Kent State Students Place in the 'Pulitzer Prizes of Collegiate Journalism'

Four Kent State students and alumni were recognized among the best in collegiate journalism for the 2022-23 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, 18th place in News Feature

Rising senior Alexandria Manthey received recognition for two television packages:  the aftermath of Kent’s Dussel Farm fire in April of 2022 and the opening of Flourish Plant Market in downtown Kent.

“I wasn’t expecting to be a finalist at all,” said Manthey, a journalism major. “I was more looking to create stories that I was proud of and improve my reporting.”

Associate professor and TV2 adviser Gretchen Hoak, Ph.D., helped Manthey with her submissions. Hoak said Manthey’s previous experience properly equipped her to create packages that the judges who look at the award submissions want to see.

“Alex has a great understanding of story structure, and she’s also a really great shooter and editor,” Hoak said. “She’s coachable. She’s not afraid to hear what she needs to improve.”

Gabby Jonas, ‘23, 20th place in Hard News


Journalism major Gabby Jonas, a 2023 graduate, submitted two packages on stories that have made national headlines: the train derailment in East Palestine and the national bus driver shortage.

“I met this wonderful man (in East Palestine); it was very heartbreaking to see how broken he was from the experience,” Jonas said. “His whole family has passed away, and he’s on low income. The fact that this situation happened to him was heartbreaking for me.”

At first, Jonas said she “couldn’t believe” she was recognized.

“In the industry, I don’t think you give yourself enough credit,” she said. “I definitely am hard on myself a lot … there’s a lot of competition in anything you do. It’s a very cut-throat environment and it’s hard to feel like your story actually means something.

She also said she gained more confidence in herself and her work from the experience.

“I haven’t had that confidence boost with what I do in a long time,” she said. “My mom will always hype me up … but it’s not the same. These are people I don’t know, people who know what they’re doing. The fact that they thought mine was still award-winning-worthy, was game-changing for me in how I perceive my own work.”


Isabella Schreck, ‘25, 12th place in Sports Writing

Rising junior journalism major Isabella Schreck was recognized in the sports writing category for her coverage of the 50th anniversary of Title IX at Kent State.

“The story I submitted was about the history of Title IX at Kent State,” Schreck said. “It took everyone all the way back to before there were women’s varsity sports at Kent State. I focused specifically on equal opportunity for women in sports at the collegiate level.”

She said she initially came up with the idea after seeing a web banner that said “Celebrating 50 years of Title IX at Kent State” during her freshman year. She was serving as sports editor of at the time, and served as editor-in-chief during the Spring 2023 semester.

Schreck’s main source for the story was Judy DeVine, a pioneer in Title IX for women’s athletics at Kent State. The story was published in September 2022.

She said her main support system was Media and Journalism Professor Susan Kirkman Zake, retired Associate Professor Carl Schierhorn, along with her peer editors, alumnae Emma Andrus, ’22, and Alexandra Golden, ’23.

“It took about six months (between interviewing, editing and reporting),” she said. “I was extremely, extremely excited and grateful.”


Maddy Haberberger, ‘22, 15th place in Multimedia II

Kent State alumna Maddy Haberberger, ‘22, currently a social producer for NBCUniversal, received recognition for a piece she worked on during her senior year. She was in Student Media Practicum, a class that prompts students to report on environmental stories through data visualization. She chose to do her project on the Akron sewer system and the Cuyahoga River.

“Notoriously, the Cuyahoga River was not the cleanest for a while,” she said. “There were fires on the river in the 1960s because of industrial pollution, and then there was a big movement in the eighties to clean it up, and that’s been in-progress ever since.”

The final project was titled: “What Happened When You Flush in Akron.”

As she worked on the project, Haberberger said she knew she wasn’t going to take a traditional news route in journalism. Her professor, Zake helped her along with finding a way to do the project in a way she liked.

“I was in the process of interviewing for my current job, and I knew they use (Adobe) After Effects, and I hadn’t really had an opportunity to work with it a ton in school,” Haberberger said. “It was really cool to get to mess around in After Effects … Now, I use it every day so that was really instrumental in helping me get familiar with the program too."

POSTED: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 11:36 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2023 04:53 PM
Kaitlyn Finchler, '23