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May 3, 2006
Contact: Jennifer Kinnard, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, (785) 864-7644.

KU journalism students finish third in national Hearst intercollegiate competition

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications finished third in the nation in the Intercollegiate Writing Competition of the 46th Annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program, often referred to as “The Pulitzers of College Journalism.” KU was among 107 accredited journalism schools across the nation eligible to participate in the prestigious awards program.

In finishing behind first-place Northwestern University and second-place Arizona State University, KU will receive a $2,500 cash award and a bronze medallion at an awards ceremony in June in San Francisco, Calif. Other Big 12 Conference universities in the top 10 were the University of Missouri, fifth, and the University of Nebraska, eighth.

Rankings are based on points accumulated in six monthly writing competitions during the academic year. Placings of eight KU students’ work contributed to the third-place finish. The contests recognize the top 10 winners with awards ranging from $500 to $2,000, plus matching grants to the schools, and certificates of award to those placing 11th through 20th.

“I am very proud of our students whose work did so well in this competition,” said Ann Brill, dean of the journalism school. “It shows that KU journalism students are among the best in the country.”

Nicole Kelley, Topeka junior, finished fourth in spot news writing, the final contest in the competition. She won an award certificate and $750 for her story about the March 12 microburst that caused $6 million in damages to the KU campus. The story was written for the next day’s University Daily Kansan despite the loss of power and along with it, use of the newsroom’s networked computers.

Previous KU winners who accumulated points in this year’s competition were Steve Vockrodt, Aurora, Colo., spring 2005 graduate, first in depth reporting; Louis Mora, Mission, senior, ninth in depth reporting; Ryan Colaianni, McLean, Va., junior, sixth in sports writing; Matt Wilson, Windsor, Mo., senior, ninth in sports writing; Marissa Stephenson, Tonganoxie, spring 2005 graduate, 11th in feature writing; Mike Mostaffa, Overland Park, senior, 17th in profile writing; and Laura Snyder, Shawnee, fall 2005 graduate, 20th in opinion writing.

“It should make us all proud, though, for faculty, our involvement is quite removed,” said Malcolm Gibson, general manager of the University Daily Kansan. “What makes this so special is that all the work recognized was produced — from beginning to end, from concept to reporting to editing to publication — wholly by students. In some situations, professionals or faculty are intimately involved. Not here.”

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. It consists of six monthly writing competitions, three photojournalism competitions and four broadcast news competitions with championship finals in all divisions. Each accredited school or department of journalism is allowed to submit two student entries in the six writing categories. A panel of professional journalists chose the winners.

KU student winners are listed below by name, hometown, major, university status, parents, high school attended and prize-winning story details, including the Web links.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Mission (ZIP 66202)
Louis Mora, senior in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis), son of Louis and Elvira Mora; Bishop Miege High School; ninth in depth reporting for “The Greek Divide,” published Dec. 5, 2005, in the University Daily Kansan.

From Olathe and Shawnee (ZIPs 66062 and 66216)
Laura Snyder, fall 2005 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis) with a minor in English, daughter of Doug Snyder of Olathe and Patricia Snyder of Shawnee; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; 20th in opinion writing for “Armed to defend,” published Sept. 1, 2005, in the University Daily Kansan.

From Overland Park (ZIP 66213)
Mike Mostaffa, senior in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis), son of Mark and Terry Mostaffa; Gardner Edgerton High School; 17th in profile writing for “Filmmaker also plays role of teacher, activist,” published Feb. 20, 2006, in the University Daily Kansan.

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY
From Tonganoxie (66086)
Marissa Stephenson, spring 2005 graduate with bachelor’s degrees in international studies and journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis), daughter of R.J. and Karen Stephenson; Tonganoxie High School; 11th in feature writing for “How to be Whole Again,” published April 28, 2005, in the University Daily Kansan.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Topeka (ZIP 66604)
Nicole Kelley, junior in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis), daughter of Kenneth Kelley; Topeka High School; fourth in spot news writing for “Storm wreaks havoc on Lawrence,” published March 13, 2006, in the University Daily Kansan.

COLORADO
From Aurora (ZIP 80015)
Steve Vockrodt, spring 2005 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis), son of Tom and Mailys Vockrodt; Smoky Hill High School; first in depth reporting for “The Scarlet List,” published May 12, 2005, in the University Daily Kansan.

MISSOURI
From Windsor (ZIP 65360)
Matt Wilson, senior in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis) with a minor in history, son of Robert and Melody Wilson; Windsor R-1 High School; ninth in sports writing for “Welcome to Fabulous Debt,” published Dec. 6, 2005, in the University Daily Kansan.

VIRGINIA
From McLean (ZIP 22101)
Ryan Colaianni, junior in journalism and mass communications (news and information emphasis) and political science, son of Peter and Lisa Colaianni; McLean High School; sixth in sports writing for “Pounds of Performance,” published Dec. 1, 2005, in the University Daily Kansan.

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