During the conference, the Society of Professional Journalists awarded its 2013 Mark of Excellence Awards to honorees in Region 11, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best in collegiate journalism from the calendar year.
"University of Arizona students do amazing journalism and deserve this credit for their hard work," said David Cuillier, director of the UA School of Journalism and national president of the Society of Professional Journalists. "When I attended the awards banquet, it made me proud to see Wildcats noticed by professional journalists from throughout the region."
Dan Desrochers, a senior who is majoring in journalism and chemistry, won first prize in the General Column Writing category and Zack Rosenblatt, who graduated from the UA in May, placed first in the Sports Column Writing category. Both were recognized for their work in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, which was deemed "outstanding" by judges based on a set of criteria, including adherence to high journalistic standards and ingenuity.
As first-place winners, Desrochers and Rosenblatt will qualify to move on to the national Mark of Excellence award competition among category winners from each of the Society of Professional Journalists' 12 regions. National award winners will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism ceremony Sept. 4-6 in Nashville, Tenn.
The Arizona Daily Wildcat, a completely student-run newspaper, was also a finalist for a big award – Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper. The newspaper prints 6,500 copies daily and gets more than 3 million hits a year online.
Other UA journalism student finalists for the SPJ awards included:
- Elizabeth Eaton, a sophomore, in the General Column Writing category
- Alison Dorf, a senior also majoring in history, in the General News Reporting (Large) category for her Arizona Daily Wildcat article "Sexual assault: What it means to the UA campus"
- Mariana Dale, a senior also majoring in Spanish, in the Radio News Reporting category for her Arizona Public Media report "S. AZ Ranchers Face Drought Without Help"
- Yoohyun Jung, a senior also majoring in Japanese, in the Radio In-depth Reporting category for her Arizona Public Media report "Coping with Climate Change in Tucson"
- Kenzie Fowler, who graduated from the UA in December, in the Television General News Reporting category for her "Arizona Cat's Eye" student news show segment "Future of Cotton Farming in Marana"
In addition to being recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists as award finalists, Jung and Dale were among 24 students nationwide selected to take part in the annual New York Times Student Journalism Institute to be held in May 18-June 1 at Dillard University. Jung will work as a photographer and Dale as a multimedia journalist.
During the program, students serve as working journalists supervised by reporters and editors from The New York Times. Students cover actual events in the cities in which the institute is held. Opportunities for students include reporting, copy editing, photography, Web production, newspaper page design, video journalism and interactive news.
Twenty-nine UA students have been selected for the program since the UA began partnering with The New York Times to offer the institute in 2008.
Other journalism school students are taking advantage of exciting reporting opportunities as well, including:
- Sam McNeil, a graduate student in both the UA School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and international journalism at the UA School of Journalism, won an Overseas Press Club Foundation Fellowship. The $3,000 grant will fund an internship in the Cairo bureau of The Associated Press later this year. McNeil was among 14 aspiring foreign correspondents selected by a panel of leading journalists from a pool of 175 applicants from 65 different colleges and universities.
- Amer Taleb, a senior majoring in journalism and Arabic, is headed to Japan in May as one of nine winners from across the country for the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition. He'll be in Japan for a little over a week to study journalism in Asian culture and to visit local media organizations and cultural and historical landmarks.