Mark of Excellence Awards Deadline Approaching

As you spent the first week of 2012 writing your New Year’s resolutions, what did you include on your list?  Hit the gym? Eat healthy? Quit procrastinating? Well, surely you’ve remembered to add this: Become an award-winning journalist. If not, you’ve got just a few more weeks to add it to your list!

Each year the Society of Professional Journalists presents the Mark of Excellence Awards, which honors the best in student journalism. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism. This year’s deadline is on January 25, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time).

The contest is open to anyone enrolled in a college or university in the U.S. studying for an academic degree in 2011. The entrant must have been enrolled as a student at the time of publication or broadcast. Students who have had full-time, professional journalism experience, outside of internships, are not eligible. Entries must have been published or broadcast during 2011.

Entries are first judged on the regional level. First place regional winners advance to the national competition and are recognized at SPJ spring conferences. National winners will be showcased on

Ready to apply? Make sure you read the Mark of Excellence rules before submitting your entry!

What should a winning entry look like? Review the work of the 2010 National MOE Winners and Finalists:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Got a question that’s not included above? Contact SPJ at 317/927-8000 or e-mail

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  • Hedger

    So no elaboration then? Ok, cool.

  • ArsVampyre

    I hear your anecdotal evidence and counter with my own. Realize that Xbox live is not all of gaming, and that even if the experiences you relate are truthful, they may not be representative, and aren’t remotely in my own experience, which is likely much greater than yours, because reasons. It’s as perfectly valid as your own statement.

  • ArsVampyre

    No, what was said is that gamers in general have this problem, and it’s up to them to fix it, and it’s best just to ditch them all because those gamers don’t matter anymore, because look, misleading demographics confusing mobile puzzle gamers with all gamers, and also misrepresentation of research by Dan Golding.

    What was done was a vast venting of the general hatred these writers have of their audience, because they think they’re too good to write about this shit, they should be able to do whatever the hell they want, and ethics and responsibility be damned.

    When you read an advice column, do you expect the advice column to be a subtle sales-pitch for the writer’s friend, lover, or financial partner? Because that’s what’s been going on, and when they got called out on it and called out for censoring discussion of THAT, they attacked gamers, en masse, and then tried to back-peddle and say ‘well, we only met the trolls’. It’s not Team Gamer, Internet police, and saying people are trolls or hate women doesn’t absolve these journalists of performing their job according to the expectations of it, and not in a misleading manner in order to personally benefit, or give favor to those close to them for some reason.

    I don’t understand why people keep defending this practice. Because Gamergate supporters also are vastly anti-troll, anti-harassment, and anti-threats. There’s a reason the early stereotype of a supporter was a polite sealion, interrupting a public conversation with civil questions asked in a civil manner; because that’s how supporters behave.

    This harassment narrative is a fiction. There’s no significant link between supporters of gamergate and harassment, doxxing, or threats, despite claims of such. Of Anita Sarkeesian’s week of harassment tweets, 15% of them had used Gamergate at one point or another, and 2% of that had used it more than once (I’m using someone else’s statistics, as sourced from a debate between Chris Kluwe and Mercedes Carrera on the David Pakman show, so I can’t verify their authenticity beyond that. Take it for what it’s worth). That doesn’t even tell you if they were using it in support or against. And yes, there are groups who oppose both.

    I can see why you’d think what you say is true, Brian. Depending on when you came into looking at this, the story has warped and changed over time. If you weren’t involved with it right when the censorship started happening, most of the censorship is covered up with this sort of thing, and claims of conspiracy theory wackjobs. But the story the supporters tell holds up to the evidence, and the supporters told against them does not, no matter how many people in the media use it to cover up their own failings, most of which is just a failure to do research for themselves, and trusting other journalists and sites that they should not.

    After all, why would Kotaku be a reasonable source for if Kotaku was behaving unethically? Why would they admit to it if they could avoid it?

  • Brian Grant

    Ok, but I’m not going by my own experiences though. These are from women I’ve talked to. so the stories from people I know and the stories I’ve read from others, inclines me to believe this is true.

    Don’t take my word for it, there’s a documentary with real-live women sharing their stories – but they might be too anecdotal for you – because you’ve never experienced it, so it must be lies!!!

  • Brian Grant

    Perhaps but other news sources outside the gaming industry have also looked into this story, and all basically came to the same conclusions.

    The talk of journalists potential conflicts of interests is a valid discussion because, if anything, the perception is there. But the way gaming media is presented hurts the gaming industry more than it hurts gamers.

    Like nobody gives a crap if a film critic reviewed a movie on their webpage but has advertisement from same movie company on the site or if a film critic is sleeping with a actress or director.

    On the flip side the threats against Quinn and others (who are not in gaming media) by people of gamergate (or at least people who use the movement to harass) is very real and has real life impact.

  • Frank M

    I am more than happy to be out and proud as a #GamerGate supporter. I have videos here: which cover a range of topics as a group.

    You will notice that I do a series to camera which I have continued on Youtube here:

    You can see that the earliest ‘Shooting Straight’ videos are in the wake of the blow-up of Gamergate, with the Forgotten Forge Games Project in existence for about 18 months beforehand.

    I do not identify with any of the outrageous epithets added to Gamer Culture, but I am a gamer to the core – from video through to board, card and miniature games, which can be seen on other Daily Motion videos.

    I am more than happy to discuss things with anyone in a calm and civil manner.

  • Ned Burner

    I’m not a part of this Gamergate discussion or anything but I wanted to chime in and say that as an outsider, you guys look like total crackpots. You want people to lose their job because of an opinion they have?

    You’re trying to police people’s thoughts, so I’m not surprised you’ve had zero success.

  • ArsVampyre

    I’m not going to take a side in this, but did any of you consider that asking ‘what games do you play’ is an attempt at finding common ground to relate, talk about something they mutually enjoy, and welcome the person into the group? Like a golfer asking which courses someone enjoys, I don’t think it’s as nefarious as you make it out to be.

    If you go into the group expecting hostility, you’ll see it even if it’s not there. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  • ArsVampyre

    If they were it wouldn’t be provably false, now would it? Someone would follow up on the facts and it would show that indeed, no one was run from their home, or that no party took place on the night in question, etc.

    It’s important when someone says they are harassed, but it’s more important that when they say it, if you report on it, you’ve checked to see if it’s true. Do no harm? You do far more harm by lying to the public and making them suspicious of their news than you do by fact-checking someone and making them think that you didn’t just take them at their word.

  • ArsVampyre

    I speak for me. I don’t speak for you. The difference is, I didn’t make up a lie about you to spread around to silence your dissent; I listened to it.

  • ArsVampyre

    Apologies, but it’s the other side trying to get people fired for having an opinion. Example: Ben Kuchera, a ‘journalist’ who sought to have a man fired for having a disagreement with him on twitter. A disagreement on TWITTER. He contacted this man’s employer and attempted to have him fired, for conduct that had nothing to do with the man’s employment.

    This is SOP for many; they contact your employer, tell them you’re a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, and that they’ll tell the news that the whole company is if they don’t fire you, and because the journalists are either in agreement with the tactic (See Mr. Adam Sessler and his support for doxxing, or Mr. Bob Chipman and his statement that there are no bad tactics, only bad targets, with regard to doxxing, harassment, etc).

    You are woefully uninformed. When a bomb threat was called in recently on a Gamergate meeting, the FBI and the local police took it seriously, believing it to be a real and credible threat. When Ms. Sarkeesian canceled her talk, the police said there wasn’t a credible threat (I don’t quite agree with them myself, the letter was extremely threatening and has no place in civil society for any reason).

    You might look at the evidence before you make claims over who’s trying to silence who, and how. This doesn’t even go into the overarching culture-war stuff I’m thankfully not interested in fighting in, where an advertisement gets a company bomb and arson threats, and the UK government makes the company take it down because it’s demeaning to fat people rather than investigating actual threats of violence. Is this the way you want our country to be? Is that to be what we call a ‘free society’ now? Have the right opinion, and you can attack anyone in any way as long as they’re more ‘privileged’ than you, all because politicians fear being labeled some hateful name? Because right now, many journalists and news sites are marching lock-step with this facism. And that is what it is; facism.

    Call me a crackpot-I’ve been called worse for less worthy reasons. Take the time to look into things yourself. It’s far worse than it appears to be. These game journalists are not unique; they’re just arrogant and were easily caught. The SPJ has their work cut out for them, and as a concerned citizen, I’d like to lend what support I can, because I want my children to grow up in a free society where they can make their own thoughts, believe their own beliefs, and not be forced to pretend to be something else in order to hold a job, buy a house, or not be imprisoned.

    P.S. We’ve had a lot of success. Strangely enough, disclaimers of possible conflicts of interest are much more common, the FCC changed their rules regarding affiliate links, and we’re still here, talking about ethics in the face of stories about harassment that have no evidence other than someone’s word, and a lot of evidence otherwise.

    Good day to you, Mr. Burner.

  • Brian Grant

    “omeone would follow up on the facts and it would show that indeed, no one was run from their home, or that no party took place on the night in question, etc.” – Wait where are these “facts”?

  • Point Less

    So they’re just never going to use their own #SPJEthicsWeek hashtag again? It’s not like they can make another one and GamerGate won’t pile on it again; the problems in gaming journalism isn’t restricted to gaming, but really I’m not sure how to stem the flow of trolls that love hanging on the popular hashtag.

  • Stephen Rynkiewicz

    Any journalism ethics discussion these days can turn into a lecture on video games. That’s fine if everyone holds to their ethical responsibility to let the voiceless speak.

  • Brian Grant

    I practice martial arts and I compete. We do not care about your skill level. As long as you’re willing to learn and treat others well we accept you.

    Earning respect is not inherent to all competitive activities. Gamers don’t have to be that way they’re choosing to be.

  • Hedger

    Who said earning respect was based on skill level?

    In fact i gave several different methods that respect is earned. Emphasis on earned. Earning respect is inherent to everything, respecting each other is the basis of society. Unfortunately “being respected” is not the default position, and rightfully so.

    Dont misunderstand though, being respected and being liked are completely separate ideas

    No one is stopping anyone from playing games, dont make it sound like there are groups going around throwing people out of arcades or game shops or tournaments, because that simply isnt the case.

    I think its funny you see it as a choice. I see it as the result of decades of a demographic being socially outcast. Its not the gamers who have changed…

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