Elon’s SPJ student chapter named Region 2 chapter of the year

The Society of Professional Journalists named Elon University’s student chapter the SPJ Region 2 chapter of the year. Elon’s organization was one of 10 nationwide that were also recognized.

According to a release from SPJ, “(e)ach of SPJ’s 12 Regional Directors selects one chapter in his or her region that has performed outstanding service to the Society, their campus and the journalism profession.” SPJ’s Region 2 comprises Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina. DePaul University’s student chapter was named the Outstanding Campus Chapter of the Year.

Elon’s chapter was recognized for several initiatives it promoted and programmed during the 2010-11 academic year, including:

  • Students helped the Williams High School newspaper, The Barker, improve its design through a workshop for 10 members of the high school paper. Communications associate professor Harlen Makemson led the session.
  • The SPJ chapter co-sponsored the Religion and Media conference in the spring, and several students participated in the conference, as well.
  • Students toured the Burlington Times-News and WFMY News Channel 2 newsrooms, where several Elon alumni work both on the air and behind the scenes.

In addition, Elon University and the School of Communications will host the SPJ Region 2 conference this spring.

Last year, junior Marlena Chertock served as president of the organization. Chertock, who transferred to the University of Maryland, is working toward a journalism degree. This year, junior Rachel Southmayd will act as president, senior Anna Johnson will serve as a vice president, and junior Madelyn Smith will be both treasurer and secretary. All three are journalism majors.

“I’m really proud of the journalists who make up the Elon SPJ chapter,” said SPJ adviser Anthony Hatcher, an associate professor of communications. “The Pendulum staff and the other SPJ members deserve this award, as does past president Marlena Chertok for her leadership.”

In recent years, both the Pendulum and Phoenix14News have been recognized with regional and national awards for their work. Among some of the accolades:

  • 2011 Communications graduate Robert Wohner placed first in 2010 in the Region 2 General Column Writing category for columns he wrote for the Pendulum.
  • Phoenix14News placed first in 2009 in the Region 2 Best All-Around Newscast category.
  • 2010 Communications graduates Drake Springer and Randy Gyllenhaal of Phoenix14News placed first in 2009 in the national competition of the Television General News Reporting category. They also placed first in the Region 2 competition.
  • 2010 Communications graduate Morgan Little of the Pendulum placed first in 2009 in the national competition of the Online Opinion & Commentary category. He also placed first in the Region 2 competition.
  • 2010 graduate Ashley Barnas, 2011 graduate Pam Richter and senior Sam Calvert placed first in 2009 in the Region 2 Online Sports Reporting category.
  • 2010 graduates David Wells and Caroline Matthews placed first in 2009 in the Region 2 Photo Illustration category.
  • Richter was named a national finalist in 2008 in the Online Opinion & Commentary competition for columns she wrote for the Greensboro News & Record.
  • The Pendulum placed first in 2008 in the Region 2 Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper category.