2008 College Contest Results

General Reporting

First Place: James Baetke, J. David McSwane and Vimal Patel, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, Colorado State University.

Second Place: Robert Faturechi, The Daily Bruin, UCLA.

Third Place: J. David McSwane, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, Colorado State University.

Baetke, McSwane and Patel took first place for “Unlocked.”

“This very smart story investigates a simple but important question: Is the university secure, particularly after a rash of recent thefts?” the judges wrote. “By walking the campus late at night and trying doors that were supposed to be locked, the writers found that it wasn’t. The story is well-reported, well-documented and well-written.”

“Donations Influence Admissions” by Faturechi won second place.

“The writer took on an ambitious investigation – how donations and family ties had paved the way for some less-qualified applicants to UCLA’s orthodontics school – but there were some holes in the reporting, particularly a lack of attribution in some cases,” the judges wrote. “Still, most readers surely came away from the story convinced that the school had indeed relaxed its standards for some well-connected applicants.” McSwane placed third for “Ex-CSU employee threatened Columbine father.”

“Interesting footnote to a terrible tragedy,” the judges wrote. “Wonderful use of attribution.”

Feature Writing

First Place: Celeste Sepessy, The State Press, Arizona State University.

Second Place: Chase Kemp, The State Press, Arizona State University.

Sepessy took first place for “Greek to me.”

“As a reluctant sorority member, Celeste Sepessy takes us inside the recruitment process, filled with speed interviews and parties,” the judges wrote. “It’s a great idea, and we get to watch Sepessy’s conversion from sorority skeptic to someone who begins to like some of the sorority chapters. The top of the article – with its short, declarative sentences – is particularly strong.”

Second place went to Kemp for “Dying in the Digital Age.”

“This strong piece about online tributes to the dead explores a fresh angle in the MySpace/Facebook/YouTube age,” the judges wrote. “A great idea buttressed by good storytelling and reporting.”

Sports Writing

First Place: Sam Allen, The Daily Bruin, UCLA.

Allen grabbed first place with “SAC Attracts Worldwide Talent For Summer Pickup Games.”

“Sam’s lede to a story about NCAA and NBA starts mixing it up on the court says a lot without hammering us over the head,” the judges wrote. “He worked an array of quotes into the piece to tell a story that many average hoop fans may know nothing about. A little background on how this institution got its start would have been helpful, but overall, this is a very informative story.”

The contest was judged by staff writers Meg Heckman, Ray Duckler and Sarah Liebowitz and city editor Hans Schulz, all of the Concord Monitor.