College of Communications repeats as national champion in journalism

The College of Communications has repeated as the national champion in the intercollegiate writing competition of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program.

The competition, often called “the Pulitzers of college journalism,” is in its 53rd year. The country’s 106 nationally accredited journalism-mass communication programs are eligible to compete.

Schools can submit two student entries in each of the five monthly writing competitions: features, enterprise reporting, sports reporting, personality/profile writing and breaking news writing. This year’s competition drew more than 500 writing entries.

The final intercollegiate standings are calculated based on overall student performances.

“We are a perennial top-five place winner in the annual Hearst intercollegiate writing standings,” Dean Doug Anderson said. “But back-to-back national championships truly is a special accomplishment and a credit to the strong students in our program.”

All 10 of the college’s writing submissions finished in the individual top 25.

Stephen Pianovich led the way with a first-place finish in breaking news writing.

Other top-25 finishers: Brittany Horn, second in breaking news and ninth in features; Sarah Peters, second in personality/profile writing; Mike Hricik, third in personality/profile writing; Casey McDermott, fourth in enterprise reporting; Daniel Jenkins, fifth in sports writing; Kristin Stoller, 14th in enterprise reporting; Emily Kaplan, 17th in sports writing; and Eric Feinstein, 21st in features.

Pianovich and Horn earned spots in the Hearst individual national championships in San Francisco in June. Only eight students from the more than 500 writing entrants qualified for the individual championships.

Indiana, Northwestern, Florida, Arizona State, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and North Carolina round out the top-10 intercollegiate writing standings.

“We are so proud of our students,” said Russ Eshleman, associate head of the Department of Journalism and co-coordinator of the college’s writing submissions. “They tackled tough stories and did a wonderful job of reporting and writing them.”

Two Penn State students have captured the individual writing crown in the San Francisco championships in the past seven years: Halle Stockton, who won in 2007, and Andrew McGill, who placed first in 2010.

The top-five place winners in each of the writing competitions earn scholarships, with matching grants to the College of Communications.

The college also will receive a gold medallion and a $10,000 award at the Hearst championships in San Francisco for its first-place intercollegiate finish.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and is fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. It consists of five monthly writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, three broadcast news competitions and four multimedia competitions, with individual championship finals in all divisions. The program awards up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

The college also earned top-10 final intercollegiate finishes in photojournalism, with a best-ever second-place finish, and third place in the final intercollegiate broadcast standings. The final multimedia intercollegiate standings will be announced in May.

Judging the writing competition this year were Ward Bushee, editor and executive vice president, The San Francisco Chronicle; Marty Kaiser, editor and senior vice president, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and John Temple, former managing editor of The Washington Post.

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Last Updated April 27, 2013