Two communications students win national Society of Professional Journalists awards

Clare Grant ’23 and Abby Gibbs ’21 were honored by the journalism organization for their photography and writing.

Abby Gibbs ’21, left, and Clare Grant ’23

Two Elon University students were named national winners in two categories of the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards competition.

Junior Abby Gibbs, a journalism and political science double major, was honored in General News Reporting for her story about Elon’s decision to join the Common Application. The multimedia story combines personal anecdotes from prospective students and analysis from Elon Admissions officers to reveal the motivations behind the university’s move to the Common App.

“I’m so honored to have been selected as the SPJ national winner for general reporting in the small school category,” Gibbs said. “But I’m most proud of the story I got to tell and the people who helped me tell it. Whether big or small, the stories we tell make a difference.”

Gibbs has worked for Elon News Network since she arrived on campus and has served as the organization’s photo editor in the past. She has also interned with The Winchester (Va.) Star and freelanced for the Burlington Times-News.

First-year cinema and television arts major Clare Grant won for Feature Photography for a photo of two dancers performing as part of the Gaspard and Dancers show “L’esprit,” which came to Elon in September.

“I was able to join ENN almost as soon as I stepped onto campus and immediately started taking photos,” Grant said. “This was one of, if not the first assignment I took, and one of my favorites looking back. This award means so much to me because growing up, I always wanted to be able to share my photos with a wider audience. To have this opportunity to be able to do just that is so surreal to me.”

In addition to these national wins, the ENN staff, one student and one alumnus were named national finalists. The Pendulum finished in the top three nationally for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper. The other finalists were senior Anton Delgado, a journalism and international studies double major, who was recognized in the Immersion Journalism category for his story “Surviving a school shooting,” and Oliver Fischer ’19, a journalism major, who placed in Online Feature Reporting for his story “Tail of the Dragon attracts thrill-seekers, motoring enthusiasts.”

SPJ hopes to honor all national winners and finalists in the SPJ Mark of Excellence competition at the Excellence in Journalism Conference Sept. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.

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Prior to this year’s wins, Elon student work has earned 18 other national first-place awards since 2010. Last year’s winners include Emmanuel Morgan ’19 and Alex Hager ’19 (General News Reporting), Delgado (Breaking News Photography) and Jessica Rapfogel ’19 (Sports Photography).