Miami students win record-number 26 awards at regional SPJ conference


OXFORD — Miami University students were recognized on Saturday, April 13, for their 2023 work in journalism, winning a record number of 26 awards at the Society of Professional Journalism regional competition.

Pearl Zajbel of College Corner, was among those honored in the Sports Photography category for her photo in the Oxford Observer titled “Talawanda Track and Field sprints toward SWOC tournament,” taken for a sports journalism class taught by Joe Sampson.

Fourteen were first-place winners in the annual regional Mark of Excellence (MOE) competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, and 12 were MOE finalists.

“Our students are doing important, thoughtful reporting on the communities they cover during a time of heightened mistrust of news media,” said Rosemary Pennington, coordinator of journalism at Miami University. “The journalism faculty is proud of all they have accomplished and we are thrilled their work has been recognized in this way by SPJ.”

Picking up first-place honors were:

Corbin Gwaltney Award for Best All-Around Student Newspaper (Large 10,000+) — The Miami Student led by editor Sean Scott.

Best Use of Multimedia — Ryann Beaschler on was part of a multimedia journalism class taught by Rosemary Pennington.

Breaking New Reporting — a story by Sean Scott and Alice Momany of The Miami Student about the OPD use of force investigation.

Campus Reporting — for stories by Sean Scott of The Miami Student about cultural diversity in Miami performing groups and other columns.

Cultural Criticism — Lily Wahl of The Miami Student for her literary reviews.

Data Visualization — Sean Scott and Luke Macy of The Miami Student for maps of Butler County turnout for issues 1 and 2.

Editorial/Opinion Writing — Ava Kalina of The Miami Student for “Let’s Talk about Methane.”

Feature Writing (Large 10,000+) — Lily Wahl and Taylor Stumbaugh of The Miami Student for “Miami . Merged.”

Food/Restaurant Journalism — Sean Scott and Devin Ankeney of The Miami Student for “We can cook.”

General News Reporting (Large 10,000+) — Morgan Schneider of Oxford Stories on for a story she did for the multimedia journalism course taught by Rosemary Pennington titled “In East Palestine, life inches towards normal.”

Photo Essay/Slideshow — Sarah Frosch of The Miami Student for her photographs of the Walter E. Havighurst special collections.

Science/Environment/Climate Reporting — Austin Smith of The Miami Student for “Saving balloons worth of money with helium reclamation.”

Sports Writing (Large 10,000+) — Jack Schmelzinger of The Miami Student for “Ryland Zaborowski doesn’t let autism stop him from crushing baseballs.”

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