Klein College of Media and Communication student media dominated four out of the nine college categories at this year’s EPPYs, an annual competition honoring the best in college and university digital media from the previous year. Out of more than 400 entries in more than 40 categories, three of the stories emerged from Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a community reporting capstone producing news for and about Philadelphia’s underserved communities. The fourth story came from The Temple News, the university’s independent watchdog paper for over 100 years. The awards are given out annually by Editor and Publisher, one of the foremost newspaper & news publishing industry news organizations.
Philadelphia Neighborhoods’ first place awards were in the categories of best college/university website, best news story and best photojournalism. The Temple News was awarded first place for best college/university sports section/ website for its Basketball Preview 2021 coverage.
“I always say the work our reporters produce is top-notch, period,” said Chris Malo, assistant professor of practice who directs the Philadelphia Neighborhoods program. “It's not that the work is amazing for student reporters, it's that they are amazing reporters. Full stop.”
The winning news story, “Housing: Even with Empty Lots and Homes Philadelphia’s Struggling to Make Housing Affordable,” featured extensive reporting, data and graphics, and was produced by recent alumnae Amelia Winger, now a health reporter at the Pittsburgh-based solutions journalism outlet, Public Source PA.
Judges said Winger’s was a “very informative piece. well written and a nice balance of fact/opinion/anecdote,” and specifically recognized the use of “interactive maps and alarming data on what was tracked by satellite vs. reported.”
“The story Amelia produced around access to affordable housing was meaningful and impactful, and Malcolm Burnley did a phenomenal job overseeing the work as her instructor,” Malo said.
Alumna Madison Karas, a former editor at The Temple News and currently a junior product manager at Baltimore’s solutions journalism site, the Baltimore Banner, won the best photojournalism award for the story “Southwest: A Day at John Bartram High School’s Football Homecoming.”
“I know Madison Karas winning a photojournalism EPPY for the story she reported meant a lot to both her and the team,” Malo said.
This collection of detailed reporting about daily life and issues in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods led the judges to honor PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com as the best overall college news website.
“I'm thrilled our students were recognized for the outstanding stories they helped tell, but I'm regularly impressed and proud of their work telling the stories of the under-served and underrepresented residents of Philly," Malo said.
The entries represented media large and small media outlets, including local news publishing, broadcast networks, cable news, sports networks, international pureplay Websites, niche content publishers, along with colleges and universities.
“It is our honor and pleasure to continue this tradition for the news publishing industry,” wrote Mike Blinder, publisher of Editor and Publisher Magazine, the host of the EPPY's, in a letter to Neil Ortiz, who works with students in the Neighborhoods course. “Now in its 26th year, we continue to spotlight and recognize the best in digital media.”
A panel of 43 EPPY judges included media leaders in website design, marketing, advertising, editorial, technology, education, media management, consulting and more.
“The mission and impact of high-quality journalism were truly and fully exemplified from newsrooms across the world,” said Christian Hendricks, managing partner in Extol Digital who led the judging. “Being a judge is sometimes a thankless and tireless task… In the case of the EPPY’s, however, there is always a hidden reward for each judge - a reaffirmation of the positive impact journalism has on people and communities.”
Read the full list of winners and finalists on the official EPPY Awards website.