Region 7 represents at Mark of Excellence Awards

SPJ's Mark of Excellence AwardsMissouri had three honorees and the states of Iowa and Nebraska had one each to represent Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri) in the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 national Mark of Excellence Awards, announced Tuesday.

Allison Pohle of the University of Missouri-Columbia, writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was a finalist in the feature-writing category among large schools for her work, “Kirkwood Father Tries to Find Meaning in Daughter’s Death;” the staff of at the Missouri School of Journalism was a finalist in the online feature reporting category for “Matters of Faith;” and Vox Magazine’s iPad app was chosen best digital-only student publication.

Suhaib Tawil of the Iowa State Daily at Iowa State University was a finalist in the general news photography category among large schools for “ROTC Training During Spring 2013.”

Jenna Jaynes of the Time-Warner Educational Access Channel and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was a finalist in television feature reporting for “Nebraska’s First Male Color Guard Member Lives His Dream.”

The national awards recognize exceptional collegiate journalism in all 12 of SPJ’s regions over the previous calendar year and are chosen from the first-place winners at the regional level. This time, instead of first-, second-, and third-place awards, SPJ named a winner and two finalists for each category.

Not all categories were mentioned, however. If the judges determined that no entries were excellent by SPJ’s standards, the category was left blank. All judges have at least three years’ worth of professional experience in their respective fields. They are not permitted to review entries from their own regions.

(Complete disclosure: I have been an MOE judge the past three years, first as president of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro Chapter and now as Region 7 director.)

School divisions were based on cumulative undergraduate and graduate enrollment, with large schools having a minimum of 10,000 registered students. For some categories, school size was not a factor.

Winners in each category will be recognized during the Student Union event at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Sept. 4-6. A full list of MOE Award recipients is available on SPJ’s website.

Register now for Excellence in Journalism

EIJ 2013 logoYour time is running out.

In four days, early registration ends for Excellence in Journalism 2013, the mother of all journalism conferences.

This year’s gathering is a co-production of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists — the first time all three groups have teamed up this way.

Just signing up before Thursday, July 25, warrants half-price registration at the door, which is at the Anaheim Marriott, a short transit ride from Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure. To sweeten the deal, Disney Parks is offering attendees big discounts on both attractions.

But if you think Mickey Mouse is simply goofy, then consider this: EIJ 2013 features special guests such as Kai Ryssdal of American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” Chris Wallace of Fox News, and Belva Davis, a legend in San Francisco media and one of the nation’s first African American TV news anchors. There will be special sessions on audio storytelling, personal branding, editing, leadership and media entrepreneurship. There will be book signings, job-hunting advice, and recognition of student journalism achievement.

If nothing else, I’ll be there. And I invite you to join me for coffee or lunch in discussing the future of journalism and how you can play a big role in it.

The conference will be Aug. 24-26, and the Anaheim Marriott still has rooms available. Sign up now to take advantage of the discounts, and I’ll see you there.