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Cronkite School Leads Field at 2017 Student Murrow Awards

June 6, 2017

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication was the only journalism program in the nation to win multiple honors in the prestigious Student Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Cronkite students won in two of five possible categories in the 2017 contest established by the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Cronkite News, the student-produced, faculty-led news division of Arizona PBS, won the Student Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Newscast. Last week, Cronkite News was named the top newscast in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Carnegie-Knight News21, a journalism initiative that brings top journalism students from across the country to the Cronkite School to report on an issue of national significance, won the Student Murrow for Excellence in Digital Reporting.

Since the Student Murrow Awards were established, the Cronkite School is the only journalism program in the country to have won multiple Student Murrow Awards. Carnegie-Knight News21 won the very first Student Murrow Award in Overall Excellence – Video in 2015. In all, the school has won three awards.

In the 2017 contest, judges praised the Feb. 17, 2016 Cronkite News newscast, produced by Windsor Smith and directed by Madison Romine, for natural sound in the packages, strong soundbites and good live coverage. Numerous students contributed to the newscast, which featured coverage from Pope Francis’ mass in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

“The Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in journalism,” said Cronkite Associate Dean Mark Lodato. “To finish first in two of the five categories is remarkable and a testament to the quality work our students produce each year. Cronkite News is an important daily resource to Arizonans interested in serious reporting. Meanwhile, News21 took readers and viewers on a creative, in-depth examination of one of the year’s most important issues.”

Thirty-one students from 18 universities traveled to 31 states and interviewed hundreds of people for Carnegie-Knight News21’s "Voting Wars” investigation into voting rights. Judges said the investigation was an “extremely on-point project with good stories and creative and strategic use of multimedia.” Since its release, portions of the investigation have been featured in more than 80 media outlets, including NBC News, USA Today and The Washington Post.

“‘Voting Wars’ captured so much of what was going on prior to the 2016 election,” said Carnegie-Knight News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel. “Winning a Murrow Award validates our efforts to push the limits of multimedia journalism as well as the hard work of all of our students who contributed so much to this powerful project on voting rights.”

The Student Murrow Awards celebrate overall excellence in student journalism at the collegiate and high school levels. Unlike the professional Murrow Awards, which are presented to a news organization, the Student Murrows are awarded to individuals in one of five categories — audio newscast, audio reporting, video newscast, video reporting and digital reporting.

The RTDNA will recognize the 2017 winners at the RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York on Oct. 9.

The RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in professional journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession. The RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession. Members include local and network news executives, news directors, producers, reporters and digital news professionals as well as educators and students.