietly expanding its influence and impact across the U.S.
Contest judges praised the project for its “important, timely and extremely relevant reporting on an overlooked but frightening trend.”
The Howard Center’s project also finished as a runner-up in the “Best collaborative college/university & professional website” and “Best college/university-produced community or niche website” categories.
The Associated Press ran a version of the project’s main story, which was carried by hundreds of news outlets across the country. “In the Sheriff We Trust” was also the second most-viewed of all the stories on apnews.com on the day of its release.
Additionally, the Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau won a first place award in “Best college/university sports section/website” for its “Cronkite Sports” section. The bureau is one of the school’s signature immersive capstone experiences, serving as a multiplatform newsroom from which students cover sports in the heart of the nation’s fifth-largest city.
“Congratulations to our students for their performance in one of the most prestigious and competitive journalism contests in the country,” said Cronkite School Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. “Our students are dedicated to finding overlooked stories that highlight important issues and provide a service to the community. These awards are a testament to that commitment.”
Carnegie-Knight News21, a national reporting initiative headquartered at the Cronkite School, took the top prize in three college categories – the most of any university-affiliated program.
News21’s “America After Roe” project, which explores the broad impacts of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, placed first in the “Best college/university-produced community or niche website,” “Best college/university investigative/documentary” and “Best news story on a college/university website” categories.
News21 was also named a runner-up for “Best video on a college/university website.”
Contest judges praised “the volume of reporting, storytelling and production” that went into the package.
“This is a deeply reported series of stories, exploring all sides of an intensely debated and emotional topic. It received expansive treatment from multiple locations, using many resources, and from multiple perspectives,” the judges wrote. One added: “It leaves me optimistic about the future of journalism and the education current students are getting.”
Twenty-five students from nine universities contributed to “America After Roe,” traveling to over two dozen cities in 14 states, as well as to Washington, D.C., and Monterrey, Mexico, to report.
Hundreds of outlets, from large media organizations to local and nonprofit newsrooms, published content from the project, including The Associated Press, USA Today, The Washington Post, The 19th, Religion News Service, The Arizona Republic, Indian Country Today and Houston Landing.
The 2023 Editor & Publisher Magazine EPPY Awards competition received more than 250 entries from over 100 media companies worldwide and was judged by a panel of notable media professionals with backgrounds in journalism, website design, marketing, advertising, editorial, technology, education and management.