Northwestern staff members, students recognized at SPJ awards competition

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Northwestern staff members, students recognized at SPJ awards competition

February 25, 2010

Valarie Case
For eight consecutive years, Valarie Case has received recognition from SPJ for her work in public relations. This year she received five awards at the annual banquet.

Students and staff members from Northwestern Oklahoma State University were recognized during the Oklahoma Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) awards banquet Saturday, Feb. 20, at Rocky’s in downtown Oklahoma City.

Journalists from two out-of-state SPJ chapters judged the contest’s more than 1,200 entries.

Awards were presented in newspaper, television, radio, magazines, online and public relations.

Entries are judged on overall excellence, service to the community, and contribution to the public’s understanding of issues and events. Judging criteria also may include readability, accuracy and completeness, as well as depth of research, quality of presentation and difficulty in obtaining information. Winners may be named for first, second, third place or honorable mention.

Valarie Case, university relations specialist, received five awards, and has been recognized with at least one award per year for her work since the 2002-2003 SPJ competition.

Case received honorable mention recognition in the Public Relations category for her press release written about Northwestern’s television station NWTV7 winning the OBEA award for state’s best newscast.

 Crystal Herber
Northwestern senior Crystal Herber came home with two first place awards from the SPJ banquet.

Case’s awards, all in Photojournalism and on the Northwestern web site, are as follows:
• Feature photography: second, “Rockin’ Out to ‘RED;’”
• Sports photography: third, photo of Ranger football player Lantz Mathers;
• General photography: second, “NWTV7 Wins” – photo of news anchors and adviser getting ready for a news cast after being named the state’s best;
• Best photographic portfolio: third, included photos of those above, as well as photos of the Ranger statue with freezing fog, and a science classroom.

“I’m honored to win these awards presented by SPJ, especially when I know that professionals in the fields of journalism and public relations are the judges, and they can decide whether or not an entry category is deserving of an award at all,” Case said.

“I continue to learn about and practice my photography and writing skills every day, and awards like these are just the icing on the cake.”

Also winning an award in the Public Relations category were Tim Lauderdale, recruiter, and Janet Valencia, coordinator of Printing Services. They received honorable mention for their work on the Northwestern Foundation annual report.

Ashton Ghaemi
Ashton Ghaemi earned an honorable mention in the Entertainment Feature category for an article titled “Readers ‘bitten’ by the Twilight Saga,” during the annual Society of Professional Journalists banquet Saturday.

“This is the first award I have won for design and layout,” Valencia said. “I am honored that Tim and I could do this together.”

Both Valencia and Lauderdale said they were excited to win this award.

“This is the first professional award that I’ve won,” Lauderdale said.

Crystal Herber, Alva senior, won two first place awards. One in the Entertainment feature, for a story on the Red Riot Concert band “RED,” and another in the Criminal Justice Reporting category for an article about rape charges filed on a student.

“I feel that these awards are important because I proved myself among professionals,” Herber said.

“I am proud that I could bring recognition to Northwestern's communication department through my awards. These awards show that all my hard work over the past four years has paid off.”

Ashton Ghaemi, Broken Arrow senior, earned an honorable mention in the Entertainment Feature category for an article titled “Readers ‘bitten’ by the Twilight Saga.”

“I am thrilled for the professional recognition,” Ghaemi said. “The awards ceremony was fun not only because Crystal and I won awards, but because we saw Gary England accept the Lifetime Achievement Award.”