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Journalism students garner national honors
Drake journalism students are gaining national attention with a sweep of awards, including honors from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Evan Jurkovich, a 2008 graduate from Edina, Minn., placed sixth among ten winners in the Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program for college personality/profile writing. His article, “Lost No More,” was the cover story for the spring 2008 edition of Drake’s student-produced THiNK magazine. 

“Evan’s winning story — about a refugee of Sudan’s war who is rebuilding his life in Iowa — is a riveting read,” said Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor and faculty adviser for THiNK. “He not only captured the drama but also the larger story of the resilience of the human spirit. It is exemplary journalism.”

Additionally, THiNK spring 2008 edition is one of six finalists for the ACP’s Online Pacemaker Award — one of the highest honors in college media. This is the magazine’s third honor from the ACP, having earned a Pacemaker for its inaugural issue in 2007 and qualifying as one of ten finalists in 2008.

THiNK, produced entirely by students in Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is a joint senior capstone project for magazine and news-Internet majors. The magazine, which is an annual publication, is available online at http://www.thinkmagazineonline.com  

Drake students honored by national journalist society

In addition, Drake students earned six Region 7 Mark of Excellence awards by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), including two first place honors. The awards were announced at the society’s regional conference last month.

“Once again, our students demonstrate why our magazine and news-Internet programs are so highly regarded on a national level,” Van Wyke said. “Year after year, our students produce high-caliber journalism. These awards recognize their creativity, energy and talent.”

The Drake winners are:
  • First Place — Nonfiction Magazine Writing: Evan Jurkovich, a 2008 graduate from Edina, Minn.; THiNK, “Lost No More.”

  • Second Place — Nonfiction Magazine Writing: Rachel Vogel, a junior magazine and writing double major from Moline, Ill.; Drake Magazine, “Don’t Stop Believing.” 

  • Second Place — Feature Photography: Emilee Richardson, a senior public relations major from Clarinda, Iowa; Drake Magazine, “Hit the Road.”

  • First Place — Best Student Magazine: Drake Magazine, spring 2008; editor Justine Blanchard, a senior magazine major from Grimes, Iowa

  • Second Place — Best Student Magazine: 515, fall 2008; editor Meghan Siroky, a senior magazine major from Orland Park, Ill.

  • Third Place — Best Student Magazine: THiNK, spring 2008; editor Sarah Hall, a 2008 graduate from Normal, Ill.
First-place winners Jurkovich and the student staff of Drake Magazine will advance to the national competition at the 2009 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference this fall.

“It’s terrific that our students are being recognized for their hard work,” said Lori Blachford, assistant professor and faculty adviser for Drake Magazine. 

“Rachel showed a lot of courage in tackling the sensitive issue of religion and relationships; Emilee covered 903 miles on her road trip through Iowa to produce her photo essay. That kind of dedication should be rewarded,” she added.

Drake Magazine is a biannual magazine produced entirely by students. 515 is an annual magazine about the Des Moines area created by magazine seniors. THiNK and 515 receive financial support from Meredith Corp. of Des Moines.