By Rachel Smith and Christy Berg
DENVER – BYU students received numerous awards at a Society of Professional Journalists Regional Conference on Saturday, Mar. 27, at the Denver Press Club.
BYU walked away with six first places, two second places and one third place award.
The staff of The Daily Universe and NewsNet accepted the Mark of Excellence Awards for the best all-around daily newspaper and online newspaper.
“I am proud of our staff and students who all work hard,” said Carrie Sheffield, vice president of SPJ. “I think it’s an accurate reflection.”
Other first place awards went to Othello Lennox Richards Jr. for television general news reporting, Jillian Doria for spot news reporting, Todd Hollingshead for sport column writing and Lara Cardon Updike for editorial writing.
Students entered several categories competing against 350 student journalists from universities and colleges in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.
SPJ is comprised of journalists from all media and specialties who strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.
Jillian Doria, SPJ president, majoring in print journalism, received awards for spot news reporting and an in-depth story. She said the balance of the different articles the students at The Daily Universe write is part of what makes BYU No 1.
“The fact that it’s a daily newspaper, we cover more then campus issues,” Doria said. “We cover city-wide issues and state issues.”
BYU has been nominated to host next year’s annual SPJ regional conference.
“It’s exciting,” Doria said. “Ever since I was a freshman I was like, why don’t we have it here? We have a great campus to host it. We have the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune. We have a lot of professional resources gathered here. It’s a way to show our program to the region. This is a private university, but we still have great journalists.”
The Daily Universe also won awards at the Utah Press Association winter convention in Moab Saturday, where they competed against professional and student newspapers.
Jim Kelly, general manager of NewsNet, said it is the first time BYU has participated in the Utah Press Association for several years and he is excited about the outcome.
“It’s really heartening,” Kelly said. “I really think we’re doing some good work.”
Awards BYU won include first place in special section, run-of-press ad and news photograph; second place for best front page, best run-of-press ad campaign and best in-house promotion; third place for best lifestyle page.
“We are very proud of our students,” said Robb Hicken, the managing director – print, of The Daily Universe. “They’ve really caught the vision of journalism and know how to write. These awards reflect the quality of students that BYU is producing.”