An in-depth report on hate in America by the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative, produced by a journalism student from St. Bonaventure University and 18 other universities, has earned another top national award.
Students in the Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative reporting project at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University are winners of the 2019 Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting for “Hate in America,” a package of multimedia stories focused on acts of intolerance, racism and hate crimes across the country, won in the college category.
Bryce Spadafora, ’18, was among the 38 college journalists who worked on the eight-month project.
Christian Gravius, ’19, a journalism major from Derby, New York, has been selected for this summer’s fellowship with Carnegie-Knight News21. This is the fourth year in a row a St. Bonaventure student has been selected to participate, following Lian Bunny, ’16, Rachel Konieczny, ’17, and Spadafora.
“Working on Hate in America for News21 let me take everything I learned through the Jandoli School and apply it in a meaningful way,” said Spadafora.
“It was a privilege to have been able to tell such impactful stories. I’m extremely proud of everyone who worked on the project and grateful to the countless sources who made all of this possible,” he said.
This is the third straight Murrow Award and the fifth overall that the Cronkite School has won – the most of any journalism program in the country. The project also received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in the college category in May.
“We are proud the Jandoli School of Communication is part of such an important journalistic effort,” said Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli School. “Bryce and his colleagues’ work and this recognition show the value of thoughtful reporting on issues of great importance.”
In 2018, the program’s 38 journalism students from 19 universities traveled to 36 states, including a 7,000-mile road trip around the country. They conducted nearly 300 interviews — some from the middle of angry protests — and they reviewed thousands of pages of court documents, FBI data and state and federal statutes.
Their work included 12 digital stories, a 43-minute documentary film and a five-episode podcast following the life cycle of hate. The content was published and aired by major newspapers and news sites across the country.
The student journalists found that more than 2.4 million hate crimes were committed across the U.S. between 2012 and 2016, based on an analysis of national crime statistics.
Allie Bice, a Hearst Journalism Foundations fellow, noted that she and other students spent eight months researching, reporting and producing the “Hate in America” project.
“I like to think we channeled the qualities of Murrow in our day-to-day work ethic,” she said. “We were filled with curiosity and determination to dive deeper into this difficult subject. We grappled with incomplete FBI data and traveled across the country to interview victims and perpetrators of hate. It feels great to have our hard work pay off, but we wouldn't have been able to do any of it if it weren't for so many brave sources willing to share their stories with us.”
The collection of their multi-media reports is available at hateinamerica.news21.com/.
Established in 2015 by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Student Murrow Awards celebrate excellence in student journalism at the collegiate and high school levels. Unlike the professional Edward R. Murrow Awards, which are presented to news organizations, the Student Murrows are awarded to individuals in five categories — audio newscast, audio reporting, video newscast, video reporting and digital reporting.
The RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession. It has been honoring outstanding achievements in professional journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.
The 2019 winners will be recognized at the Edward R. Murrow Awards black tie event hosted by the Radio Television Digital News Association Oct. 24 in New York City.
News21, launched in 2005 through the Cronkite School, brings some of the country’s top student journalists together on one investigative project and has won numerous national awards for enterprising, explanatory and investigative reporting.
The 2018 Carnegie-Knight News21 fellows were supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists, including The Arizona Republic, The Dallas Morning News, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Hearst Foundations, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Murray Endowment, Myrta J. Pulliam and John and Patty Williams. Fellows also were supported by gifts honoring the legacies of photographer Charles Cushman and Irish crime reporter Veronica Guerin.
In addition to its journalism program, the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure offers undergraduate majors in strategic communication, sports media and broadcast journalism.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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