Students drive No. 2 finish in 'Pulitzers of college journalism'

May 12, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Driven by strong student submissions in every category, the Penn State College of Communications finished second overall in final standings for the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program for 2015-16. The annual program is often referred to as “the Pulitzers of college journalism.”

Penn State finished behind only North Carolina after points were compiled as the result of 14 competitions conducted throughout the academic year. There were five writing competitions, four in multimedia, two in photojournalism, two in TV and one in radio. Penn State finished second in writing, fifth in broadcast, seventh in multimedia and eighth in photojournalism. Only one other school, Arizona State, earned a top-10 finish in each of the individual categories.

“Hearst recognizes real journalism — solid reporting, great writing and terrific photos and videos to tell important and interesting stories. That’s what we ask of our students, and once again they responded,” said Russ Eshleman, head of the Department of Journalism. 

During the past decade, Penn State’s average overall finish (4.7) is best of any program in the Big Ten Conference or the Northeast. In addition, Penn State is one of only six schools from across the country to earn a top-10 finish each year since 2011. 

“Our Hearst record is proof: We are a consistently high-quality program that emphasizes the fundamentals in an exciting, new-media environment,” said Dean Marie Hardin. “Our students are well prepared for the journalism workplace.”

Senior Erin McCarthy qualified for the individual national championships, which will be contested May 30 to June 3 in San Francisco. She is the 15th Penn State student in the past decade to quality for the individual portion of the competition.

Just 29 students from across the country qualified for the individual championships. Championship participants will participate in various on-location assignments, competing for scholarship awards ranging from $1,500 to $5,000.

A record 1,261 entries from 100 colleges and universities were submitted to the Hearst Journalism Awards Program this year. The program is conducted under the auspices of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. It has been in existence for 56 years and is funded by the Hearst Foundation, which annually awards up to $500,000 in grants, scholarships and stipends to students.

Last Updated May 26, 2016