Journalism major named national SPJ winner

Diego Pineda's reporting on sexual assault earned him accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Diego Pineda '19
Elon University journalism major Diego Pineda ’19 was named the national winner for General News Reporting in the 2017 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards competition.

Pineda won for his April 26, 2017, story “Sexual assault: It happens here, too,” an in-depth narrative that follows the journey of two student survivors. Pineda said the story took him almost an entire semester to report on and write.

“Though Elon does a great job addressing the issue of sexual assault, I feel this article deepened the conversation about it on campus and made people more aware of it,” Pineda said. “It’s not just a ‘he said, she said’ story with some police reports attached to it. Instead, it features the voices of survivors recounting their assaults and how they are still healing and dealing with society’s stigmas.”

Pineda, who has completed internships with ABC 11 Eyewitness News in Durham and Young Hollywood in Los Angeles, is the enterprise editor of Elon News Network. He has previously been honored for his work by Region 2 of the Society of Professional Journalists and the North Carolina College Media Association.

All national winners and finalists in the SPJ Mark of Excellence competition will be honored at the Excellence in Journalism Conference Sept. 27-29 in Baltimore.

Prior to Pineda’s win this year, Elon student work has earned 13 other national first-place awards since 2010. Previous winners include Stephanie Hays ’18 (Photo Illustration), Alex Simon ’17 (Sports Writing), Leena Dahal ’17 (General Column Writing) and Al Drago ’15 (General News Photography twice, Sports Photography, Feature Photography, General News Photography and Photo Illustration) and Michael Bodley ’16 (Breaking News Reporting).