The University of Miami’s School of Communication was recognized with awards at the 2011 Online News Association Awards (ONA) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) annual Sigma Delta Chi Awards, both held this past weekend in Boston and New Orleans, respectively.
At ONA, UM School of Communication alumni, Paul Franz, M.A. ’10 in multimedia journalism, tied for first place in the Online Video Journalism student category for his thesis project, “Haiti’s Lost Children” (http://www.haitiedstories.org/). The project deals with Haiti's struggle to build an education system following the 2010 earthquake.
The Society of Professional Journalists presented the School of Communication, Transitions, a nonprofit, independent online news organization, and UM’s Knight Center for International Media with a Sigma Delta Chi Award and Bronze Medallion in recognition of distinguished service to the American people and the profession of journalism through outstanding accomplishments in Digital Media Presentation for “Colorful But Colorblind: Roma Beyond Stereotypes” (http://roma.glocalstories.org/). The project delves in age-old prejudices about the Roma people by featuring personal insights into the daily lives and struggles. The SPJ competition did not have student categories, and the University of Miami was the only academic institution to win an award this year.
"I am extremely proud of our students and the award-winning work they are producing under the guidance of our exceptional faculty,” said Gregory J. Shepherd, dean of The School of Communication at the University of Miami. “And it is important to note that these awards are for work in new and digital media, as we intend to be a leader in the rapidly changing world of communication."
UM Professor Rich Beckman was “Colorful But Colorblind’s” executive producer, UM Professor Kim Grinfeder, the design director and Daniel Cloud, the programming director. Alumnus Trevor Green and Candace Barbot, an adjunct UM faculty member, also worked on the project as story coaches and trainers in conjunction with 10 multimedia graduate students and 50 journalists from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
“At the Knight Center we set out to become an epicenter of excellence for compelling multimedia storytelling on global issues and to give voice to the unheard and unseen on underreported issues,” Beckman said. “Our graduate students have embraced these worthy goals and their work continues to bring recognition to the School, the Center and our international partners.”
UM had six finalists competing in three categories at the 2011 ONA Awards. This is the second year in a row that a UM student project has won this prestigious award. In the eight years that student categories have been judged in the competition, 15 projects by Prof. Beckman’s students have been named finalists and this is the fifth to win a top prize.
Launched in 2000, the Online News Association Awards, administered by ONA in partnership with the University of Miami’s School of Communication, are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism, focusing on independent, community, nonprofit, major media and international news sites.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.
*To see "Haiti's Lost Children," click here.
*To see "Colorful But Colorblind," click here.
- Sept. 27, 2011