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Collegiate reporting duo nab Novak Award
Misbehaving college president and police chief provide award-winning fodder for Colorado State University journalists
By: The Fund for American Studies
CSU Seniors J. David McSwane and Aaron Hedge exposed the events leading up to the school’s president, Larry Penley, and former police chief, Dexter Yarbrough, resigning from their positions. The young reporters’ submission was selected out of 240 entries from college journalists around the nation, including from such schools as Yale, Duke, Penn State and Northwestern.
According to one of the judges for the award McSwane and Hedge consistently held high-profile university officials accountable for their questionable conduct in stories that are meticulously documented, triple-checked and supplemented with audio and documents.
CSU Police Chief Yarbrough resigned after allegations of sexual harassment, falsifying police reports, and promoting potentially illegal police behavior surfaced. CSU President Penley resigned amidst scrutiny of his administration’
Second for the Novak Award went to James Kindle from the Cronkite Zine, Arizona State University’s online magazine, for his series that explored the lives of immigrants in South Africa. The University of Georgia’s Amanda Woodruff earned third place for uncovering the legal “foibles and fumbles” of the UGA Administration, including uncovering the details of a U.S. Civil Court case involving sexual harassment allegations against the dean of the journalism school.
The Robert Novak Collegiate Journalsim Award recognizes excellence in collegiate reporting in which the student's work demonstrates an understanding of the basic ideas that support a free society. Renamed last year for the veteran newsman and former award judge, this award is one of three sponsored by the Institute on Political Journalism, the collegiate journalism program of The Fund for American Studies.
McSwane and Hedge will fly to Washington D.C. to receive the Novak Award along with a $5,000 cash prize during a ceremony on June 24 at the National Press Club. They will join recipients of professional journalism awards, including journalists from The Wall Street Journal.
"When it comes to the nuts and bolts of putting together a story and adhering to journalistic principles, they did that and more," said Joseph Starrs, director of Institute on Political Journalism. He lauded their work as “on par” with the best professional journalists in the world.
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About The Institute on Political Journalism
The Institute on Political Journalism is sponsored by The Fund for American Studies a Washington, D.C. educational nonprofit. IPJ is one of five internship programs for college students administered in partnership with Georgetown University. For more information, visit www.dcinternships.org/