Mark Puente, 40, crime reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, is winner of the 20th annual Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting. A truck driver for 13 years before going to college and joining The Plain Dealer, Puente said he tends to look for sources who are low on the totem pole because he often gets better information than he gets from top officials.
Puente’s three-month investigation uncovered decades of corruption by a sheriff who resigned and is now the subject of a wide-ranging criminal investigation. Until then, the sheriff was considered a local icon who had been endorsed in eight elections by The Plain Dealer.
The SJMC is one of the sponsors of the award, named for longtime Denver crime reporter Al Nakkula, and each year is responsible for selecting the winner.
Test Kitchen is cooking
The Digital Media Test Kitchen debuted this month, thanks to a generous gift by University of Colorado alumnus Howard Schultz. The initiative brings together journalists, computer scientists and business experts to tackle the considerable business, technology and content challenges facing the news industry in adapting to the digital age.
The grant is being used to fund the first two research projects by the Digital Media Test Kitchen: how to design in-depth news for smartphones and how best to persuade readers to pay for online news.
Stephanie Clary (’08) on Pulitzer-award team
Stephanie Clary (’08), associate online producer at The Seattle Times, is among the team of reporters and editors who won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news on April 12 for coverage of the shooting deaths of four Lakewood, Wash., police officers and the 40-hour hunt for the suspect. She is a former Campus Press editor.
Brian McNair presents Crosman Lecture
Professor Brian McNair of the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, delivered the 48th annual Ralph L. Crosman Lecture in April. McNair is a prolific scholarly writer and founding director of the Strathclyde School of Journalism and Communication.
His talk “Heroes & Villains – A Decade of Journalists in Film” focused on his latest book, which deals with how journalists are portrayed on the big screen. He talked about the psyche of the journalist as hero – risking much not simply to get a good story, but to do what is best to reveal what the public needs to know.
McNair also gave examples of the journalist as villain, willing to go to unethical lengths not only to get a story, but to fabricate one.
Fernando Diaz, the new managing editor of Hoy, the Chicago Tribune’s Spanish-language newspaper, told students in April that “it’s an exciting time to be in journalism. News organizations are looking to you to young things up.” Diaz, who visited as a Hearst Professional in Residence, told the students to bring skills to the newsroom that other people are trying to learn. “It’s preparation, it’s luck, it’s knowing what you want to learn and sticking to it,” Diaz said. He recommended picking a niche topic and becoming an expert, then creating a website to prove it. “It’s probably not going to end up like you think it’s going to end up,” he said when asked if there was something he wished he had known as a student.
Tomas van Houtryve (’99) is photog of the year
Tomas van Houtryve (’99) has added to his impressive list of awards by winning Photographer of the Year in the freelance/agency category of Pictures of the Year International, a highly respected annual contest. Van Houtryve, whose photograph was on the cover of Fall Bylines, is a freelance photojournalist based in Paris and working for Time, Newsweek and many international publications. He is working on a documentary project funded by the Alicia Patterson Foundation on Communism in the 21st Century. Van Houtryve recently gained notoriety for sneaking into North Korea to photograph in Pyongyang, twice.
Larry Zimmer wins two big ones
Veteran sports announcer Larry Zimmer, an SJMC adjunct instructor, was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in April. And in December he received the Chris Schenkel Award in December in New York. It’s given to a sports broadcaster who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football with direct ties to a university. Chris Fowler (’85), ESPN anchor of College Game Day, right, presented Zimmer, left, with the award at the annual dinner of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Steve Hatchell (’70), center, is CEO of the Football Foundation.
Parents honor Dave Martinez
SJMC Diversity Coordinator David Martinez won the CU Parents Association’s Marinus Smith Award for making a significant impact on the lives of CU undergraduate students.
Hemingway gift keeps giving
The SJMC received an additional gift of $26,441 from the estate of William S. Hemingway. This brings his total gift to $1,340,190. Seven juniors and seniors were each awarded a $10,000 Hemingway Scholarship for the 2009-10 school year. The 2010-2011 recipients have yet to be named.
Runyon goes to SJMC senior
Emery Cowan (’10), News-Editorial senior, won the Denver Press Club’s Damon Runyon Scholarship, the most prestigious newspaper scholarship in the state. Cowan has interned at the Greeley Tribune and Delicious Living magazine in Boulder. She has also been a student writer for the CU alumni magazine for the past four years and worked with The Campus Press in the spring of 2008. This summer, she will be interning at the Colorado Springs Gazette.
CU Independent gets noticed
The enterprising young journalists at the CU Independent have been named a College Partner by The Huffington Post. HuffPost College is a platform intended to “bring together a range of content from college papers across the country with an aim to drive HuffPost’s wide reader base back to the original sources of the content” (i.e., the CU-I’s website).
CU Independent also announced the launch of “Speak Out,” its new campaign to raise awareness and encourage activism on issues such as racism, heterosexism, sexism and classism. As part of the campaign, the student publication has dedicated a reporter to the social justice beat.