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VCU students won 12 awards, including three first-place awards, at the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2011 Mark of Excellence competition for Region 2. The awards were presented Saturday at the Region 2 SPJ Spring Conference at Elon University in North Carolina.
Alyx Duckett and Matt Birch, recent graduates of the VCU School of Mass Communications, won first place in the Online Sports Reporting category for a multimedia package they produced for Capital News Service.
Chris Conway, the photography editor for the Commonwealth Times, won first place in Breaking News Photography. And Dan Nacu won first place in Editorial Cartooning for his illustrations for the opinion pages of the Commonwealth Times. (VCU students swept the Editorial Cartooning category: Hannah Swann placed second and Marleigh Culver third.)
VCU students also picked up awards in these categories:
Best Student Magazine — second place, Ink Magazine staff.
Best Independent Online Student Publication — second place, Rams Review staff
Online Sports Reporting — second place, Tommy Lopez of Rams Review
Best All-Around Television Newscast — third place, VCU InSight staff, broadcast on WCVW-TV.
Television Sports Reporting — third place, Tommy Lopez, for a segment he did for VCU InSight, broadcast on WCVW-TV.
Online News Reporting — third place, Matt Birch, for a report he wrote for Capital News Service about Virginia’s crackdown on synthetic marijuana.
In the regional competition, VCU students are competing against college journalists in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. This year, the Mark of Excellence contest received more than 4,000 entries across SPJ’s 12 regions.
The regional first-place winners advance to the national round of judging.
Student journalists could enter in the contest work published or aired during calendar year 2011.
The University of Maryland collected the most awards (22) at the regional competition; then came the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (17), followed by VCU.