Kent State Students Place in the 2023-24 Pulitzer Prizes of Collegiate Journalism

Three Kent State students were recognized among the best in collegiate journalism for the 2023-24 academic year, placing in the Hearst Journalism Awards competition.

The Hearst awards are known as the “Pulitzer Prize of Collegiate Journalism,” and recognize outstanding student work in categories spanning writing, multimedia, audio, television and photojournalism.


Alexandria Manthey, ‘24, 13th place in Television Competition II: News

Senior journalism major Alexandria Manthey received recognition for her work on two stories about the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. "I loved being able to add in some creative elements to my video that captured the audiences attention. Most of all I wanted the residents of East Palestine to be able to have a platform to speak on these important issues," Manthey said about her one year anniversary video

Student reporter holding up a White House press pool badge while the airplane Air Force One is on the tarmac behind her

And as for covering President Biden's visit to the region on that anniversary, Manthey had this to say: "I actually was able to receive White House Press Credentials to cover Air Force One landing at the Pittsburgh International Airport. It was an absolutely surreal experience to see the president and Air Force one in real life and easily the highlight of my time in student media."

Of the Hearst placement, Manthey said, "I am incredibly grateful to have my work recognized by such a prestigious foundation...I couldn’t have done it without the lessons I’ve learned in TV2. I actually came to Kent State because of TV2 and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Student Media has set me up for success in this industry and being recognized like this is just one example of the endless opportunities TV2 has given me." She went on to thank Associate Professor Gretchen Hoak for her help and for nominating her for this award.

She concluded with "I will be continuing my journalism career at WTVG 13abc Action News as a Multimedia Journalist after I graduate in May. This is my hometown station and I am so excited to join the team.” 


Erin Sullivan, ‘24, 19th place in Television Competition II: News

Erin Sullivan, another senior journalism major, was brief in her answer. "The only thing I would like to say about this is I'm grateful to Gretchen Hoak for nominating my work. She does so much for our program and works endlessly to support our broadcast students.” Sullivan submitted two stories for the competition, one that also focused on East Palestine, Ohio, as the town's businesses tried to bounce back after the derailment. Her second story submitted was done in Sullivan's hometown of Chicago and focused on an encampment that had been set up outside a police station to house migrants who had been bussed there.


Grace Springer, ‘24, 17th place in Audio News/Features

Senior journalism major Grace Springer was a finalist in this category for her two stories on the aftermath of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. In Springer's stories, she and fellow students Mariah Alanskas, Sophie Young and Sophia Lucente focused on community members and how the cleanup of their town progressed. "People in the community didn't know who they could trust, and many had continued health concerns for themselves and their families." They met these displaced residents in hotels outside of town and learned of their health worries.

The students second story chased down a different displacement in the aftermath: documenting where the contaminated soil and water would be shipped for disposal and what additional remediation efforts would be happening in East Palestine. They spoke to employees of a nearby incinerator, a man whose backyard was turned into a remediation center and an attorney for a nonprofit law firm specializing in environmental issues.

What was different about these stories and what made them more challenging and more rewarding for Springer was that they weren't simply reporting events that had happened. "I had the opportunity to really take my time and get to know people," Springer said. "Their whole lives totally changed in an instant...There were bits of hope even in a dark situation."

Springer is grateful for her experiences and for the recognition by Hearst. She said, "I'm really humbled by this award. I'm very grateful for everyone that helped me along the way, my editors and advisers, including Sue Zake, Rosie Murphy, Jacquie Marino, Abigail Bottar and Andrew Meyer, and Sophia Lucente for joining me in East Palestine and taking some amazing photos. Being honored by Hearst really reaffirms why I want to be a journalist and tell stories."


POSTED: Tuesday, May 7, 2024 01:01 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2024 02:20 PM
Eve Krejci, '24