University of Montana student journalists at the School of Journalism are winners and finalists in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards for large universities (10,000 or more students) in Region 10.

Student reporting and production was honored in three group projects led by University of Montana School of Journalism faculty.

  • The Meth Effect won for online in-depth reporting. The project examined the Montana people and programs affected by an influx of cases caused by methamphetamine use in Montana. It was led by School of Journalism faculty Jule Banville and Lee Banville.
  • UM to Fukushima: Finding Home After Fallout won for Online News Reporting. This project examined the challenges the people of northeastern Japan faced as government support ended for people evacuated after the Great Northeast Earthquake and related nuclear plant meltdown. It was a part of the annual Montana Journalism Abroad undertaking and was led by faculty members Nadia White and Denise Dowling, with staff support from Cameron Bucheit and in-country support from photojournalist and UM J-School alum Keiji Fujimoto (UM SOJ ‘08.)
  • UM News was a finalist for the Best All-Around Newscast. UM News is a weekly television and online news production created by reporting and production teams of students. It is overseen by faculty Kevin Tompkins and Ray Fanning.

Seven graduate students won individual awards or participated on winning teams. These include:

Nora Saks in radio news, features and with The Meth Effect team.

Olga Kreimer in non-fiction magazine article for a story on a proposed bottled water plant in the Flathead Valley. Her reporting was funded by the University of Montana School of Journalism’s Crown Reporting Project.

Zachariah Bryan, Katy Spence and Jana Wiegand as part of UM to Fukushima: Finding Home After Fallout.

Matt Blois, Beau Baker and Nora Saks as part of The Meth Effect.

Undergraduate winners include:

Lucy Tompkins in feature writing

Jackson Wagner in sports writing.

Liam Keshishian sports photography

Meri DeMarois TV feature reporting

DJ Stewart TV sports reporting

Undergraduate finalists include:

Rick Rowan in radio news.

Cal Reynolds in general column writing.

Tailyr Irvine in Breaking News Photography

Hope Freier in Breaking News Photography

Kate Cier in radio feature

Rosie Costain in radio feature

Mederios Whitworth-Babb in TV feature reporting

The Mark of Excellence Awards honors the best in collegiate journalism. First-place regional winners advance to the national competition. With nearly 7,500 members, The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Region 10 comprises Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

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