Dec. 9, 2004

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Contact: Jennifer Kinnard, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, (785) 864-7644.

2 KU journalists earn recognition in national Hearst feature-writing contest

LAWRENCE -- Two University of Kansas journalists were named among the top 20 winners in college feature writing Nov. 28 in the 45th annual William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards Program. Both students received 11th-place-tie certificates of merit for their stories, which were published in the University Daily Kansan student newspaper.

Zach Hemenway, Lawrence, who received a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis) in May 2004, received honors for his story “Hand-to-Hand Combat,” published Dec. 1, 2003, about the popularity of poker on campus. He is the son of Robert and Leah Hemenway and is a graduate of Lawrence High School. Robert Hemenway is KU chancellor.

Erik Johnson, Bloomington, Minn., senior in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis), earned his award for “Digging Wall Drug” published Sept. 23, 2004, about the mom-and-pop store in Wall, S.D., that has become a multimillion-dollar-a-year business. He is the son of Darrel Johnson and is a graduate of Academy of Holy Angels, Richfield, Minn.

More than 100 undergraduate accredited schools of journalism are participating in the 45th annual Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards Program, which includes the feature writing category among the six monthly writing contests. This category attracted 105 entries from 58 universities and colleges in the program's first competition of the year. At the close of the yearlong contests, first-place winners will compete in the National Writing Championship in June in San Francisco, headquarters for the Hearst Foundation. Other categories are editorials, personality profile, in-depth, sports and spot news.

Three judges working independently have been selected to evaluate the students' writing efforts for all six competitions this year. Judges are Christopher Lavin, senior editor, San Diego Union-Tribune; Alex Martin, assistant managing editor, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.; and Pat Andrews, Broward city editor, the Herald, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Student winners are named based on accumulated totals from the three judges, from zero to 20 points possible, with 60 being a perfect score. The top 10 winners receive scholarship prizes ranging from $2,000 for first to $500 for tenth, and their schools receive a matching grant. First place in feature writing went to Russell Nichols, a senior at Florida A&M University.

KU is in third place with 44 overall points awarded to Hemenway and Johnson in the first round of the Intercollegiate Writing Competition. The University of Nebraska is first with 53 points, followed by Florida A&M University, 48; KU; the University of Kentucky, 42; West Virginia University, 39; the University of Iowa, 33; Syracuse University, 33; Arizona State University, 33; the University of Georgia, 32; and Kent State University, 31.

The Journalism Awards Program is sponsored by accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications and is funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The foundation's program awards more than $400,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

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