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Elon School of Communications hosts regional journalism conference

The Society of Professional Journalists Region 2 gathering featured the Mark of Excellence Awards results, of which several Elon students were winners.

Elon University’s School of Communications and its student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted the SPJ Region 2 conference April 7-8 in Dwight C. Schar Hall. The conference featured an opening panel titled “Fake News, Media Literacy & Fact Checking,” several breakout sessions focused on a wide array of journalism topics, and a keynote address from Assistant Professor of Communications Ahmed Fadaam.

Several students from the Elon News Network were honored with SPJ Region 2 Mark of Excellence Awards April 8 at Elon University.

The gathering also honored winners and finalists in the regional Mark of Excellence Awards competition. Submissions were entered from North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C., all of which comprise SPJ’s Region 2. Among the winners were “Elon Local News” for Best All-Around Student Newscast and nine Elon students in individual categories.

Below is the full list of Elon winners and finalists:

This year’s conference was organized by Colin Donohue, director of student media and instructor in the School of Communications, and Anthony Hatcher, associate professor of communications. Students Jackie Pascale ’18, Hamzik, Pauroso, Simon, Tracy, Hays, Rachel Ellis ’19 and Avik Bhargave ’19 also helped with conference planning. (View the agenda.)

In addition to Fadaam’s keynote address, Hatcher moderated the opening panel, Communications Dean Paul Parsons offered the official Elon welcome, and Jonathan Jones, instructor in communications and director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, co-led a session titled “Requesting Public Records: Tips and Issues.”

This is the second time the SPJ Region 2 conference has come to Elon. The first time was in 2012, when Elon also hosted.


SPJ Region 2 Mark of Excellence Awards are given in newspaper, TV, radio and online categories. Awards are given only to those who place in the top three in the region. Regional winners move on to the national competition, at which time they will compete with 11 other first-place regional winners.

Last year, SPJ named alumnus Al Drago ’15 the national winner in the General News Photography (Small) and Sports Photography competitions (Small). Also earning national wins were Simon for Sports Writing and Leena Dahal ’17 for General Column Writing.

Colin Donohue,
4/8/2017 3:55 PM