Communications students, alumni win top spots in regional journalism competition

Elon University was recognized widely in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 2 Mark of Excellence Awards.

Elon News Network was honored with Best Television Newscast and Best Affiliated Website honors in Region 2 of the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards competition at the regional conference held April 6 in Ocean City, Maryland. Additionally, five students and two alumni won regional honors across several categories of the SPJ contest.

SPJ Region 2 Mark of Excellence Awards are given in newspaper, TV, radio and online categories. Awards are presented 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.

Below is a list of the regional winners:

The regional finalists were:

Leblanc’s story is the only one on the list that was not completed for Elon News Network. He conducted his reporting in January 2018 as a Pulitzer Center Student Fellow. His 1,200-word investigation on Belmarsh, London’s highest security prison, delved into its approach to deradicalization, including the use of forced containment. It was published by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Region 2 comprises North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware.

Last year, Diego Pineda ’19 was named a national SPJ winner for General News Reporting for his story on sexual assault. In 2017, Hays won a national SPJ award for Photo Illustration. In 2016, Leena Dahal ’17 (General Column Writing), Alex Simon ’17 (Sports Writing) and Al Drago ’15 (General News Photography and Sports Photography) won national honors.

National winners will be announced Sept. 6 in San Antonio.