Scripps students earn top awards at national journalism convention

Published: October 4, 2023 Author: Ken Klein

The Ohio University chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) earned a top honor this September in Las Vegas, bringing home the SPJ’s Campus Program of the Year Award.

It was recognized among a select set of chapters for its outstanding work in supporting the SPJ’s mission, members and journalism by SPJ’s 12 regional coordinators. 

The national journalism convention, held Sept. 29 in Las Vegas, also honored Trevor Brighton, VisCom ’23 for his illustration published by Ohio University’s student-run newspaper The Post (“Erasing Russia”).  In June, SPJ announced that Brighton won a National Mark of Excellence Award

Erasing Russia

Present to accept the awards in Las Vegas were Trevor Brighton, VisCom ’23, alumna Lynn Walsh, BSJ ’08, Nerissa Young, faculty advisor, and Journalism seniors Claire Schiopota and Isabel Nissley.

Ohio University’s SPJ chapter was recognized for hosting a Breaking News Simulation on campus.

In the simulation exercise this past April, students responded in real time to changing circumstances, including a scenario about a wrong-way car crash on campus that included injuries and a fatality. Chapter leaders wrote the scenario that included news releases from government organizations and a hospital, as well as “witnesses” from the scene. Student news teams produced articles, photos, videos and social media posts that were judged by faculty members Mark Turner and Elizabeth Hendrickson of the E.W. Scripps School or Journalism.

Participants in OUSPJ’s breaking news simulation were Tre Spencer, Claire Schiopota, Dori Gray, Tate Raub, Alyssa Cruz, Arshi Singhania, Kayla Bennett, McKenna Christy, Isabel Nissley and Maya Morita.

The simulation idea originated from the Ohio University’s chapter goal of more hands-on experience. Claire Schiopota, a journalism senior, is chapter president with campus experience at WOUB and The Post, plus an internship at CNN in Washington, DC in 2022.

The chapter president in the last academic year was Kayla Bennett, BSJ ’23, now an Ohio Statehouse News Bureau fellow in Columbus. The current chapter vice president is Journalism senior Isabel Nissley, who completed a 2023 summer internship at KOSU Public Radio in Oklahoma City, OK.

Journalism Associate Professor Nerissa Young is faculty advisor of the award-winning campus organization, which has been named national outstanding campus chapter nine times.