June 29, 2015

UNL finishes fourth in nation in Hearst journalism competition

Andersen Hall, home of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications finished fourth in the nation the 2014-2015 Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

More than 100 accredited undergraduate journalism schools are eligible to participate in the program, which is conducted with the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Schools accumulate points earned by individual students in 14 monthly writing, photojournalism, broadcast news and multimedia competitions, which ultimately determine the rankings. The 14 monthly competitions consist of five writing, two photojournalism, one radio, two TV and four multimedia competitions, with championship finals in all divisions. The program awards up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants each year.

“UNL’s top-five placement is truly a great accomplishment,” said Maria Marron, dean of the college. “Our faculty work hard every day to bring the very best out of our students. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a university to produce successful and educated graduates. What our faculty do in class every single day and in extra-curricular activities really matters. Every success is the culmination of all that they do.”

UNL was the top Big Ten finisher. Indiana University ended the year fifth and Penn State University finished eighth in the overall standings. The full rankings are at http://go.unl.edu/3a6g

In addition, UNL finished fourth in the multimedia competition and fifth in both the writing and photojournalism competitions for the year.

Other Hearst honors include:

  • Faiz Siddiqui, a recent graduate from Cincinnati, was named a writing finalist in the Hearst National Championship for his story “Saving Sisay,” (http://projects.newsnetnebraska.org/sisay/) which also took first in the Hearst feature writing competition. The story is about a 7-year-old suffering from a congenital spine disease who sought life-saving spinal reconstruction. Sisay underwent corrective spine surgery in Ghana earlier this year. This was the fourth top-five Hearst award for Siddiqui, who is now interning at the Washington Post.

  • In May, Shelby Wolfe and Mara Klecker placed seventh in multimedia team reporting for their presentation “La Cienga.” La Cienga is known as “the town with no kids” in southwest Ecuador. It is a vanishing community with 13 people all between 60 and 100. The students traveled to Ecuador in December with the college’s Global Eyewitness Project, which brings attention to social issues in developing countries. Bruce Thorsen, associate professor of journalism, leads the project. Wolfe is a senior from Owatonna, Minn., and Klecker is a senior from Hermosa, S.D.

  • Earlier this year, Wolfe finished second in the multimedia competition with her piece “Relying on the sea: Pollution threatens the livelihood of green mussel farmers,” (http://go.unl.edu/rdjk) and Sierra Ramsey finished ninth with “Rising from the rubbish: A mother’s impact on a village of trash pickers.” (http://go.unl.edu/wgu4) Both students traveled to Indonesia in May 2014 with the Global Eyewitness project. Ramsey is a senior from Arcadia.

  • In April, Klecker was finished second in the Hearst personality profile writing competition for her story “At home in America: ‘I am so thankful.’” (http://go.unl.edu/ori6) Chris Heady tied for 14th place with his piece “Road to recovery: Former Husker Anthony Steels overcomes drug addiction.” (http://go.unl.edu/mast) Klecker and Heady, who is a senior from Leawood, Kan., are interns at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

  • Alex Lantz, a recent graduate from Lincoln, placed fifth in sports writing, and Kaylee Everly, a recent graduate from Fremont, placed second in the first photojournalism competition in the categories of news and features. Everly is a multimedia intern at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.