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The Echo staffers recognized

Staffers qualify for SPJ two awards

By Hannah Stumpf | Echo

Five Taylor students, seniors Eric Andrews, Cassidy Grom, Becca Robb, Katherine (Yeager) Upton and junior Naomi Noyes have been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

On April 7, certificates were awarded at the Region 5 Conference. Region 5 includes Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. First-place winners, such as Andrews and Robb, will have their articles submitted to compete at the national Mark of Excellence Awards among other undergraduate reporters from the 12 SPJ regions.

There is a long process from the initial publication to competition. First, The Echo’s top editors choose which stories they deem best in various categories and submit those stories, photos and illustrations to SPJ. Second, finalists are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience. Further divisions are based on enrollment of both graduate and undergraduate students.

SPJ judges chose entries they felt were the best in student journalism. If no submitted works met their criteria for a given category, no entries were selected for the awards.

The Echo has won many accolades and awards for more than a decade. Such accomplishments help students build portfolios and earn recognition by people outside of the Taylor community for their efforts and achievements.

The SPJ has existed since 1909 to encourage high standards and ethical behavior in journalism. The mission of SPJ also strives to inspire talented student journalists to become dedicated professional journalists.

Taylor students from The Echo also qualified for a second SPJ award specifically for the state of Indiana. The SPJ awards banquet for this award will be held at the Indianapolis Marriott North on April 27. Finalists from Taylor University for the “Best in Indiana Journalism” contest award are:

Division: STUDENT / PRINT AND DIGITAL DIVISION

Category: Student Breaking News Reporting

Entrant(s): Eric Andrews and Katherine Yeager

Title: Police apprehend robbery suspects in Upland

Outlet: The Echo

Division: STUDENT / PRINT AND DIGITAL DIVISION

Category: Student Graphics or Illustration

Entrant(s): Becca Robb

Title: Trash talk

Outlet: The Echo

Division: STUDENT / PRINT AND DIGITAL DIVISION

Category: Student Graphics or Illustration

Entrant(s): Naomi Noyes

Title: Taylor presidential inauguration special edition

Outlet: The Echo

“I am proud of the hard work of each and every member of The Echo staff,” said Alan Blanchard, The Echo’s faculty adviser and associate professor of journalism. “While doing excellent journalism is the primary goal of our student journalists, it is nice when student journalists’ work is recognized in state, regional and national contests.”

Grom is a former Co-Editor in Chief of The Echo and is a freelance reporter for the Chronicle-Tribune in Marion, Indiana. She plans to pursue professional journalism after graduation with The Star-Ledger and www.nj.com.

Grom won third place in the Region 5 Mark of Excellence for her story, “After Texas church shooting, Southern Baptists to meet about security,” in the Breaking News Reporting (Small) 1–9,999 Students category.

“Placing in the SPJ competition is always an honor,” Grom said. “I wrote that story as an intern at the New York Daily News; I was one of the few in the newsroom who was willing and able to write stories covering the intersection of religion and politics in the wake of one of America’s largest mass shootings. The Christian sub-culture often shies away from the media, but now more than ever, our nation needs journalists who understand religion and are willing to engage in the public dialogue.”

Robb is also a former Co-Editor in Chief of The Echo. She hopes to pursue her dream of documentary filmmaking after graduation.

Robb won second in the In-Depth Reporting (Small) 1–9,999 Students category with her story, Trash talk and first in Feature Writing (Small) 1–9,999 Students for her story,  Missing wallet returned 20 years later.

“Working with The Echo has been one of the most formative and rewarding experiences I’ve had at Taylor,” Robb said. “Even when we had tough weeks, I was so grateful for the incredible team that supported me and helped me grow.”

The recognized students won the following SPJ Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards:

Breaking News Reporting (Small) 1–9,999 Students

Finalist (2nd place): Police apprehend robbery suspects in Upland — by Eric Andrews and Katherine Yeager, Taylor University

Finalist (3rd place): After Texas church shooting, Southern Baptists to meet about security — by Cassidy Grom, Taylor University

General News Reporting (Small) 1–9,999 Students

Winner: Hey, Chapman! — by Eric Andrews, Taylor University

In-Depth Reporting (Small) 1–9,999 Students

Finalist (2nd place): Trash talk — by Becca Robb, Taylor University

Feature Writing (Small) 1–9,999 Students

Winner: Missing wallet returned 20 years later — by Becca Robb, Taylor University

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