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Towerlight recognized by Society of Professional Journalists

25 April 2013 No Comments

The Society of Professional Journalists, a national organization promoting the values of outstanding journalism, honored Towerlight reporters, photographers and graphic designers at its regional conference Saturday, April 20.

The Towerlight staff earned six Mark of Exellence Awards in Region 2, which encompasses Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The MOE awards acknowledge exceptional displays of student journalism.

Lauren Slavin, editor-in-chief for the 2011-2012 academic year, earned first place in the feature writing category for her story on the contemporary “American Dream.”

Interviews included Vice President Joe Biden and students struggling to achieve career aspirations in an increasingly competitive job market.

Slavin’s series about the deaths of two Towson students in the same night also placed third in the breaking news category.

Photo Editor Matthew Hazlett placed second in feature photo category for his photos of the vigil held for the two students.

Hazlett called the assignment “a learning experience.”

“I had to gauge my role as press when dealing with important, emotional event that impacted a lot of people, and what would be a respectful, productive way of covering it,” he said.

Former Associate Art Director Shawnte Callahan and Art Director Devin Smith took first and second place respectively for their photo illustrations on the cover of The Towerlight.

Smith developed a cover image for a story about “Digital Activism,” and the role it played in the Arab Spring, and Callahan’s was an altered image of Nikki Giovanni, a world-renowned author and activist, who spoke at Towson in early October.

Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, News Editor Jonathan Munshaw and Associate News Editor Brandi Bottalico collectively earned third place in the category of in-depth reporting for their coverage of the White Student Union, an unaffiliated organization that drew international attention for their member’s extreme right-wing views.

Munshaw said that the series required a lot of attention, and remembers committing to hours of research and careful reporting.

“One night we were in the office until 3 a.m.,” he said. “We put in the effort to make sure there were no holes. This encourages me to continue journalism career now. This validates the stories I write have an impact.”

Both Munshaw and Hazlett cited The Towerlight as the key reason for their success as a reporter and photojournalist, respectively.

“You’re not going to go on three or four assignments and have a portfolio full of images,” Hazlett said. “You look at people who are already out in the real world doing what any aspiring photojournalist wants to do and you’re looking at the best 15 images they’ve taken in the 45 years of their life. It’s less about nailing your first assignments but taking as many as possible and being proficient in each.”

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