Photojournalism Program Places Fifth in the Nation
Kent State University placed fifth nationwide in the photojournalism category of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards program.
This fifth place finish marks the fourth year in a row Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) has finished among the top 10 nationwide for photojournalism.
The Hearst Journalism Awards, which awards scholarships to students for outstanding performance in college-level journalism, are often called the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism.
Three JMC students in the visual journalism program placed among the top 20 students in Hearst’s individual photojournalism competitions, propelling Kent State to an overall fifth place finish:
- Alumnus Jacob Byk, '15, sixth place
- Jenna Watson, '16, ninth place
- Erin McLaughlin, '16, 15th place
“Jenna, Erin and Jacob are very different from each other, but they all three possess the ability to make great images and tell stories,” said David Foster, assistant professor in the School of JMC. “I’m excited to see them move into work in the professional world. I know they will continue to make the program and school proud.”
Byk’s winning photos feature people and their emotions in various situations.
“It was great to graduate having left behind a contribution to the program that helped me get into the career I love,” Byk said. “Kent State's photojournalism program is one of the best in the country, and that's because of the dedication of the staff, teachers, adjuncts and everyone in-between. I'm just happy to have given something back.”
McLaughlin submitted a photo story focused on a girl who just started practicing for the Rubber City Rollergirls team.
“I dedicated a lot of time to this story,” McLaughlin said. “(JMC lecturer) David LaBelle worked with me from the beginning to the end of the story. When he told me that we were entering it in the Hearst, I was thrilled. It showed that my hard work paid off. I’m proud that I got to represent our school and contribute to its fifth place finish.”
Watson captured action photos during sporting events.
“The Hearst photojournalism competition is a chance to not only gauge your own progress from one year to the next, but also a way to see what other photojournalism students across the country have been working on,” Watson said. “What sets Hearst apart from other competitions is the chance for your school program to work as a team.”
Professors LaBelle and Foster both had the opportunity to work with these students in their time in the visual journalism program.
“I had the pleasure of watching, teaching and helping mentor all three of these students from their first days on campus, and each has been a joy,” LaBelle said. “All three individuals are good students, unselfish leaders and hard workers who made numerous sacrifices to attend workshops and pursue stories beyond Ohio. It is no accident each finished strong.”