Ashlee Renee Hart is receiving the Philadelphia Neighborhoods award from Professor Karen Turner.
Ashlee Renee Hart is receiving the Philadelphia Neighborhoods award from Professor Karen Turner.
Sydney Schaefer

Senior journalism student Marnice Davis was one of seven students to be inducted to KTA. Photo by Sydney Schaefer. Ashlee Renee Hart is receiving the Philadelphia Neighborhoods award from Professor Karen Turner. Photo by Sydney Schaefer.

The Department of Journalism hosted its annual student awards ceremony on Wednesday April 27 at Mitten Hall.

SMC Dean David Boardman began the ceremony by speaking to students, parents, and faculty about the Temple's journalism students and the future of the field. Before he came to Temple, Boardman was executive editor and senior vice president at the Seattle Times.

"When I left the business, I left with a pretty deep concern: whether quality journalism and public service journalism could survive under the tremendous pressures that that industry is under today," Boardman said. "And I have to tell you, after three years here, I'm not worried anymore."

Boardman said the caliber of journalism at Temple is encouraging. "After being around all of you and witnessing your commitment and your courage and your craft," Boardman said. "I feel more confident than ever that the profession I love will survive and thrive in the years to come."

SMC alumnus Kurtis Lee delivered the 24th annual Dorothy Italie Kirsch Lecture, which preceded the ceremony. Lee, a Colorado native, is a political reporter at the Los Angeles Times. Lee worked for three years at the Denver Post and was part of the Post staff that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage during the Aurora theater shooting.

Lee felt that his time at Temple was extremely valuable to his career. "I think having the opportunity to go out into the city [of Philadelphia] and meet people day in and day out was something that was key," said Lee. "It really helped me hone my skills as a journalist."

During the ceremony, seven students--six seniors and one MJ student--were inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism honor society. KTA was founded at the University of Missouri in 1910.

38 students received a variety of journalism awards and scholarships. Sophomore journalism major Margo Reed received the Clarence Williams Award for her photography. The award was established to honor the former L.A. Times Photographer and SMC alumnus who won a Pulitzer in 1998.

Reed said she did not know which award she was getting before the ceremony. "It's really cool to get an award based on a L.A. Times photographer," Reed said.

20 students were also recognized for their excellence in published work over the past year.

One of the last scholarships given was the Peter J. Shellem Memorial Scholarship, which was awarded to Brittany Salerno. Joyce Shellem presented the scholarship.

She spoke about her husband's work as an investigative reporter at the Harrisburg Patriot-News and about the courage it took for him to investigate five cases of wrongful convictions in his career. His work led to their release. She reminded students in the room that heroism isn't just about big acts: it can also be about small acts of kindness.