WKU journalism and broadcasting program receives national awards

The Hearst Journalism Award is an intercollegiate competition for journalism and broadcasting students. (Photo by Johnathan Adams)

Rebekah Alvey

WKU’s School of Journalism and Broadcasting was recognized this week by the 2016-2017 Hearst Journalism Awards Program as the third overall intercollegiate winner.

In addition to the overall ranking, WKU received first place in both photojournalism and multimedia. WKU has won the photojournalism competition 23 out of 28 years and has won the multimedia competition all six years it has been available.

Three students will be competing for individual national championships starting May 29 through June 2 in San Francisco. Recent graduate Alyse Young was named a multimedia finalist for her second year.

Young said she is excited to go back and reconnect with people she met last year and from other conferences. Young said that Hearst has played a significant role in her life because it affirmed that she was headed in the right direction.  

Senior Harrison Hill and sophomore Gabriel Scarlett were selected as finalists for photojournalism. Hill said he is looking forward to pushing himself in the final competition.

While at the individual national championships, finalists will create a final piece on an assigned topic within a limited time frame. Hill said he has never been to San Francisco before and is excited to learn about the city and meet members of the community through the competition.

Submissions for the Hearst awards are selected from work students have done throughout the year. Young said her story was originally going to be used for her capstone and decided to use it for Hearst after faculty members approached her.

“We’re teaching students how to take good pictures; how to take pictures with feeling, emotion, meaning and stories that have reason,” Tim Broekema, professor of journalism and broadcasting, said. “Out of that comes entries that seem to do well in Hearst.”

Through the individual national championship, the top three students receive a scholarship between $3000 to $5000 while all finalists receive a $1500 scholarship. Broekema said WKU has earned almost a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships for students and the program.

Broekema said the longevity of recognition WKU has had with the Hearst awards can be appealing for prospective students. Broekema said that WKU’s record with Hearst awards shows that the journalism and broadcasting program has depth and pushes everyone to their best abilities.

Young said that the Hearst award serves an important purpose because it celebrates good journalism at a young age which inspires good journalism in their careers. Young said Hearst is a great way to explore different mediums and connect with people in the journalism community.

“I’ve already connected with people I can see myself working with,” Young said.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].