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SMU Journalism Students Honored at SPJ Region 8 Mark of Excellence Award Ceremony in Fort Worth

Meadows students won three awards, including first-place honors for online in-depth reporting and online news reporting, and will advance to national competition

From left to right: E'Lyn Taylor, Laura Murphy, Jordan Jennings and Natalie Posgate show off their SPJ Region 8 Mark of Excellence awards.

SMU journalism students won three awards, including two first-place certificates, at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 8 Mark of Excellence Award ceremonies in Fort Worth on Saturday. The first place winners, for online in-depth reporting and online news reporting, will now advance to the national round of judging. National winners will be announced in late April.

The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best collegiate journalism in the United States. SPJ Region 8 includes Oklahoma and Texas. This year, the contest received more than 4,000 entries across SPJ’s 12 regions.

The SMU student winners are as follows:

  • First Place, Online In-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/University -- "Light of Day Project: Campus Crime"
  • Staff of SMU Daily Mustang and The Daily Campus
  • Students collected and analyzed crime data to produce interactive maps that allow SMU students to explore crime around campus and in their neighborhoods.
  • Class project for Technology Reporting (Jake Batsell); published by the SMU Daily Mustang and The Daily Campus.

  • Third Place, In-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/University -- "Discrepancy Between Levels of Public Education Visible in Dallas"
  • Jordan Jennings, Amanda Presmyk, Laura Murphy, Essete Workneh
  • Four students went a step further than local media in their analysis of inequities in public education, examining differences in dollars spent per pupil in wealthy suburban versus inner-city schools.
  • Class project for Human Rights and the Journalist (Camille Kraeplin); published by The Daily Campus.

  • First Place, Online News Reporting-4 Year College/University -- "Locals Gather at Former President Bush's Home to Celebrate Bin Laden's Death"
  • Daily Mustang staff
  • When news broke that Osama bin Laden had been killed, SMU student reporters were the first journalists on the scene to capture a spontaneous rally outside the home of former president George W. Bush.
  • Published by the SMU Daily Mustang, not affiliated with a class.
  • Students involved were Aida Ahmed, Elizabeth Lowe, Stuart Palley, E'Lyn Taylor and Praveen Sathianathan.

For more information, contact Jake Batsell, assistant professor of journalism, at

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