2021 Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists of this year’s SPJ Region 5 Mark of Excellence awards for student journalism! We announced the honorees at the virtual regional conference on April 10.

Winners in each category will go on to compete with the winners of the other 11 regions in the national competition.

A special thanks to Region 5 assistant coordinator Nicole DeCriscio for managing the Mark of Excellence awards this year.

SPJ headquarters will mail award certificates. Need a duplicate certificate?Order them for $5 each, includes shipping. Contact Lou Harry at SPJ at lharry@hq.spj.org

Other questions? Contact Amy Merrick, SPJ Region 5 coordinator, amerric1@depaul.edu

Missed the awards ceremony? Watch the video here:

2021 SPJ Region 5 Mark of Excellence awards — video replay

Newspaper

Sports Column Writing

Finalist: Staff, “Northwestern Sports Time Machine,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Winner: Peter Warren, The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Sports Writing

Finalist: Drew Schott, “‘If I put my mind to anything I can achieve it’: How Abi Scheid became the best three-point shooter in the country,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Finalist: Matt Cohen, “The General comes home,” Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

Winner: Peter Warren, “Football: How Northwestern football handled the 1918 influenza epidemic,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Breaking-News Reporting (small, up to 9,999 students)

Winner: Megan Stratton, “Butler University moves first two weeks of 2020 semester online,” The Butler Collegian, Butler University

General News Reporting (small, up to 9,999 students)

Finalist: Delaney Nelson, “Addressing the ‘elephant in the room’: New program provides support to teen parents,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Finalist: Stasia Raebel, Ja’Sia Ward, Sophie Ciokaljo, “Election impact on Butler’s campus,” The Butler Collegian, Butler University

Winner: Delaney Nelson, “‘I’m doing my part’: the grocery store workers on the front lines of the pandemic,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

In-Depth Reporting (small, up to 9,999 students)

Winner: Ellie Allen, Joe Krisko and Allison Miccolis, “The evolution of Butler’s COVID-19 testing procedures,” The Butler Collegian, Butler University

General Column Writing (small, up to 9,999 students)

Finalist: Bridget Early and Andrew Favakeh, “Investigating Butler’s navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” The Butler Collegian, Butler University

Winner: Nathan Herbst, The Reflector, University of Indianapolis

Feature Writing (small, up to 9,999 students)

Finalist: Adam Mahoney, “Mother of man killed by CPD now spends holidays as community Santa,” Chicago Sun-Times, Northwestern University

Finalist: Madison Miller, “I now pronounce you, dead,” NCClinked.com, North Central College

Winner: Kyra Steck, “Voices on racism,” The Martha’s Vineyard Times, Northwestern University

Best All-Around Student Newspaper (small, up to 9,999 students)

Winner: The Butler Collegian, Butler University

Breaking News Reporting (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Kayleigh Padar, Madison Savedra, Katie Anthony, Mary Chappell, “Arrested protestors released after protests near Loyola’s Lake Shore campus,” The Loyola Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago

Winner: Claire Proctor, “Jacob Blake’s father says son’s paralyzed from waist down after police shooting in Kenosha,” Chicago Sun-Times, Northwestern University

General News Reporting (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Michael J. Collins and Laurel Deppen, “Need to know: The facts about WKU’s response to COVID-19,” The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Finalist: Daisy Conant, “Civic leaders, organizers discuss impact of EPD limiting practice of arresting minors,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Winner: Megan Munce and Daisy Conant, “Supreme Court decision disrupts students’ voting plan,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

In-Depth Reporting (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Sophia Scanlan, “In Focus: Independent businesses in Evanston deal with declining support,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Finalist: Madison Savedra, “Loyola professor still teaching after evidence of ‘unprofessional and sexual harassing behavior,’” The Loyola Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago

Winner: Kalen Luciano and Heena Srivastava, “In Focus: Loopholes in federal lead law left 5th Ward in the dark about what is in its water,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

General Column Writing (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Mary Chappell, The Loyola Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago

Winner: Yilun Cheng, Max News Today, Northwestern University

Feature Writing (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Jacquelyne Germain, “Race, class and SAT scores,” North by Northwestern, Northwestern University

Winner: Caroline Anders, “Live and learn,” Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

Best All-Around Student Newspaper (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Winner: The Loyola Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago

Radio

Radio In-Depth Reporting

Winner: Angelina Campanile, “Explained: President Trump’s election lawsuits,” WNUR News, Northwestern University

Best All-Around Radio Newscast

Winner: Angelina Campanile, Helen Bradshaw, Alex Harrison, Olivia Lloyd, WNUR News, Northwestern University

Television

Television Breaking-News Reporting

Winner: Holden Abshier, “Breonna Taylor protest,” IU NewsNet, Indiana University

Television General News Reporting

Finalist: Erica Carbajal, “Hazardous waste,” Good Day DePaul, DePaul University

Finalist: Alexa Mikhail, “Daily life in a pandemic,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Winner: Joey Maya Safchik, “Survivors condemn comparisons between quarantine and Holocaust,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Television In-Depth Reporting

Finalist: Crystal Hellwig, “Businesses hurt by covid,” Good Day DePaul, DePaul University

Finalist: Jenny Huh, “LGBTQ+ youth homelessness hits close to Northwestern’s campus,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Winner: Crystal Hellwig, “CTA crime,” Good Day DePaul, DePaul University

Television Feature Reporting

Finalist: Joey Maya Safchik, “The show goes on for artists with autism,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Finalist: Erica Carbajal, “DePaul opera,” Good Day DePaul, DePaul University

Winner: Joey Maya Safchik, “Old school activism: A history of protest at Northwestern,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Television Sports Reporting

Finalist: Jack Lido, “Pete the public address Wildcat,” NNN Sports, Northwestern University

Finalist: Michael Abraham, “Pantelis Xidias,” Good Day DePaul, DePaul University

Winner: Jack Lido, “The Art of the Draw,” NNN Sports, Northwestern University

Best All-Around Television Newscast

Finalist: Tracy Hemmingway, Abraham Alonso, Reid Pohland, John Kilpatrick, “LUTN Election Night 2020,” Lewis University Television Network, Lewis University

Winner: Staff, “Northwestern News Network COVID-19 special report,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Online

Online News Reporting
Finalist: Justin Myers, “DePaul community speaks out against FOP partnership,” 14 East, DePaul University

Finalist: Laaiba Mahmood and Hajra Qaiser, “Complaints against Chicago police rise as protesters seek accountability,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Winner: Nicole Sroka, “Chicago homicide rates surging during pandemic,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Online In-Depth Reporting

Finalist: Joslyn Fox, “A Censored Community: Students’ Speech, Expression Encumbered; DePauw Criticized,” The DePauw, DePauw University

Finalist: Staff, “Outbreak: COVID-19 in Chicago,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Winner: Meredith Melland and Marin Scott, “Under review: How Lisa Calvente’s termination exposed a flawed tenure process,” 14 East, DePaul University

Online Feature Reporting

Finalist: Zora Gordon, Addison LeBoutillier and Carlie Jefferies, “Happy at home,” Talisman, Western Kentucky University

Finalist: Lia Assimakopoulos, “A gridiron legacy uncovered: How Northwestern football players risked it all for racial equality,” Inside NU, Northwestern University

Winner: Emily Isaacman, Karli VanCleave, Mel Fronczek, “Softening Stigma,” Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

Online Sports Reporting

Finalist: Ruby Chapdelaine and Charlie Haynes, “Boxers find community in Bowling Green,” Talisman, Western Kentucky University

Finalist: Chris Katsaros and Charles Tharpe, “How the Big Ten Conference fumbled the pandemic,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Winner: Lia Assimakopoulos, “A gridiron legacy uncovered: How Northwestern football players risked it all for racial equality,” Inside NU, Northwestern University

Online Opinion & Commentary

Winner: Julián Martinez, 14 East, DePaul University

Online/Digital News Videography

Finalist: Jacob Ohara, “ETHS grads fight COVID-19 with new antimicrobial phone case,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Winner: Samantha Boas, “Evanston constructs stabilization project along lakefront,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Best Affiliated Website

Finalist: The Reflector, University of Indianapolis

Winner: The Chronicle, North Central College

Best Independent Online Student Publication

Finalist: RE(a)D, Western Kentucky University

Finalist: 14 East, DePaul University

Winner: Talisman, Western Kentucky University

Art & Graphics

General News Photography

Winner: Tony Reeves, “Health science safety photo,” The Reflector, University of Indianapolis

Sports Photography

Winner: Matt Gadd, “Helping hand,” The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Breaking-News Photography (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Zane Meyer-Thornton, “No justice no peace,” The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Winner: Zack Miller, “Person handcuffed during Chicago’s George Floyd protests,” The Loyola Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago

Feature Photography

Finalist: Allie Hendricks, “Dorm cleaning,” The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Finalist: Allie Hendricks, “Field trip,” The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Winner: Kellen Frazier, “Farming the land,” The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Data Visualization

Finalist: Kami Geron, “Finding a rusty patched bumblebee, what to look for,” Ball Bearings Magazine, Ball State University

Finalist: Kate Perschke, “Campaign finance: How are Biden and Trump fundraising and spending 10 days before the election,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Winner: Emily Wright, “The Truth About Climate Change,” Ball Bearings Magazine, Ball State University

Magazine

Nonfiction Magazine Article

Finalist: Jenna Greenzaid, “Risk of return,” North by Northwestern, Northwestern University

Winner: Morgan Hornsby, “Everything starts with mama,” Talisman, Western Kentucky University

Best Student Magazine

Finalist: Talisman, “Zeitgeist: The spirit of the age,” Western Kentucky University

Winner: North by Northwestern, Fall 2020 issue, Northwestern University

COVID-19 Coverage

COVID-19: Video Coverage (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Jack Lido, “Sportscasters in the age of COVID,” Northwestern News Network, Northwestern University

Winner: Olivia Yarvis and Victoria Benefield, “The Daily Northwestern explains: How to conduct an at-home mask test,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

COVID-19: Newspaper, Magazine and Online Coverage (small, up to 9,999 students)

Finalist: Noah Crenshaw, “Breaking news coverage of UIndy shutdown due to COVID-19,” The Reflector, University of Indianapolis

Winner: Nathan Herbst, Noah Fields, Jacob Walton and Gisele Valentin, “The Reflector COVID-19 coverage,” The Reflector, University of Indianapolis

COVID-19: Newspaper, Magazine and Online Coverage (large, 10,000+ students)

Finalist: Staff, “Outbreak: COVID-19 in Chicago,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Finalist: Kallie Cox and Danny Connolly, “SIU will not be informing the public of COVID-19 outbreaks on campus; RAs told to keep quiet,” The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Winner: Staff, “North by Northwestern magazine COVID coverage,” North by Northwestern, Northwestern University

Multimedia

Best Video Game Reporting

Winner: Dillon McCormick, “Evolving sport,” Talisman, Western Kentucky University

Best Podcast

Finalist: Madison Smith, “Defining safe: Living in limbo,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Finalist: Aaron Robinson, “Andy and Carlos,” Northwestern University

Winner: Victoria Benefield, “Digital diaries: Alone on campus,” The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

Best Use of Multimedia

Finalist: Justin Myers, “Austin, the architectural landscape: A walking tour,” 14 East, DePaul University

Finalist: Myra Leon, Jose Vidales, Itzel Elizarraraz, “Why is Chicago’s lakefront washing away?” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

Winner: Kate Perschke, “Election 2020: Young voters turn out in historic numbers,” The Red Line Project, University of Illinois at Chicago

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