Cronkite students win most top honors at national SPJ collegiate awards


ASU students won 10 national awards at the Society of Professional Journalists 2021 Mark of Excellence Journalism Awards. 

The Cronkite School and The State Press, ASU’s independent student news outlet, won the most first place awards, and most awards overall, taking top honors in seven categories while three students finished as finalists. 

“Our students continue to show a level of excellence and commitment to highlighting important stories on campus and within the community, allowing them to stand out among their peers from across the country,” said Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr. “I am once again proud of their accomplishments as they represent the Cronkite School at these prestigious national awards.”

Katelyn Keenehan won for Television General News Reporting for her Cronkite News story “Water Pipeline,” which details how the Pascua Yaqui Tribe will benefit from the U.S. Water Resource Development Act.  

David Montoya received an award for best Radio Feature for “Arizona’s RUF Nation Puts Indigenous Roots on Display Through Combat Athletics,” another Cronkite News story about a tribal-owned fight company that hosts combat shows at tribally-owned casinos in Arizona. 

Amiliano Fragoso won in the Sports Writing category for the Cronkite News story “Last chance Yuma: Thriving Arizona Western Soccer Program Bonds a Community,” which details the success of the men’s soccer team at Arizona Western College. 

The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism took home the In-Depth Reporting award for “Little Victims Everywhere,” an investigative series that examines child sexual abuse in indigenous communities. 

The State Press won the award for Best Independent Online Student Publication. Two State Press staff members won for their work as well.  

Reed Steiner received an award for Editorial Cartooning while Drake Presto won an award for Broadcast/Online Sports Videography for “Rush: Jackson He.” The package details ASU running back Jackson He’s historic touchdown at the 2020 Territorial Cup.  

The national finalists included a story about a group of drag queens performing amid COVID-19 protocols, the struggles of a local farmer after her water was shut off due to a drought, and a Phoenix parkour athlete who plays and commentates competitive tag.

Cronkite’s seven national first-place winners: 

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students:

“Little Victims Everywhere” 

The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism 

Television General News Reporting: 

“Water Pipeline,” Cronkite News

Katelyn Keenehan

Radio Feature:

“Arizona’s RUF Nation Puts Indigenous Roots on Display Through Combat Athletics,” Cronkite News

David Montoya

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students: 

“Last chance Yuma: Thriving Arizona Western Soccer Program Bonds a Community,” Cronkite News

Amiliano Fragoso

Broadcast/Online Sports Videography:

“Rush: Jackson He,” The State Press

Drake Presto

Editorial Cartooning: 

 Reed Steiner, The State Press

Best Independent Online Student Publication: 

The State Press

Cronkite’s three national finalists: 

Feature Photography (Large) 10,000+ Students: 

The Drag Show Must Go On: 4Some Revue Adjusts to Performing During Pandemic,” Cronkite News

Alina Nelson

Radio In-Depth Reporting: 

Pinal County Farmer Struggles to Grow Crops With Less Water,” Cronkite News

Emma VandenEinde

Radio Sports Reporting:

You’re it!’ Local Parkour Athlete Plays, Commentates Competitive Tag,” Cronkite News

Henry Greenstein

To see the list of all the winners and finalists of the 2021 Mark of Excellence Awards click here

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