UNL finishes second in national Hearst Journalism Awards competition

Two UNL journalism students finished among the top three in two divisions of the 51st Hearst Journalism Awards competition in San Francisco June 6-9. Those wins helped lead the college to a second place finish overall among the 112 accredited journalism schools eligible to compete for the awards.

At the finals, Wade Hilligoss won best use of radio and finished third in radio news, and Brandi Kruse took second in television news. The 27 students competing in San Francisco qualified by winning writing, photojournalism, broadcasting and multimedia competitions during the 2010-11 school year.

"Wade and Brandi combined their creativity with the journalistic skills and principles they were taught and came up with a winning combination," Dean Gary Kebbel said. "They worked hard to get to this national competition, called the Pulitzers of college journalism, and even harder under tight deadline pressures here. They showed the depth and quality of UNL's journalism program. I'm proud of all they accomplished."

The college's second place finish, the best in the school's history, was based on students' placing in a series of competitions during the past school year. That included a first-place finish in broadcast news, for which the college will receive a $10,000 check.

In addition, the college placed sixth in the writing competition and seventh in photojournalism.

Judges reviewed 1,160 student entries in 14 competitions in writing, photojournalism, radio and television broadcast news and multimedia. The University of North Carolina finished first overall.

Kruse, who graduated in December 2010, was one of the few contestants to compete in the Hearst awards program two years in a row. She received a $4,000 scholarship for her second-place finish. Hilligoss takes home a $3,000 scholarship for his achievements in the finals. The college will receive a matching grant.

"It's an amazing experience to compete with America's best college journalists in the Hearst Awards," said Barney McCoy, broadcast journalism faculty member. "We're proud of Brandi and Wade because they worked hard and embody the best our college, the university and the state of Nebraska have to offer."

The story assignment for both radio and television finalists was to find a story that reflected the "greening of San Francisco, representing its dedication to livability and sustainability."

Hilligoss chose to focus his radio report on the environmental initiatives and recycling efforts by the San Francisco Giants baseball team. For her television story, Kruse talked to a variety of San Franciscans about whether they thought their city's goal to become the "greenest" city in the nation in just a few years was realistic.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. It consists of six monthly writing competitions, three photojournalism competitions, three broadcast news competitions and two multimedia competitions, with championship finals in all divisions. The program awards up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

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Wade Hilligoss

Listen to Wade's winning radio entry

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Brandi Kruse