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Society of Professional Journalists Honors W&L Students

“Rockbridge Report,” the multimedia newscast of Washington and Lee’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, last week swept the awards at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Mark of Excellence Awards for the organization’s Region 2.

That region comprises Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington. Honorees received award certificates the weekend of April 19 at the Region 2 Spring Conference in Norfolk. First-place winners will move on to the national Mark of Excellence competition among category winners from the 12 SPJ regions.

In addition to “Rockbridge Report,” two W&L seniors were recognized for stories they completed during summer internships.

Competing in the small-schools division for institutions with 5,000 or fewer students, “Rockbridge Report” was named Best Independent Online Student Publication.
In the Online In-Depth Reporting category, “Rockbridge Report” stories finished first through third in the contest.

The winners:

  • First Place: “Poor Diet: Not Enough Food and the Wrong Kind,” by Billy Crosby ’13, Tory Dickerson ’12, Killeen King ’12 and Jessica Strait ’12, journalism.wlu.edu/FoodinRockbridge/
  • Second Place: “The Chesapeake Bay: An Uncertain Future,” by Robert Grattan ’12, Kelsy McCraw ’12 and Tyler Tokarczyk ’12, chesapeake.academic.wlu.edu
  • Third Place: “Bad Choices: More Rockbridge Women Dealing Drugs,” by The Preliminary Hearing, The Preliminary Hearing website

In the Online New Reporting category, “Rockbridge Report” captured the top two spots:

  • First Place: “BV Budget Gap May Force Big Changes for Students, Teachers” by Kelly Mae Ross ’13
  • Second Place: “Foreclosures in Rockbridge” by Scott Harrison ’13 and Caitlin Doermer ’13

Meanwhile, W&L seniors Tilden Bowditch and Michael McGuire earned second-place honors for their work during their internships.

Tilden’s story, “Heat Had Couple ‘Living like Moles’,” in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was No. 2 in General Reporting, and Michael’s story, “Men Accused of Trafficking Stolen Medicine Lived Double Lives in South Florida,” in El Nuevo Herald, was No. 2 in feature writing.