An audio story about students rallying for a higher minimum wage. A long-form feature story on a local skateboarding legend. A class project on Milwaukee-area Holocaust survivors, and a two-student multimedia video and print package on one of them. A student’s contextual piece on campus crime numbers.
These are the five diverse stories by UW-Milwaukee student journalists reporting for Media Milwaukee that won first-place awards Friday in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence awards contest in Minnesota. The student first-place regional award winners now go on to compete in the national competition.
Members of the Journalism Club at UWM and some award winners were on hand to accept the plaques. SPJ’s Region 6 includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. UW-Milwaukee journalists competed with UW-Madison, Marquette and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities students for honors. Winners of the regional contest will go on to the national competition. The SPJ honors come on the heels of 9 Media Milwaukee awards in the most recent Milwaukee Press Club contest and 10 in the Wisconsin College Media Association contest. Altogether, Media Milwaukee student journalists have won 29 awards since fall.
Said student Dan Zielinski, who won four regional awards, including two first place (three for Media Milwaukee work, including on investigative teams, and one for his sports blog): “It was an incredible experience to write a piece about a Holocaust victim. Nate Taffel’s experience is powerful, and I tried to convey that in my story. I didn’t write this piece to win awards, but to share his story that needs to be heard by everyone. It has been a blessing to now be recognized for my work, and I’m excited to see how it does in the national competition.”
The specific Media Milwaukee first-place winners:
- Dan Zielinski and Amanda Porter, story on Milwaukee Holocaust survivor, Nate Taffel. Porter contributed a video story to the project, and Zielinski wrote the print piece. (Zielinski also won a second-place award for a sports story on his personal blog, Third Man In.)
- Jaimie Anderson, UW-Milwaukee students rally for higher minimum wage audio story
- Paul Bertling, UW-Milwaukee area crime stats show overall drop since 2007
- Dylan Deprey, Into the Grime
- On humanity’s edge – JAMS 500 Advanced Reporting class series on Holocaust survivors. The specific students whose work was honored are: Jonathan Powell, Amanda Porter, Dan Zielinski, Shana Wilson, Dylan Deprey, Tyler Nelson, Mary Jo Contino, Bo Bayerl, William Bott, Shannon Kirsch, Stevan Stojanovic, Amanda Melkonian, Amber Bak, Sarah DeGeorge, Ellie Malone, Mike Holloway, Graham Kilmer.
The stories were created in core journalism curriculum classes JAMS 204, JAMS 320, and JAMS 500 in the Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies Department at UW-Milwaukee.
According to SPJ, “National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at Excellence in Journalism 2016 (EIJ16), Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans.”
In addition, SPJ says, “Entries are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience. The awards honor the best in student journalism.”
Other Media Milwaukee student journalists were regional finalists. Those were:
- Jakayla Phillips, After her father’s murder, a little girl grows up audio story
- Ean Holtz, Students protest immigration policies at Milwaukee GOP debate audio story
- Faces not forgotten – Jams 320 class series on Vietnam photos. The students whose stories were part of the project were: Maggie Wuesthoff, Mary Jo Contino, Rachel Maidl, Gabrielle Barriere, Jordyn Noennig, Mike Holloway, Shana Wilson, Tyler Nelson, Jonathan Powell, Molly Bryant, Amber Bak, Zach Mathe, Dylan Deprey, Bo Bayerl, Dan Zielinski, Kenan Goyette, Ellie Malone, Amanda Porter, Krista Flentje.
- Montel Allen, Faces of UWM, The pianist
- Stevan Stojkovic, open records award
- Best independent online student publication – Media Milwaukee