The University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications has placed fifth overall in the national 2016 Hearst Intercollegiate Journalism Awards competition.
The college placed third in the broadcast competition and fourth in the photojournalism and multimedia competitions.
“UNL’s top-five placement in the nation is truly a great accomplishment,” Dean Maria Marron said. “This strong finish is a testament to the program we have here at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and to our talented faculty who train our students to be successful journalists. We are all so proud of all our students who placed in these national competitions.”
Seniors Tommy Rezac of Valparaiso and Evan Hummel of Lincoln were finalists in the broadcast competition, and senior Calla Kessler of Omaha was a finalist in the photojournalism competition. They all advanced to the championships in San Francisco June 1-3, where Rezac placed second.
The broadcast category had three individual competitions. In the radio competition, Rezac placed second for his piece exploring the possibility of serving alcohol at Pinnacle Bank Arena during basketball games, and Hummel placed third for his pieces on sex trafficking in Nebraska and the recently passed Dreamers Drivers License law.
In the second TV competition, junior Bailey Hurley of Fargo, North Dakota, placed third for her package that exposed the illegality of a smartphone app called KeyMe and its potential risks.
In the photojournalism category, Kessler placed fourth and senior Jake Crandall of Shawnee, Kansas, placed 17th in the first round of competition. The submissions were a mix of news, sports and feature photos.
In the second photojournalism competition, senior Allison Hess of Fulshear, Texas, placed seventh for her photo story about a 7-year-old Ecuadorian girl’s battle with brain cancer and the toll it took on her family.
Hess had the opportunity to complete this piece through the college’s Global Eyewitness program, which sends photojournalism students to places of great human need to document the stories of the people there. The trips are led by Professor Bruce Thorson.
The multimedia category comprises four individual competitions. In the first competition, senior Andrew Barry of Lincoln placed 11th for his piece on a mother who works at a butterfly farm in Ecuador. Barry also completed this piece as part of the Global Eyewitness trip to Ecuador.
In the second competition, senior Adam Warner of Prior Lake, Minnesota, placed 11th for his piece “Gray Water,” about two fishermen in the poorest, most densely populated neighborhoods in Managua, Nicaragua.
Senior J.P. Davis of Birmingham, Alabama, placed 13th for his piece “The Prodigal Sons,” which tells the story of young Nicaraguans’ journey from a life of crime and addiction to rehabilitation and fellowship at El Hijo Prodigo in Matiguas, Nicaragua. Warner and Davis completed the pieces as part of the Global Eyewitness trip to Nicaragua.
Kessler placed eighth in the third multimedia competition for her piece about two different landfill lifestyles in Managua, Nicaragua, which she completed through the Global Eyewitness trip to Nicaragua.
In the fourth multimedia competition, recent graduates Sierra Ramsey of Arcadia and Mara Klecker of Hermosa, South Dakota, placed ninth for their story on decompression sickness’s effect on fishing communities in Nicaragua, also a Global Eyewitness project.
Recent graduate Chris Heady of Leawood, Kansas, placed 10th in the personality profile competition in the writing category for his story “Mike Riley Isn’t Following His Father’s Footsteps Anymore,” published in The Daily Nebraskan. The story examines Riley’s relationship with his father and why the coach left his position at Oregon State to coach at Nebraska.
The 2016 Hearst Intercollegiate Journalism Awards competition was held in 108 member colleges and universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs.