SPJ Region 3 Mark of Excellence Award winners announced to move on to national competition

Mark of Excellence logo

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the best collegiate journalism in Region 3 with 2017 Mark of Excellence Awards (MOE) winners. 

SPJ’s Region 3 comprises Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Honorees received award certificates the weekend of March 24 at the SPJ Region 3 Spring Conference & Freelance Blitz at the College of Charleston. 

First-place winners will compete at the national level among other regional MOE winners from the 12 SPJ regions. National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore.

MOE Awards entries are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience. Judges were directed to choose entries they felt were among the best in student journalism. If no entry rose to the level of excellence, no award was given. Any category not listed has no winner.

School divisions are based on student enrollment, including both graduate and undergraduate: Large schools have at least 10,000 students and small schools have 9,999 or fewer students.

The list below details all Region 3 winners. If you have any questions regarding the MOE Awards, contact Sharon Dunten, Assistant Regional Director, SPJ Region 3 at sdunten.spjregion3@gmail.com or call (317) 410-7217.

This list reflects the spelling and titles submitted in the award entries.


Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students

Winner: “Protesters take a stand, outnumber Spencer supporters” – by Ian Cohen, Romy Ellenbogen, David Hoffman and Jimena Tavel, University of Florida

Finalist: Fraudulent agency scams SPC – by Alex Klugerman and Richard Chess, Emory University
Finalist: SGA elections board resigns – by Will Jones, University of Alabama

Breaking News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students

Winner: University and FarmHouse reach agreement after public backlash to insensitive video – by Sable Riley, Troy University

Finalist: Update on fraternity house fire – by Hillary Taylor, University of North Alabama

General News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students

Winner: Succession of scandals hits Auburn Athletics – by Chip Brownlee, Sam Willoughby and Will Sahlie, Auburn University

Finalist: Cell phones shed new light on police violence – by Camille Studebaker, University of Alabama
Finalist: Two drivers charged with rape, sodomy of student on university transit bus – by Chip Brownlee and Jessica Ballard, Auburn University

General News Reporting (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Finalist: New policy affects student refund checks – by Harley Duncan, University of North Alabama

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: College costs: the CW explores the real price of your degree – by Shahriyar Emami, Will Baggett, Kirstin Carroll and Adam Dodson, University of Alabama

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Into the void – by Ethan Bauer, University of Florida

Finalist: Freshman’s climate change efforts go from local to national – by Nathalie Mairena, University of Miami
Finalist: Service dog gives mobility to student with visual impairment – by Annie Cappetta, University of Miami

Feature Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Suffering in silence: Men and domestic violence – by Nadia Holloway, Florida A&M University
Finalist: Troy student wrestles with the pros – by Zach Henson, Troy University
Finalist: Uncovered secrets series – by Tyler Hargett, University of North Alabama

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Former Miami Dolphins wait and wonder about future health – by Ethan Bauer, University of Florida
Finalist: Best foot forward: UF kicker Eddy Pineiro using football to give his family a comfortable life – by Matthew Brannon, University of Florida
Finalist: Her decision – by Ethan Bauer, University of Florida

Sports Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Rampersad’s journey to Berry – by Haiden Widener, Berry College
Finalist: Women’s lacrosse excited for rule change – by Christopher Ferguson, Berry College
Finalist: Wallace adds honor to legacy – by Jacob Cole, University of North Alabama

Editorial Writing
Winner: Leath’s appointment warrants criticism; For the good of Auburn, Jay Jacobs should go; It’s time for voters to put an end to Moore’s antics – by Weston Sims, Chip Brownlee and The Auburn Plainsman Editorial Board, Auburn University
Finalist: Kneeling is not un-American; Doug Jones for US Senate; UA should have commencement speakers – by The Crimson White Editorial Board, University of Alabama
Finalist: First Amendment flaws in Viking code; Changes needed in chalk policy draft; Use your voice for good – by Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion Staffs, Berry College

General Column Writing (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: DACA decision forced on Congress; Media favor sensation in catering to public interest; Is Christianity a religion or a culture? – by Pradyot Sharma, Troy University

Sports Column Writing
Winner: I get why Jim McElwain should go. But remember he’s human, too; Adversity is the most overused word in sports. Instead, let’s not cheapen it; Don’t make football a priority in times of crisis – by Ethan Bauer, University of Florida
Finalist: In the wake of Spencer controversy, it’s OK to take a break from sports; Nobody should just stick to sports; Take yourselves less seriously, sports teams – by Ian Cohen, University of Florida
Finalist: Earth is flat, obviously, you idiot; Dan Mullen just volunteered to go through hell; UF’s new uniforms are so cool they almost make me forget how bad the team is – by Matt Brannon, University of Florida

Best All-Around Non Daily Student Newspaper
Winner: The Miami Hurricane – by The Staff of The Miami Hurricane, University of Miami
Finalist: The Auburn Plainsman – by Corey Williams, Chip Brownlee and The Auburn Plainsman Staff, Auburn University
Finalist: The Oracle – by The Staff of The Oracle, University of South Florida


Non-Fiction Magazine Article
Winner: Drag race – by Theo Willson and Marissa Vonesh, University of Miami
Finalist: Sea of dreams – by Matthew Wilson and Mary Katherine Carpenter, University of Alabama

Best Student Magazine
Winner: Distraction Magazine – by The Staff of Distraction Magazine, University of Miami
Finalist: SCAN Magazine – by The Staff of SCAN Magazine, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta


Breaking News Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Hunter sets eyes on governing after SGA presidential win – by Jacob Arthur, University of Alabama
Finalist: ‘You need a heart’: Community protests Emory’s delay of kidney transplant – by Parth Mody, Emory University

Feature Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Words – by The Staff of Distraction Magazine, University of Miami
Feature Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Finding home from Myanmar – by Katherine Lewin, Flagler College
Finalist: Better diabetes care available, yet few can afford it – by Jessie Rowan, Flagler College

Photo Illustration (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Sex stats – by Staff of Distraction Magazine, University of Miami
Finalist: Cadet Canes – by Sidney Sherman and Marissa Vonesh, University of Miami
Finalist: Cell phones shed new light on police violence – by Kylie Cowden and Jake Stevens, University of Alabama

Photo Illustration (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Musician Maggie Schneider – by Christian Zubernis, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta

Sports Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students
Winner: Gators lose in Elite Eight – by Grace King, University of Florida
Finalist: Football cover – by Josh White and Marissa Vonesh, University of Miami 
Finalist: FGCU men’s basketball versus Weber International’s Warriors – by Zack Rothman, Florida Gulf Coast University

Sports Photography (Small) 1-9,999 Students
Winner: Junior guard Wesley Person – by Joshua Thurston, Troy University
Finalist: Women’s tennis – by Valerie DeWandel, Berry College
Finalist: Women’s softball – by Bailey Albertson, Berry College

Editorial Cartooning
Winner: The Current State series: Liberty; Tweety; War games – by Richard Goodwin, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta


Radio News Reporting
Winner: Irma aftermath – by Staff of WUFT-FM, University of Florida
Finalist: Richard Spencer speech & rally – by Staff of WUFT-FM, University of Florida
Finalist: Mayor of Midland City emerges after difficult election night – by Eriq Roberts, Troy University

Radio Feature
Winner: The high cost of sugar – by Miranda Fulmore, University of Alabama
Finalist: ALS doesn’t stop this artist – by Alexa Lorenzo, University of Florida

Radio In-Depth Reporting
Winner: When the lights go out, and stay out – by Luke Sullivan, University of Florida

Radio Sports Reporting
Winner: A Cuban woman who wants to box – by Caitie Switalski, University of Florida
Finalist: Family travels to Omaha – by Savanna Collins, University of Florida

Best All-Around Radio Newscast
Winner: October 19, 2017 Newscast – by Henry Coburn, Dolores Hinckley, University of Florida


Television Breaking News Reporting
Winner: Pulse anniversary – by Ryan Roberts, Daniela Hurtado, University of Florida
Finalist: Gators drown out Richard Spencer – by Alexa Lorenzo, University of Florida
Finalist: Fire engulfs East Alabama Mill – by Brandon Etheredge, Auburn University

Television General News Reporting
Winner: 2017 hurricane season begins – by Grace King, University of Florida 
Finalist: Santa Fe River flooding lingers – by Grace King, University of Florida

Television Feature Reporting
Winner: The chicken man – by Allen Devlin, University of South Carolina
Finalist: M.I.A. Mia – by Zoe Haugen, University of Florida
Finalist: Painting with a purpose – by Alexa Lorenzo, University of Florida

Television In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Lead in school water – by Daniela Hurtado and Danielle Frew, University of Florida
Finalist: Tale of two cities – by Brian Principe, University of South Carolina
Finalist: Peach crop loss – by Caitlin Mathias, University of South Carolina

Television Sports Reporting
Winner: D’Mauri Jones: Painting inspiration – by David Perez, University of Miami
Finalist: Palatka pride – by Savanna Collins, University of Florida
Finalist: Three coaches, three players, one city – by J.P. Hovey, University of South Carolina

Best All-Around Television Newscast
Winner: WUFT News – by Rachel Trent and The Staff of WUFT News, University of Florida
Finalist: WUFT News First at Five – by Aaron Abell and The Staff of WUFT News, University of Florida
Finalist: TROY TrojanVision News – by The Staff of TROY TrojanVision News, Troy University


Online News Reporting
Winner: Flooding leaves refugee family with moldy apartment – by Katherine Lewin, Flagler College
Finalist: Drawing lines: Debate over gerrymandering, political power comes to South Carolina – by Brodie Putz, University of South Carolina
Finalist: Flagler College jury scam: When technology is used for evil – by Katherine Hamilton, Flagler College

Online Feature Reporting
Winner: Two veterans, two wars – by Briana Erickson, University of Florida
Finalist: Artist Tyrone Geter: Searching for a universal language – by Taylor Halle, University of South Carolina
Finalist: Unpredictable weather, breaking buds part of S.C. winemaking life – by Michaela Wendell, University of South Carolina

Online In-Depth Reporting
Winner: Grade expectations – by Molly Donovan, University of Florida
Finalist: Energy burden – by Staff of WUFT.org, University of Florida
Finalist: ‘Feels like an earthquake’: Newberry neighborhood fears damage from limestone mine – by Nicole Dan, University of Florida

Online Sports Reporting
Winner: Vikings football playoffs – by Allie Pritchett, Bruno Rosa and Chris Ferguson, Berry College
Finalist: Beach volleyball player takes familial approach to competition – by Collyn Taylor, University of South Carolina
Finalist: Sara P’s Fast 5 – by Sara Palczewski, Auburn University

Online Opinion & Commentary
Winner: An open letter from a sick and tired Atlanta driver; The first lady is missing; What the new tax plan means for students – by Allison Bolt, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta
Finalist: Life is precious: My sister’s story; Why I’m happy to be financially independent; Logic brings powerful, important performance to the VMAs – by Jared Talbot, Flagler College

Best Affiliated Web Site
Winner: Alpine Living New Zealand – by Jonathan Norris, Taylor Armer, Kaylin Bowen and Hailey Grace Steele, University of Alabama
Finalist: Eagle Eye TV – by The Staff of Eagle Eye TV, Auburn University

Best Independent Online Student Publication
Winner: Flagler College Gargoyle – by The Staff of Flagler College Gargoyle, Flagler College
Finalist: The Connector – by The Staff of The Connector, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta
Finalist: Viking Fusion – by The Staff of Viking Fusion, Berry College

Best Use of Multimedia
Winner: Our Gainesville – by The Staff of WUFT News, University of Florida
Finalist: The 45th President – by The Staff of The Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida
Finalist: Resilient – by Christopher Chase Edmunds, Taylor Armer, Cara Walker and Thomas Joa, University of Alabama


Broadcast News Videography
Winner: Troy Out of the Darkness Walk – by Lauren Harksen, Troy University

Online/Digital News Videography
Winner: Gainesville residents react to Thursday speech event on campus – by Ramsey Touchberry, University of Florida

Online/Digital Feature Videography
Winner: Beyond gender – by Andrea Cornejo, University of Florida
Finalist: Flagler student tears up the t-shirt business – by Gabrielle Garay, Flagler College

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