UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two Penn State entries were named national winners in the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) 2018 Mark of Excellence Awards, which honor the best in collegiate journalism from the year. Three additional entries were chosen as national finalists.
“Centre County Report in Israel” was honored as the Best All-Around News Magazine. The work was the result of a weeklong international reporting trip in the spring of 2018, where students received hands-on experience covering a variety of stories.
In addition, Katie Litwin’s “Breaking it Down: Partisan Gerrymandering” won in the Online/Digital News Videography category.
"I'm very happy to see our students' work again recognized on a national level,” said Steve Kraycik, assistant teaching professor and director of student television in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “Our international reporting class did a fantastic job finding and reporting compelling stories in Israel. The result was a memorable program that SPJ chose as the best in the nation. That's something our student journalists will proudly showcase on their resume."
The three entries that were named national finalists, finishing in the top three of their respective categories, were:
- Photo Illustration: “Meteor Shower” – Yutong Zhou
- Sports Photography: “Diving Catch” – Eric Firestine
- Television General News Reporting: “Helicopter Wreaks Havoc on Tailgate” – Brandon Pelter
The competition included categories for newspapers, magazines, art/graphics, radio, television, online and videography. Winners from all 12 SPJ regions were considered in the national competition.
Based on enrollment, Penn State competed in the large school division against other programs with at least 10,000 students.
The winners of the national awards will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference scheduled for Sept. 5-7 in San Antonio.