KU News Release


Feb. 7, 2011
Contact: Jennifer Kinnard, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 785-864-7644

KU graduate wins first place for in-depth writing in national competition

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas graduate Brenna Daldorph won first place in the In-Depth Writing category of the prestigious William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program, often referred to as the “college Pulitzer Prizes.”

Daldorph’s first-place finish moved KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications from third to second place in the Hearst Intercollegiate Writing Competition.

Daldorph, a spring 2010 graduate, will receive a $2,600 scholarship for her winning article, “Living in Limbo,” which was published in the University Daily Kansan. The journalism school will receive a matching grant.

“We are so proud of Brenna’s accomplishments,” said Ann Brill, dean of the journalism school. “She also was the first student to receive the school’s Brill-Schmitz Service Journalism Award, which is awarded to a student who uses her journalism skills to build a stronger community. It shows what kind of person she is.”

Daldorph researched and wrote “Living in Limbo” as her project for the spring 2010 Depth Reporting class taught by Ted Frederickson, professor of journalism.

“Depth reporting was the most important class I took at the University of Kansas, in so many ways,” Daldorph said. “It helped me to develop as a journalist and also showed me that my work can have real impact.”

Frederickson praised her story for “providing human faces for an important issue — the plight of undocumented aliens raised here by families who brought them north as children to seek good schools and better lives. Raul and Javier [the subjects of the story], both brought here from Mexico, excelled in school and later at the University of Kansas.”

“Despite their success, as undocumented immigrants neither could get a driver’s license or the Social Security card required for a real job,” Frederickson said. “Both worried their lives as ‘Americans’ could end at any moment, which happened to Raul when he was deported only one year after his KU graduation for using someone else’s Social Security number to get a job.”

Daldorph is teaching English in La Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Her story, “Living in Limbo,” is on the University Daily Kansan website.

“The act of writing an in-depth story changed my life as well as, I’d like to think, the lives of others,” Daldorph said. “When you become that intimately entwined with people’s stories, you can’t help but be changed. Border issues in the United States seem far away for some University of Kansas students. With my story, I wanted to show that the current immigration situation in the United States plays out in every American community.”

KU is in second place in the Hearst Intercollegiate Writing Competition. Indiana University is first with the highest accumulated student points from the first three writing competitions of the academic year. KU is followed by Arizona State, Missouri and Penn State. Final winners will be announced after the completion of the last three of six competitions. KU journalism students won the national intercollegiate 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 awards 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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