Ellen Hirst wins Article of the Year as UNL finishes fifth in the 52nd annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program

June 8, 2012 —

“Turned Away,” a story by Ellen Hirst, a senior journalism major who graduated in May, was named Article of the Year by the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

A $1,000 check for the award was presented to Hirst during ceremonies after the Hearst finals competition in San Francisco June 4 to 8.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln finished fifth in the Overall Intercollegiate Championship in the 52nd annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

UNL finished third in the Intercollegiate Photojournalism Competition, fourth in the Intercollegiate Multimedia Competition and eighth in the Intercollegiate Writing Competition. In addition, UNL captured 11 individual top-10 finishes: four in photojournalism; two in writing; four in multimedia; and one in television.

UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications was one of 106 journalism schools eligible to compete in the 2011-2012 competition. Hearst awards up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

Ellen Hirst’s story, which was the winning entry in the Enterprise Reporting category last winter, can be viewed in the monthly winners section of the Hearst Journalism Awards Program website. "Turned Away" was published in “Bolivia Reborn,” a College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ investigative reporting course documenting social issues. The Bolivia project was funded by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Last spring Hirst continued to help raise awareness about social issues in a class that brought together a panelist forum to discuss Nebraska’s struggle with immigrants while the Nebraska Legislature considered legislation to mirror Arizona's controversial immigration law.

As a member of the 2011 New York Times Student Journalism Institute Hirst produced a piece about illegal immigrants facing uncertain futures after the DREAM Act was rejected.

Hirst has held internships at UNL’s Children, Family and the Law Center, The Grand Island Independent and Emmis Communications.

Hirst was a summer 2011 Chips Quinn Scholar at The Omaha World-Herald, a National Hispanic Scholar and a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, a national journalism honor society. This spring, Hirst received two academic honors: the KTA top scholar award and the Chancellor’s Superior scholar award, the university’s highest undergraduate academic honor.

Hirst is a co-founder of Multicultural Students in Media, an official UNL student organization to help raise awareness about the importance of diversity in the media.

Often called the Pulitzer competition of college journalism, the Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of the accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and is fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. It consists of five monthly writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, three broadcast news competitions and four multimedia competitions with championship finals in all divisions.


Ellen Hirst

Ellen Hirst

Winners of the 14 monthly competitions

  • First place
    Enterprise Reporting
    Turned Away
    Ellen Hirst, Elgin, Ill. - $2,600 scholarship
    UNL receives matching $2,600
  • Multimedia IV - Team Reporting
    Andrew Dickinson, Fairway Kan. - $2,600 scholarship
    Mary-Ellen Kennedy, North Platte - $2,600 scholarship
    UNL receives matching $2,600
  • Second place
    Photojournalism Semi-finalist
    Patrick Breen, Omaha
  • Third place
    Photojournalism II - Picture Story/Series
    Patrick Breen, Omaha - $1,500 scholarship
    UNL receives matching $1,500
  • Fifth place
    Multimedia IV -Team Reporting
    Coal Miners of Tash-Kumyr
    Jon Augustine, Lincoln
    Kaylee Everly, Fremont
  • Sixth place
    Photojournalism News, Feature
    Patrick Breen, Omaha
  • Seventh place
    Breaking News Writing
    Frannie Sprouls, Cottage Grove, Minn.
  • Ninth place
    Television Broadcast News
    Jeff Packer, Omaha
  • Multimedia III
    Patrick Breen, Omaha
  • Tenth place
    Photojournalism News, Feature
    Andrew Dickinson, Fairway, Kan.
  • Multimedia
    Patrick Breen, Omaha