Cox’s Creek WKU student among Hearst Journalism national finalists


Monday, May 20, 2019 — A Western Kentucky University student from Cox’s Creek is one of three WKU students who will compete in the national finals of the 59th annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program this June 1-6, 2019, in San Francisco.


Skyler Ballard, a senior from Coxs Creek, is one of five finalists for the multimedia championship at the competition.

Ballard qualified for the finals by winning individual photojournalism and multimedia competitions during the 2018-2019 Hearst program.

WKU students have won 15 Hearst individual national championships since 1985 — photojournalism in 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2016; multimedia in 2015; writing in 1985; and radio news in 2006.

Ballard and Gabriel Scarlett, a senior from Maumee, Ohio, one of six finalists for the photojournalism championship, won this year’s final contest, the Multimedia Team Reporting/News Competition, for their entry The Wrongful Imprisonment of Jose Luis Garcia published in WKUPJ.com. They will receive a $3,000 scholarship.

Scarlett also was part of the third-place team with Morgan Hornsby, a senior from Sand Gap; they received a $1,500 scholarship. WKU’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting received matching awards.

The top 10 finishers in this year’s Intercollegiate Multimedia Competition are University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; WKU; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Arizona State University; University of Florida;; Pennsylvania State University; University of Montana; Temple University; University of Missouri; and University of South Carolina. WKU will receive a $4,000 award.

Often called “The Pulitzers of college journalism,” the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, in its 59th year, consists of five writing, two photojournalism, one radio, two television and four multimedia competitions offering up to $700,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends; 105 member universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs are eligible to participate in the Hearst competitions.

The points earned by individual students in the monthly writing, photojournalism, radio, television and multimedia competitions determine each discipline’s Intercollegiate ranking. The winners are those schools with the highest accumulated student points in each category. The overall Intercollegiate winners are the schools with the highest accumulated student points in the writing, photojournalism, broadcast and multimedia competitions.

Earlier this spring WKU won the Intercollegiate Photojournalism Competition for the 25th time in the past 30 years.

In 2018, WKU won its fourth overall national championship in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program. WKU won overall titles in 2000, 2001 and 2005 and has finished in the top three overall for nine straight years and in the top eight nationally for 25 straight years.


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