INDIANAPOLIS – Four reporters and an editor took home awards Friday night from the 35th annual Society of Professional Journalists “Best of Indiana Journalism” awards gala for work they did as students at TheStatehouseFile.com.
From left, Zach Osowski, Jessica Wray, Samm Quinn and John Krull were among reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com who took home Society of Professional Journalists awards at a Friday night ceremony. Osowski and Quinn graduated from Franklin College last year. Wray will graduate this month and Krull is the online news site’s publisher.
In addition, The Franklin, the college’s student newspaper, won 3rd place for its website. The paper – edited during the contest period by Megan Banta, now a senior, and 2013 graduate Suzannah Couch – competed in the student media division.
Reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news publication of the college’s Pulliam School of Journalism, competed in the contest’s largest professional category, one for online publications, wire services and newspapers with a circulation of more than 40,000.
Former Franklin College students Chase Howell and Zach Osowski won 3rd place in the sports reporting category for a story about concussions in youth sports and legislation to address the issue. The story was published by TheStatehouseFile.com when Howell and Osowski were seniors. Osowski is now a reporter for The Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Howell is a digital content coordinator at Get Noticed Get Found, a digital marketing firm in Cincinnati.
Reporters Samm Quinn and Jessica Wray won an honorable mention for their coverage of school voucher expansion issues on TheStatehouseFile.com.
Quinn, who is now a city reporter at The Commercial Review in Portland, Ind., wrote a story revealing that a larger number of students had used vouchers to move from highly rated schools to ones with lower grades. Wray, a senior who will graduate from Franklin College this month, covered legislative action on the voucher issue. John Krull, the publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, also contributed a column about vouchers to the entry.
Krull also won 2nd place in the contest’s column writing category.
“These honors confirm what we at Franklin College have known for a long time: That our students can accomplish remarkable things,” said Franklin College President Jay Moseley. “Everyone at the college is proud of them not just for putting the lessons they have learned here to work, but because they have done so in the service of an essential profession that informs and enriches the lives of people all over Indiana.”
Franklin College launched its Statehouse reporting bureau more than nine years ago, initially to provide legislative coverage to Indiana newspapers during the school’s winter term session in January. Over time, the program expanded and became a full time operation in 2011, when it launched TheStatehouseFile.com.
“This is the second year that our student reporters have taken home awards from the Society of Professional Journalists annual banquet,” said Lesley Weidenbener, executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com. “What makes me especially proud is that our students were competing against professionals at the state’s largest newspapers and wire services – and they competed well. It’s a testament to their dedication and hard work.”
Throughout 2013 – the SPJ contest period – more than 25 students worked for TheStatehouseFile.com, earning valuable experience and bylines to help them launch their journalism careers.
Individuals can subscribe to the website for just $5 per month or $50 per year. More than a dozen newspapers and radio stations in Indiana also pay modest fees to reprint or rebroadcast the stories, videos, audio pieces, columns and photos from TheStatehouseFile.com. Those outlets include several larger newspapers that competed against the website in the SPJ competition.