Three students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications have won 2017 Hearst National Championships. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program announced the winners June 1, during the final awards ceremony in San Francisco.
Winners from the CoJMC include senior journalism student Calla Kessler, who won first place in the photojournalism category, and junior journalism and political science student Lauren Brown-Hulme, who won second place in the writing category. Kessler received a $5,000 scholarship and Brown-Hulme received a $4,000 scholarship. Chris Bowling, a senior journalism student, was a finalist in the writing category and received a $1,500 scholarship.
Professor Joe Starita and associate professor Bruce Throson, who worked with the students, accompanied them to the championship.
“Students learn, as they increase their skills, their talents start to emerge,” Throson said. “They learn that from failure comes success. Hearst has been a great platform for students to not only help launch their careers but to also help pay for their education.”
The Hearst National Championships are the culmination of the 2016-2017 Journalism Awards Program, which held 14 monthly competitions garnering 1,267 entries in writing, photojournalism, radio, television and multimedia categories. Finalists from the monthly competitions participated in the Hearst Championships in San Francisco from May 29 – June 1. Participates demonstrated their writing, photography, radio, television and multimedia skills through on-the-spot assignments. Their work was judged by media professionals to relieve the winners.
The Hearst Championships gives students a unique opportunity and allows them to preform under pressure. Students must learn how to handle an enormous amount to stress and anxiety while remaining focused.
“They’re like a major league baseball player who has to simultaneously relax yet remain completely focused on a 98 mph fastball hurtling towards him,” Starita said. “It’s a tremendous skill to acquire and these students saw a lot of fastballs in San Francisco. And so they learned how to relax and stay focused, how to keep taking good cuts, to keep making contact – and then several of them parked a few in the upper deck. Hitting a home run at Hearst is a serious accomplishment.”
Brown-Hulme also received Article of the Year and a $1,000 award for “Shepherd of the Streets,” which is part of the Wounds of Whiteclay project. The project was part of a CoJMC depth reporting class, which examined the issues surrounding Whiteclay, Nebraska.
“It wasn’t just a win for the students who were there – it was a win for everyone in this class,” Starita said. “They were a team throughout, looking after one another, helping one another – so when a couple of them won, they all won. That was the most satisfying aspect personally: Like traditional Native culture itself, this was a class that continually celebrated the ‘We’ - and not the ‘I.’ As a professor, it’s hard to ask for anything more.”