SPJ honors The Hatchet with 14 regional awards

The Hatchet took home more newspaper and online honors than any other student publication in the region at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards last month.

The Mark of Excellence Awards recognizes the best in collegiate print, radio, television and online journalism. Anyone enrolled in a college or university working toward a degree is eligible to apply.

In competition with other student publications in Delaware, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia, The Hatchet won first place in the categories of sports writing, online feature reporting, online sports reporting and column writing. The Hatchet won second place for best Web site, breaking news reporting and breaking news photography, and took home seven third place awards.

Brian H. Eckhart, the judging coordinator for the region, described the competition as fierce.

“Generally speaking, entries must be excellent examples of journalism even to be considered for an award,” Eckhart said. “Sometimes there are categories whose entries do not receive any awards because the judges feel they are not truly excellent work.”

The submitted works are evaluated by a panel of judges with substantial experience and professional standing in their field.

Andrew Alberg, who won first place in the sports writing category for his piece “Life Coach,” was excited to hear that he won and is proud to be associated with the paper.

“I think there isn’t the same level of professionalism at other college papers,” Alberg said. “That really is what makes us stand apart.”

Editor in Chief Eric Roper said he was proud of the staff’s accomplishments.

“These awards give us a chance to step back and really acknowledge individuals on our staff for their incredible work,” Roper said. “Sometimes people go above and beyond what was asked of them, and I’m glad SPJ recognizes that.”

Hatchet Editor in Chief-elect Alex Byers said The Hatchet’s quality work in a variety of areas, both in print and online, is likely what stood out to the judges.

“The Hatchet covers a really wide range of stories,” Byers said. “I think the judges particularly like the fact that we excelled both in our feature and more creative pieces, while still having top-notch breaking news coverage as well.”

Web Director Andrew Nacin said he is pleased The Hatchet is recognized as one of the leaders in online journalism in college media.

“SPJ doesn’t even have categories applicable to some of the interactive media we did this year, because so few college newspapers utilize new media,” Nacin said.

As for next year, Byers said he aims to continue the strong news coverage and expand the Web presence even further.

“If we can make sure our Web content grows and diversifies, we’ll stay at the top of collegiate online journalism,” Byers said.

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