Student newspaper wins national award

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b2ap3_thumbnail_6-13-YJ-national-award.jpgWaynesburg University’s student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, recently won the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) 2016 Mark of Excellence Award for In-Depth Reporting, Small School Division. The award represents the newspaper’s first national-level win.

“Winning a national award for this series, which was the work of four students over the course of an entire calendar year, not only is incredible for these students and is validation of their incredible talent, but is also a reminder to the rest of The Yellow Jacket and other students in the department that hard work really does pay off,” said Dr. Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of communication and faculty advisor for The Yellow Jacket.

Waynesburg University was only one of two Pennsylvania universities to earn a national award in any of the newspaper categories.

The entry was a five-story series on the heroin epidemic written by Kimmi Baston, Anthony Conn, Teghan Simonton and Mattie Winowitch, and it was one of four first-place region awards received by The Yellow Jack in April, all of which were sent on to be judged nationally against the 11 other SPJ regions.

“Any time our students’ work is recognized is exciting, but to be judged the very best in the entire country is phenomenal,” said Szuminsky. “It’s hard to put too fine a point on this, but these four students wrote a series of articles that beat out every student journalist at every college and university with 10,000 students or fewer.”

All national winners and finalists will be recognized at the SPJ’s 2017 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Anaheim, California, in September.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

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