Former IowaWatch reporter Lu Shen has won a Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Region 7 Mark of Excellence Award for a story she wrote about University of Iowa difficulty in 2013-14 helping Chinese students adjust to Iowa. The award was announced at a regional meeting March 30 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Shen, who joined CNN Beijing after graduating from the University of Iowa in December 2014 and also a former Daily Iowan reporter, won first place for online news reporting for her story, “Iowa Chinese students struggle to adjust, feel lack of support,” published by IowaWatch.org on June 24, 2014.
IowaWatch assistant editor Sarah Hadley and former IowaWatch reporters Katie Kuntz and Inma Mateos, both of the University of Iowa, and incoming IowaWatch summer intern Makayla Tendall and frequent IowaWatch contributor Danielle Ferguson of Iowa State University were finalists for the regional student journalism awards.
These awards were for the SPJ’s Region 7, which comprises Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Three students were cited — one for first and two others as finalists — in each of several categories.
Shen’s story is eligible for a national Mark of Excellence award, to be determined in late spring.
IowaWatch provides mentorship to college students in Iowa who want to be journalists and helps in getting their work published by newspapers and news web sites, and exposed through broadcast outlets. IowaWatch.org also publishes their work.
Kuntz, now a reporter at I-News Rocky Mountain PBS, and Hadley, who is to graduate from the University of Iowa in May, were finalists for on-line in-depth reporting. Kuntz was cited for her documentary, “Breaking The Cycle: Meth Addiction In The Heartland,” which aired on Iowa Public Television in January and served as the basis for a series of IowaWatch forums about meth addiction in Iowa.
Hadley was cited for her story, “Iowa’s Texting-While-Driving Ban Not Reducing Crashes, Hard To Enforce.”
Mateos was a finalist for on-line feature reporting for her multimedia story “Former Female Boxer Learns From Blow To The Brain.”
Ferguson, an Iowa State University junior, placed as a finalist for general news reporting at large student newspapers for a story, “ISU students may face above-average debt,” she wrote for the May 6, 2014, Iowa State Daily and an IowaWatch-led statewide reporting project involving student journalists from six Iowa campuses.
Tendall, also an Iowa State University junior and Iowa State Daily reporter, was a finalist for breaking news reporting at large students newspapers for an April 23, 2014, story, “Bitcoins at heart of server breach, ISU offers identity protection service.”
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-partisan journalistic program dedicated to producing high quality investigative journalism in Iowa while training journalism students on this work at a high, ethical level. Find out more at IowaWatch.org/.