The Pitt News staff wins Student Keystone Press Awards


(TPN File Photo)

By Mackenzie Rodrigues | News Editor

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association awarded The Pitt News eight prizes and three honorable mentions Wednesday for stories and visuals published in 2017.

The PNA’s 2018 Keystone Press Awards recognized “high school and college journalism that provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers” in Pennsylvania, according to its website. The Pitt News competed in the Division I bracket of the contest, which includes four-year colleges and universities with enrollment of 10,000 students or more.

Judges also awarded pieces from Temple University, Pennsylvania State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University. The outlets could submit stories published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017.

Current and former members of The Pitt News won four first-place awards, four second-place awards and three honorable mentions, in separate categories.

In the general news category, former online visual editor Stephen Caruso, staff writer Zoe Pawliczek and current Editor-in-Chief Ashwini Sivaganesh won second place for their collaboration on “No ban, no wall, no silence in Pittsburgh.” The story ran Jan. 30, 2017, and described protesters’ reactions to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration order.

Former news editor and current assistant layout editor Rachel Glasser, managing editor John Hamilton and Sivaganesh also secured an honorable mention in the general news category for “Pitt student’s death being investigated as homicide,” which reported on the death of late Pitt student Alina Sheykhet.

Assistant news editor Janine Faust won second place in the feature story category for “Gone Cold: Pitt students investigate unsolved crimes,” a look into a Pitt club that examines cold cases. She also received the first-place award in the personality profile category for “Ricky Smith: Welcome home.” This profile was part of The Pitt News’ 2017 Silhouette edition and details a Pitt security guard.

Former assistant news editor James Evan Bowen-Gaddy and former opinions editor Amber Montgomery also placed in the personality profile category. They received second place for “The Merante Family,” which explored the Italian family who opened the Groceria Merante in 1979.

In the column category, entries included a portfolio of three entries by the same author on any subject. Christian Snyder won first place for his columns “Infant circumcision disregards basic human rights,” “Greek life promotes dangerous, elitist culture” and “Analysis: How a 1999 NATO operation turned Russia against the West.” Snyder is currently the online visual editor but previously served as the assistant opinions editor.

Two staff illustrators received recognition in the cartoon/graphic illustration category, for which a portfolio of three pieces was submitted. Raka Sakar won first place for her illustrations for the stories “Celebrity deaths: Don’t blame it all on 2016,” “Talk about periods to end the stigma” and “Hate crime penalty protects a diverse society.” Garrett Aguilar earned an honorable mention for his basketball preview cover illustration and for his illustrations for “Volunteer, but not on Thanksgiving” and “Horror movie classics should be standard for scares.”

In the feature photo category, former visual editor Elaina Zachos won second place for her photo in the feature she wrote on Alejandro Morales, which explored his life as an orthopedic surgeon.

Former staff photographer Li Yi and Hamilton earned accolades in the news photo category. Hamilton won first place for his photos in the story “Sanders criticizes GOP health care bill at Pittsburgh rally,” and Yi earned an honorable mention for the photo accompanying the story “Max Kneis wins 2017 SGB presidential election.”

The PNA will honor award recipients in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at the America East Media Business and Technology Conference Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

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