Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

ELON, NC — Student journalists at Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University and Washington & Lee University were among those honored when the Region 2 Mark of Excellence awards were announced at last weekend’s regional conference at Elon University.

The full list of winners is available here.

Recipients of first-place awards go on to compete in the national Mark of Excellence awards, which will be announced at the Excellence in Journalism conference this September in Fort Lauderdale. There were five state students who made that cut. Their categories and works honored are:

Breaking News Photography
• First Place: Police, students clash – by Chris Conway, Virginia Commonwealth University

Sports Photography
• First Place: Dawn Evans – by Robert Boag, James Madison University

Online Sports Reporting
• First Place: Ram fans rally during send-off – by Alyx Duckett and Matt Birch, Virginia Commonwealth University

Editorial Cartooning
• First Place: Dan Nacu, Virginia Commonwealth University


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Dear College Journalists, Students, Professors and Financial Aid Officers:

Applications are now being accepted for two scholarships of $1,500 each, available to rising juniors or seniors attending a Virginia college or university. The Virginia SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation awards the scholarships annually, with support from Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter. Applications must be postmarked on or before May 1, 2012.

Applicants are not required to be journalism majors, but they must demonstrate intent to pursue a career in journalism (print, broadcast and/or online media). Both winners will be recognized at the annual George Mason Banquet, held in June to honor a person who has supported freedom of the press and contributed significantly to Virginia journalism.

The foundation and the chapter have awarded scholarships to aspiring journalists annually since 1971. Previous scholarship winners now work at the highest levels in national, state and local journalism. This scholarship award on a resume distinguishes an applicant as one of the most talented students entering the profession.

Please encourage students from your college or university to apply by posting and distributing photocopies of this letter and application on your campus. Information and applications also can be downloaded here: SPJ Scholarship Application 2012 . Should you have questions or need assistance, please contact me at clissase@aol.com.

Clissa England

SPJ Scholarship Chair

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Richmond attorney Craig T. Merritt will be the recipient of the 2011 George Mason Award.

The George Mason Award, established in 1964, is given annually by the Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro chapter, to an individual for outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism.

A partner with the Richmond law firm of Christian & Barton, Merritt has selflessly assisted, defended and educated the news media of Virginia. He helped journalists in their pursuit of the freedom of information, and he has assisted in the fight against unwarranted intrusion into newsrooms by law enforcement. He has taught working journalists, as well as visitors from other countries, about the history and status of a free press in the United States and Virginia.

Through the Virginia Press Association, Merritt has given highly informative and useful workshops on freedom of information law in Virginia, not only teaching how FOIA works in the commonwealth, but also reviewing legislative action that has helped or hindered journalists’ ability to review information that the public has a right to access.

He has willingly served a host of news organizations, from large metropolitan dailies to individual student weeklies, advising them how to press forward the public’s right to know, deal with attempts to squelch their newsgathering work, and defend themselves against spurious and, sometimes illegal, actions by government, corporate and individual attacks.

Merritt’s clients have been victorious in a number of significant newspaper lawsuits, seeking to hold governmental bodies accountable and observant of access laws.

His work has often been pro bono for news organizations without the resources and knowledge to respond to authority. For example, when the administration of James Madison University charged two of its own students — the editor and assistant editor of the student newspaper, The Breeze— with trespassing for attempting to interview fellow students in their dormitory rooms about a sex offense committed in the dorm, the SPJ Virginia Pro chapter and Region 2 office sought Merritt’s advice on response.

Similarly, when a Rockingham County prosecutor and a group of police barged into the newsroom of The Breeze, waving a search warrant and threatening to confiscate photo files and computers, Merritt advised SPJ about its initial steps to protest the seizure publicly and challenge it legally.

In addition to his work for Christian & Barton’s media clients, Merritt has a busy commercial litigation practice. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Merritt is one of many lawyers at the firm who have served the news media for many years, and he has noted in particular the lasting influence of the late Alexander “Sandy” Wellford, the First Amendment expert who received the George Mason Award in 2002.

Merritt will receive the award at the chapter’s annual George Mason celebration ceremony, to be held June 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The 2300 Club in Richmond.

Ticket information will be available shortly.

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Arielle Retting of Radford University and Katherine Mawyer of Virginia Tech are the Virginia Pro Chapter’s Journalism Scholarship winners for 2011. Both are juniors at their respective universities and plan careers that include print, online and broadcast journalism.

The two scholarships, each for $1,500, are given annually by the Virginia Pro Chapter of SPJ and the Virginia SPJ, SDX Educational Foundation.

Arielle Retting of Fairfax, a Journalism/Political Science major at Radford, is the editor-in-chief of the Whim, RU’s online magazine. She is assistant copy editor for the student newspaper, The Tartan, and has been an intern with RU’s Web Communication Department. During May, Retting traveled to Florida for a Poynter College Fellowship. This summer, she will be the Dow Jones copydesk intern at the Virginian-Pilot. In her final year this fall, she’ll be working with the Roanoke Times’ New River Valley bureau writing about education issues. Having already been active in the Investigative Reporters and Editors association, Retting’s career plan is to be an investigative, computer-assisted reporting journalist, and eventually becoming an online producer or editor.

Katherine “Katie” Mawyer of Sandston, a Communications, Professional Writing and Popular Culture major at Virginia Tech, plans a career in broadcast sports journalism. She’s already served sports-related internships at WTVR-TV (Channel 6) in Richmond, with the New River Valley Bureau of the Roanoke Times, and with the Richmond Kickers. This summer, Katie will be working with Clear Channel Communications as an intern with the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, as well as with the sports department at WTVR-TV CBS 6. Since arriving on campus, Mawyer has been working with Hokie Sports (VT’s Athletics Communication). During her high school and college years, Mawyer has worked in many positions at the Chickahominy YMCA.

In addition to the two winners, the SPJ Scholarship Committee also had two applicants each from Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Wesleyan College and Emory and Henry. They also received applications from students at Marymount University, Sweet Briar College, Lynchburg College and George Mason University.

As part of the Scholarship process, applicants must write a short biography and an article listing their reasons for pursuing a career in journalism. Both Retting and Mawyer have agreed to have a part of their applications posted on this website:
Arielle Retting bio
Katie Mawyer

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Bonnie Newman Davis, a journalism professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a member of the SPJ Virginia Pro chapter’s board, was selected as “Journalism Educator of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists at its spring board meeting.

She will be honored at the NABJ Annual Convention in Philadelphia in August.

Davis, right, served for several years as academic director of the VCU Urban Journalism Workshop, an intense two-week journalism program for high school students that is co-sponsored by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Inc.

She is faculty adviser for the VCU student SPJ chapter and as an informal adviser to VCU’s student chapter of NABJ. She is a co-founder of the former Richmond Association of Black Journalists, which won NABJ’s Chapter of the Year in 1998. From 1999-2003, Davis served on NABJ’s national board as the mid-Atlantic regional director.

In addition to her longtime affiliation with NABJ, Davis is also a member of the Diversity Committee for SPJ national.

Davis said, “I pay homage to the many educators and journalists who have served as my coaches, confidantes and mentors, particularly Mrs. Loreno Marrow, my first journalism professor at N.C. A&T State University, and to my late husband, William H. Davis, a lifelong educator who instilled in me the confidence to step into a college classroom in 1994. I also thank the hundreds of students whom I have had the privilege of mentoring and teaching at several colleges and universities in Virginia.”

Charles Robinson, NABJ’s Region II director added his thoughts: “Bonnie Newman Davis has challenged her students to stay true to the principles of journalism while asking them to go beyond their comfort zone with new technology. Her classrooms are like newsrooms, there are no shortcuts.”

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