Student journalists win trio of national awards

Student journalists from the SCU newspaper, The Santa Clara, took home three national awards in the Story of the Year competition at the 86th annual National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C., in October.

The Story of the Year competition, co-sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Collegiate Press “honors initiative and original reporting of a situation, problem or issue affecting students.” Judges look for entries that show leadership, quality writing, sensitivity, and fairness.

The competition recognizes the top student journalists in the country. Santa Clara and Harvard University were the only multiple first-place winners. And as The Santa Clara noted in a recent, well-deserved tooting of its own horn, the trio of awards are the most the student newspaper has ever received in a single year for the Story of the Year contests, which are open to universities nationwide.

Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Herb took first place in the feature category for a story investigating a perennially touchy subject at any university—illicit drug use by students—in “Santa Clara’s underground coke scene,” published in April 2007. A senior communication major who was recently awarded the Edward Shipsey, S.J., Journalism Scholarship by the University, Herb credits the entire staff for the hard work that made the awards possible.

Megan O’Connor ’07, who also majored in communication, earned first place in the diversity category for her story “Undocumented and unemployed.”

The Santa Clara editorial board won third place in the editorial/opinion category for a piece titled “Fighting ignorance through diversity”—which was written in response to a series of theme parties at universities around the country, including at SCU. The board was made up of Herb, Ryan Groshong, Jessica Silliman ’07, and Elizabeth Weeker ’07.

Gordon Young, who advises the newspaper and teaches journalism in the communication department, praised the students for their ethical decision-making in approaching the serious work of journalism. “The newspaper staff put an enormous amount of time and effort into ensuring that the stories were fair and accurate,” he said. “They wanted their work to make a difference.” —DA

post-image In top form: student journalist Jeremy Herb Photo: Sophie Asmar
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