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A-State Students Capture 2020 Arkansas SPJ Diamond Awards


JONESBORO –  Multimedia journalism students from Arkansas State University’s Delta Digital News Service in the School of Media and Journalism picked up numerous awards during the 2020 Diamond Journalism Awards virtual presentation ceremony June 30.

The annual competition is sponsored by the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and recognizes outstanding journalism by professionals, including freelancers, and students.

Student work was judged by members of the Detroit SPJ chapter. 

“Students at A-State have a distinct opportunity to have their work seen and judged by professionals and witness that the quality of their work rises to a professional-grade level before leaving the multimedia journalism program,” said Terrance Armstard, multimedia journalism instructor and Delta Digital News Service adviser.

In the student journalism division, A-State swept the top three spots with Chase Gage of Brookland winning the news (print/online) category with his story, “Medical Marijuana Forces Law Enforcement Changes.”  Tristan Bennett of Carlisle finished second, and third place was awarded to Chloe Short of Lafe, Brooke Buckner of Little Rock, Colby Sigears of Fayetteville, Jessica Ladd of Dexter, Mo., and Yu Bai of Kunming, China.

Matthew Emery of Tuckerman captured second place in the feature (print/online) category, while Gage was third.

In the sports print/online category, Denton Postlewait of Eau Claire, Wis., was a double finisher, winning with his story, “Meet the Unsung Heroes of A-State Baseball,” and posting third place in that classification.

“Our multimedia journalism students are learning how to research, write and produce multimedia stories that really matter to our communities, and it’s exciting to see that their efforts are recognized by their professional peers,” said Dr. Brad Rawlins, professor and director of the School of Media and Journalism. 

“Delta Digital News Service provides a venue for students to go into communities and report meaningful issues and events.  The stories are then made available to all other media outlets serving Arkansas, so the reach extends beyond our campus.”

The awards recognize journalism excellence and are open to any professional or student journalist, including freelancers, working in Arkansas and bordering states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee). Work must have been published or broadcast to become eligible for the awards.