Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Journalism students earn prestigious awardsThree Oakland University graduates and one student were recently recognized for outstanding journalism abilities.
Spring graduates Jamie Waugh, CAS ’06, and Jeff Kranitz, CAS ’06, were presented with prestigious OU Excellence in Journalism awards for their intrepid reporting skills.
Waugh won the OU Excellence in Journalism award for her story “Behind the Veil,” which appeared in The Oakland Post, Oakland University’s independent student newspaper. For the story, Waugh dressed as a traditional Muslim woman for several days and wrote about the reactions she received in the community.
According to Mike Lewis, director of OU’s journalism program, “Jamie’s story made an important contribution to cultural understandings during a time of high tension among different groups and cultures. She’s planning to use her journalism background to prepare her for law school, and ‘Behind the Veil’ shows that she has the right stuff for whatever path she chooses.”
Kranitz was honored for his story on children with cerebral palsy, which aired on OUTV.
“Jeff's story was a touching report on children with cerebral palsy and how OU grads are helping them make remarkable strides through new physical therapy techniques. His compassion for people marks Jeff as an up-and-coming writer,” said Lewis.
Waugh and Kranitz each received $2,500 from the Vivian Vivio Stolaruk and Steve Stolaruk Foundation as part of their awards.
Roqaya Ashmawey, CAS ’06, earned the Staffer of the Year award from the Oakland Post for her exemplary leadership and journalistic skills. During her tenure as editor-in-chief, Ashmawey revamped the paper’s design and content, as well as the staff structure.
“The result is revolutionary. Her efforts resulted in a phenomenal ‘second wind’ for the paper,” said Holly Gilbert, who teaches in OU’s journalism department.
“Roqaya is a champion of civic journalism and has brought an unprecedented world-view to the paper through the staff and the story selection. She has earned the respect and admiration of the entire staff as a leader and a journalist,” said Gilbert.
Ashmawey was also awarded the Detroit Press Foundation's award in the student feature writing category for her story "It may be time to seek therapy," which ran in The Oakland Post. Ashmawey's story received top honors over many others written by students from all over the state.
Ashmawey will resume her post as the Post’s editor-in-chief in the fall when she returns to OU as a graduate student.
Junior Karen Auchterlonie was honored with the Oakland Press Endowed Scholarship for Journalism Excellence, and will receive $2,000 to apply to her 2006-2007 tuition. She is a full-time student and works as an Editorial Department assistant at The Oakland Press.
"A number of fine students applied for The Oakland Press scholarship, but Karen's credentials were extraordinary. In addition to her superior grade point average, Karen impressed the committee with her energy and work ethic. She juggles a full-time job with being a full-time student and excels at both,” said Garry Gilbert, CAS ’95 and ’02. "Once you meet Karen, you realize she cares about quality journalism and the role it plays in American society. She is a classic example of the deserving students we had in mind when this endowment was created in 1999."
The scholarship encourages students to be watchdogs of government and to challenge authority.
“The scholarship means a lot. It holds two meanings because it reinforces the idea that we should always be working for what’s best in the community, and to give back to the community,” said Auchterlonie, who wanted to be a reporter since she was in first grade. “I really hope I can be a good reporter and gain the trust of the public. And later in my career, I hope I can move into editing and help the publication keep current.”