Cronkite School acknowledges students’ achievements at ceremony

Dan Neligh, a journalism and economics senior, set a record with his 12 awards during the 2011-2012
Cronkite School Student Awards ceremony on Wednesday. (Mauro Whiteman/DD)

From a Fulbright Scholar to a recipient of multiple Hearst Journalism Awards, students at the Walter Cronkite School once again have helped the school place among the highest in the nation for both print and broadcast journalism.

The school’s First Amendment Forum played host to the annual Cronkite School Student Awards ceremony Wednesday, highlighting the achievements of numerous students who placed in international, national and regional competitions.

“To give you an idea of just how successful we have been in the past year – 118 individual students won an award this year, and, of those 118, 38 won multiple awards,” said Mark Lodato, assistant dean and news director at the journalism school. “So about a third won at least two awards.”

Lodato announced the winners alongside Hailey Frances, a reporter for 12 News and 2007 Cronkite alumna.

The number of awards presented to each individual increased as the ceremony continued, beginning with students who had taken home one award and ending with a first in the school’s history: a winner of 12 awards in a single year.

Dan Neligh, a senior studying broadcast journalism and economics, set the record for the school, nearly doubling the next closest award recipient, journalism senior Nathan O’Neal who received seven awards this year.

“It’s definitely great that I was able to represent Cronkite in this awards ceremony by taking home so many awards but at the end of the day, the quality of the work that we do at the school speaks louder,” Neligh said.

Neligh, who is pursuing two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in only four years, placed in as many award categories for the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards as the entire University of Arizona. He has also received three Hearst Journalism Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism.

“I think any day that you can beat the University of Arizona is a good day,” he said.

Mike Wong, director of career services at the Cronkite School, said he was impressed by both the school’s performance relative to other large journalism programs and the talent of the students.

“Every time we get results back from a competition, Cronkite is right near the top,” Wong said. “We’re very proud of our students.”

He added that he was especially impressed by the work of Neligh.

“He’s raised the bar way up high,” Wong said. “He’s an immensely talented person, and we hope that he uses his talent toward a successful career.”

Three students received six awards at the ceremony: Gardenia Coleman, Stephanie Snyder and Dustin Volz. Along with his journalism awards, Volz was recognized for a Fulbright Scholarship that he has been awarded to do research in Indonesia.

Lodato said it has been terrific to see his students’ work compete so well at national competitions like the Broadcast Education Association Best of Festival King Foundation Awards, which were announced Monday in Las Vegas.

“They’re great ambassadors for our program,” he said. “Their work is just an example of what all of our students are doing everyday.”

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Editor’s note: Dan Neligh, Stephanie Snyder and Dustin Volz are publishers of the Downtown Devil. They did not contribute to the reporting of this article.