KU News Release


Feb. 23, 2011
Contact: Jennifer Kinnard, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 785-864-7644

Journalism student places first in national sports writing contest

LAWRENCE — Jayson Jenks, a junior in journalism at the University of Kansas, won first place in the sports writing category of the prestigious William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program, often referred to as the “college Pulitzer Prizes.” KU is in second place in the Hearst Intercollegiate Writing Competition.

Jenks’ article, “The Great Divide,” chronicled the radically different lives of two black KU athletes, Wilt Chamberlain and Leonard Monroe, in the 1950s. The story was published Jan. 27 in the University Daily Kansan.

Jenks, of Lenexa, will receive a $2,600 scholarship for his first-place win. KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications will receive a matching grant. Jenks also qualifies for the National Writing Championship, which will take place in June in San Francisco.

“Jayson understands that sports journalism is more about the journalism than the sports,” said Scott Reinardy, assistant professor of journalism. “He comprehends the social implications sports can have on individuals and communities. Jayson’s story provided insight into the athletic racial tensions at KU during the 1950s. And he understood that the tensions rippled far beyond the playing field.”

Stephen Montemayor, a fall 2010 journalism graduate, placed 10th in the sports writing category and will receive a certificate of merit. He is a reporter covering education issues for the Shawnee (Kan.) Dispatch. His winning story, “Between the ears: Colleges tackle concussions in football,” appeared Dec. 1 in the Kansan.

“It’s not surprising that Stephen finished with a top 10,” said Malcolm Gibson, general manager of the University Daily Kansan. “He’s someone who is dedicating his life to becoming the best reporter and writer possible. And the topic — concussions among student athletes — was one that he became passionate about because he knew it was important to the KU community and beyond. He wants to do journalism that makes a difference, and writing that story proves that journalism works.”

The sports writing contest drew participation of 94 students from 56 universities. This is the program’s fourth writing competition of the academic year.

“We are so proud of Jayson and Stephen,” said Ann Brill, dean of the journalism school. “The Hearst awards are highly competitive. These wins reflect Jayson and Stephen’s commitment to their craft and the outstanding education students receive at the KU school of journalism.”

Indiana University is in first place in the Intercollegiate Writing Competition. Final winners will be announced after the completion of the last two of six competitions. KU journalism students won the Intercollegiate Writing Competition, and $10,000 award that goes with it, in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

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, three broadcast news competitions and two multimedia competitions, with championship finals in all divisions. The program gives up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants annually and 110 undergraduate journalism programs at colleges and universities across the nation are eligible to participate.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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