SPJ Region 9 Mark of Excellence Winners Announced


Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students

Winner: Students, community protest Honor Code Office on campus – by Staff, Brigham Young University

Finalist: SLC police confirm death of U student MacKenzie Lueck, charge suspect with murder – by Elise Vandersteen Bailey, Jacqueline Mumford and Ana Luiza F. Ramos, University of Utah

Finalist: BYU valedictorian comes out as gay in viral convocation speech – by Jenna Alton, Brigham Young University

General News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students

Winner: Anti-vaccination movement threatens global health – by Jenna Alton, Brigham Young University

Finalist: The perfect stranger: A cautionary tale of online dating – by Riley Waldman, Brigham Young University

Finalist: A silent campus: CSU during 9/11 – by Austin Fleskes and Ravyn Cullor, Colorado State University

In-Depth Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students

Winner: Is press freedom – both at home and abroad – declining under the Trump administration? – by Kaitlyn Bancroft, Brigham Young University

Finalist: Climate change means uncertain future for New Mexico chile farmers – by Leah Romero, New Mexico State University

Finalist: A student’s guide to your professor’s career, parts 1-5 – by Samantha Ye, Colorado State University

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students

Winner: A haunted journey into Tivoli’s catacombs – by Brady Pieper, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Finalist: How a former BYU football player has been combining sports and sculpture for nearly 40 years – by Kaitlyn Bancroft, Brigham Young University

Finalist: The wheel deal, one man’s mission to help those in need – by Austin Fleskes, Colorado State University

Continue reading “SPJ Region 9 Mark of Excellence Winners Announced”

Governor Addresses Free Child Care for News Media, Other Essential Workers


Colorado Public Radio

March 30, 2020

Essential workers who are exempt from Colorado’s stay-at-home order are eligible to get full tuition credit for child care until May 17. The directive went into effect immediately Monday [March 30, 2020].

Michelle Barnes, the executive director of the Department of Human Services, said the idea came when COVID-19 social distancing measures began to shut down child care centers across the state.

“Right now, we’re expecting essential workers to be working extra hours, to be front line,” Barnes said. “We want to ensure that the parents have access to affordable child care during this time.”

Families interested in being matched with a local child care provider can fill out the form at https://covidchildcarecolorado.com to immediately begin the matching process.

The list of essential workers who will be covered includes:

  • Health Care Operations
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Critical Retail
  • Critical Services
  • News Media
  • Financial Institutions
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations
  • Construction
  • Defense
  • Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses
  • Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services

Continue reading “Governor Addresses Free Child Care for News Media, Other Essential Workers”

How Colorado Public Radio Reports Coronavirus News


News Director, Colorado Public Radio

Rachel Estabrook

March 29, 2020

Two weeks ago, I took my son to the playground near our house in Denver. He climbed up the stairs to the top of the tallest slide, stopping to watch the bigger kids glide right past him. My son waited his turn, then grinned and slid down, skating off the end into my arms. It was routine and also a highlight of our weekend.

Now, when we go out for a walk, I pick up the pace to a jog when we start approaching the playground. My son, who’s just starting to talk, points and says “slide.” I ignore him, hoping he’ll forget about it. We can’t stop and slide today. They’re closed, as of last Thursday. Even before that, I wouldn’t have stopped. What if one of the other kids, or their parents, inadvertently brought the new coronavirus to the playground?

Denver’s City Park community-built playground is closed off to visitors on Thursday [March 26, 2020], during the stay-at-home orders to battle the spread of coronavirus.
Life has changed in so many of these small ways. Then there are bigger ways: Tens of thousands of unemployment claims in Colorado. Thousands of people here are sick with a disease we still don’t know enough about. Dozens have died in the state, as of today. We anticipate more will.

At a time when so much is changing so significantly — and so quickly — the need for meaningful news and information is higher than on a normal day. What’s closed off? How can I safely buy groceries? How should I interpret the new numbers of positive tests? Is there any relief for people being laid off? How can I help my neighbors?

Colorado Public Radio News has changed its work schedules and its priorities to meet that demand. We have more journalists working early mornings, evenings and weekends than ever before. That’s because in just one week, the governor closed K-12 schools around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. In combing through an executive order at 6:48 p.m. on Wednesday, we saw the state health department restricted gatherings of more than 10 people. Then Rocky Mountain National Park closed indefinitely around 8 p.m. on Friday.

Continue reading “How Colorado Public Radio Reports Coronavirus News”

Top of Rockies Awards Event Is Postponed


The Top of the Rockies Awards event, scheduled for Friday, April 17, at the Denver Press Club, has been postponed.

A new date has not been set. Developments will be posted on this website as they are finalized.

We’re sorry about the postponement, but it is the prudent thing to do because of the health situation.

POSTPONED — [Covid-19] Sunshine Week Panel on Campus Sexual Assault Set for March 19


The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition will present a panel about reporting on campus sexual assault and abuse at the University of Denver on Thursday, March 19. The panel is open to the public, free to CFOIC members, $10 for students and $25 for others.

The panel, part of the annual Sunshine Week activities, is cosponsored by the Colorado Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, CFOIC, DU’s Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media, The Denver Post, The Colorado Sun, 9News (KUSA, Channel 9), GroundFloor Media and the BakerHostetler law firm.

The panel will be headlined by Boulder-based journalist and author Jon Krakauer, who will be joined by Gwen Florio, editor of the Missoulian; and Montana media attorney Mike Meloy. It will be moderated by Jeremy Jojola, 9News investigative reporter.

Continue reading “POSTPONED — [Covid-19] Sunshine Week Panel on Campus Sexual Assault Set for March 19”

SPJ Region 9 Conference in Salt Lake City Is Postponed

SPJ’s Utah Headliners Chapter has postponed the Region 9 Conference, originally scheduled for March 26-28 in Salt Lake City, the chapter has announced. The postponement was caused by concerns about COVID-19, the coronavirus.

No date has been set for the rescheduled conference, but it likely will be in Fall 2020, the chapter said.

Further details will be made public by Utah Headliners when decisions are made.


SPJ Colorado Pro Awards 2021 Scholarships


The state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has awarded 10 scholarships to Colorado college students for the 2021 academic year.

SPJ’s Colorado Pro Chapter awards the scholarships annually in a competition in which students submit samples of published work and an essay about why they are passionate about the profession.

Scholarship amounts, which are based on quality of their published work, academic performance and financial need, topped out at $2,000 for the two leading recipients. A total of $13,250 was awarded.

Recipients of the Sheldon Peterson broadcast scholarship are (for varying amounts):

Cesareo Sifuentes, a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Lauren Wadsworth, a student at Colorado State University.
Sydney Wicker, also a student at CSU.

Winners of the Helen Verba convergent journalism scholarship are (for varying amounts):

Robert Tann, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Juana Rocha, a student at Arapahoe Community College.
Kerry McCawley, a student at Metro State.
Riley Lovato, a student at CU-Boulder.
Heather Davis, also at Metro State.
Jack Taylor, a student at Colorado State University
Dylan Carpenter, also at CU-Boulder.

“This year’s applicants were an unusually strong group,” said scholarship committee chair Doug Bell. “Given the challenges our industry is facing, it’s great to see young journalists doing strong and important work at the college level.”

Any Colorado journalism student, including high school students, may apply for the SPJ scholarships, which are announced at the chapter’s awards ceremony each spring. Students should contact journalism instructors or advisers on their campuses for information on how to apply, or they can visit spjcolorado.com.