The Pitt News staff wins Student Keystone Press Awards

By Rebecca Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association awarded The Pitt News top prizes and honorable mentions Wednesday for stories and visuals published in 2022.

The PNA’s Student 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 and Drexel University. The outlets could submit stories published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 21, 2022. Current and former members of The Pitt News won two first-place awards, two second-place awards and four honorable mentions.

Alexandra Ross, an assistant news editor, also won the Ralph Flamminio Memorial Award, which recognizes a Pennsylvania college journalist with “outstanding contributions to their newsroom” and someone who is “passionate about journalism and the First Amendment, and a champion for a better-informed citizenry.” In the past year, Ross chronicled maintenance and communication issues in Pitt’s isolation housing, first-year Pitt students living in Carlow University residence halls due to record enrollment and housing demand and student activism following reports of sexual assault on campus. 

Senior Staff Columnist India Krug topped the columns category with “Our community deserves better than the Allegheny County Jail,” “Be honest to students about abortion care options” and “What a post-Roe America demands of us.” Ebonee Rice-Nguyen, a senior staff columnist, got second place in the same category for her opinion columns “Pro-Life Representatives may be the reason thousands of students can’t afford Pitt,” “The mental health initiative at Pitt can’t end with the pandemic” and “First-year girls should be wary of the ‘Red Zone.’”

In the review category, Jacob Mraz, a former staff writer, placed first for his insight into the movie “Don’t Worry Darling,” and The Pitt News Editorial Board got an honorable mention in the editorial category for “The Amos Hall Starbucks unionization is a great step forward,” “Pitt needs to address rape culture on campus” and “We support the Pittsburgh Post‐Gazette strike.”

Clare Sheedy, a former assistant visual editor, and Punya Bhasin, the current news editor, won second place for “Through the binoculars: Pitt ‘birders’ find friends, passions and fun” in the photo story category. Former Sports Editor Dalton Coppola also received an honorable mention in the personality profile competition with “Alex Officer: Molding the next proud Pitt men.” 

Ross and James Paul, a staff writer, earned honorable mention for their ongoing news coverage of campus sexual violence, and former staff members Jon Moss and Neena Hagen got honorable mention in the public service/enterprise package for “’Concerning’: Anderson Bridge in Oakland plagued by ‘poor’ ratings for nearly a decade.”