Bowling places first, Rausch finishes sixth in Hearst competitionThursday, February 16, 2017 - 2:15pm
by Savanah Baker
Chris Bowling, a junior journalism student, and Natasha Rausch, a senior journalism student, placed first and sixth respectively in the enterprise reporting competition of The Hearst Journalism Awards Program.
Bowling won first place out of 119 entries from 66 schools. He was awarded a $2,600 scholarship with a matching grant awarded to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Bowling won for his article titled “A Day in the Life (and Death) of Whiteclay.” He wrote the article in Professor Joe Starita’s depth reporting class, which focused on how alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Nebraska, affect the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
“Writing about Whiteclay and Pine Ridge has been nothing short of life changing,” Bowling said. “Before this project I didn’t have a deep understanding of native history, culture or present day issues. But after doing this story I’ve gained such a deep appreciation for the Lakota that it’s hard not to think once a day about their beautiful way of life as well as their devastating recent history and present circumstances.”
Bowling went on to say, “Winning a Hearst award is a huge honor for me and I think a reflection of the devotion of our entire class to this topic. But even more than that, I’m glad winning this competition has allowed the story to reach an even wider audience of readers.”
He qualifies to participate in the Hearst National Writing Championship, which will be held in May in San Francisco.
Rausch’s story was on Whiteclay, as well, titled “The Cost of a Can of Beer.” She received a certificate of merit but does not qualify to compete in the next round.
“I was incredibly excited when I found out I placed in the Hearst competition,” Rausch said. “It was not only a testament to the hard work I put into the story but also to the guidance and editing of my professors, who helped make my piece as in-depth and well written as possible.”
Bowling and Rausch both said that winning a Hearst award affirmed in them that the issues of Whiteclay impact many, not just those who worked on the assignments in class.
Starita said he is extremely proud of how hard his students worked to earn this recognition because it reflects well on them, the college and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
“There is a very simple fundamental lesson at play here, ‘Hard works begets excellence. Excellence begets awards,’” Starita said. “We are very fortunate to have students at this college who roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty and keep working and drilling deeper and deeper on these stories.”
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln placed second in the Intercollegiate Writing Competition based on accumulated student points from the second monthly competition.
According to The Hearst Journalism Awards Program website: “The program was founded in 1960 to provide support, encouragement, and assistance to journalism education at the college and university level. The program awards scholarships to students for outstanding performance in college-level journalism, with matching grants to the students’ schools.”