The Pendulum, Elon student named SPJ national award winners

The Pendulum and junior Al Drago have been named Mark of Excellence national winners by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Pendulum, Elon University’s student newspaper, and junior journalism major Al Drago have both been named national winners in a competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Pendulum was honored in the Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper category for editions released April 24, 2013, Sept. 25, 2013, and Nov. 20, 2013. The competition awards overall excellence in the areas of reporting, writing, design, editorial leadership, and art and graphics.

“I’m so happy to be a part of the team that is bringing home this award,” said junior Jonathan Black, the current editor in chief of The Pendulum, who served as the paper’s managing editor in 2013. “We strive to produce the highest quality news for the campus community, and it is an incredible honor that the Society of Professional Journalists recognized our efforts. We look forward to sharing this award with the staff, the School of Communications and Elon University.”

Al Drago '15
Al Drago ’15[/caption]Drago, the photo editor of The Pendulum during spring 2013 and the current photo chief for “Elon Local News,” won in the Photo Illustration (Small School Division—defined as 9,999 students or fewer) for a Pendulum front-page illustration titled “Breaking the bank” that visually displayed Elon’s tuition increases during the last three years.

Additionally, Drago claimed two national finalist nods for Feature Photography (Small School Division) and Sports Photography (Small School Division). Former Pendulum editor in chief Rebecca Iannucci was named a national finalist in the General News Reporter (Small School Dvision) for her story “Putting passion into practice: Teach for America remains successful despite criticism.”

Both The Pendulum and Drago won first-place Mark of Excellence regional honors at the SPJ Region 2 conference March 29 in Washington, D.C. In all, work from the Pendulum and “Elon Local News” claimed 11 regional winner honors and 16 regional finalist honors at the Region 2 conference.

Twelve regions comprise SPJ, and all regional winners move on to the national round of judging, from which one national winner is selected.

“I am absolutely thrilled that The Pendulum has been recognized by SPJ on the national level,” said Iannucci, who was editor of The Pendulum last year. “2013 was a formative year for The Pendulum, as we solidified a new publication model and tackled controversial on-campus topics. I am so proud of our staff for their hard work and dedication, and I am so grateful to have been part of this organization throughout my college career.”

The national winners will be honored in a ceremony Sept. 5 at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 conference in Nashville, Tenn.

This is the fifth time Elon student media work has received national Mark of Excellence honors.

In 2013, and Claire Esparros ’13 were national winners in the Best Affiliated Website and Photo Illustration competitions, respectively. In 2010, Morgan Little ’10 was a national winner in the Online Opinion & Commentary competition, and Randy Gyllenhaal ’10 and Drake Springer ’10 were named national winners in the General News Reporting competition for work they did for then-Phoenix14News.

In 2009, Pam Richter ’09 was named a national finalist for Online Opinion & Commentary for columns she wrote for the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C.