Students win national SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards

UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication students won top honors in four categories of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) national Mark of Excellence Awards given for work published in 2010.

Pressley Baird, Kristen Long and Seth Wright won in the online sports reporting category for their interactive game “Staying In Bounds.” The game was created in response to NCAA investigations of university athletic programs. It takes users through a set of scenarios student athletes may encounter. Based on the users’ decisions in each scenario, the game flags NCAA violations, calculates punishments and highlights missed opportunities.

Justin Page was named the national winner in television sports reporting for his segment “Cost of Athletics” on the Carolina Week student newscast.

Now What Argentina?,” a multimedia website that documents life in Buenos Aires nearly a decade after the country’s most devastating economic crisis, won in the online feature reporting category. Carolina Connection, the school’s weekly student radio newscast that airs on WCHL 1360 AM, was recognized as best all-around radio newscast.

The Mark of Excellence awards recognize collegiate work published or broadcast during 2010. This year, student journalists submitted almost 4,000 entries.

UNC winners in the national competition were previously recognized by receiving first place in SPJ’s Region 2 competition.

First-place national winners will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference Sept. 25-27 in New Orleans.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, visit