Robert Novak Award Winners Announced

This just in: Two seniors from Colorado State University won the 2009 Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award beating 240 college journalists from around the country for a $5,000 prize.  

J. David McSwane and Aaron Hedge exposed the misdeeds of their school’s president, Larry Penley, and former police chief, Dexter Yarbrough, causing their resignations.

Here’s excerpts from the press release:

According to one of the judges for the award McSwane and Hedge consistently held high-profile university officials accountable for their questionable conduct in stories that are meticulously documented, triple-checked and supplemented with audio and documents.

CSU Police Chief Yarbrough resigned after allegations of sexual harassment, falsifying police reports, and promoting potentially illegal police behavior surfaced. CSU President Penley resigned amidst scrutiny of his administration’s mismanagement of millions of dollars.

Second for the Novak Award went to James Kindle from the Cronkite Zine, Arizona State University’s online magazine, for his series that explored the lives of immigrants in South Africa. The University of Georgia’s Amanda Woodruff earned third place for uncovering the legal “foibles and fumbles” of the UGA Administration, including uncovering the details of a U.S. Civil Court case involving sexual harassment allegations against the dean of the journalism school.

 The Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award recognizes excellence in collegiate reporting in which the student’s work demonstrates an understanding of the basic ideas that support a free society. Renamed last year for the veteran newsman and former award judge, this award is one of three sponsored by the Institute on Political Journalism, the collegiate journalism program of The Fund for American Studies.

The Institute on Political Journalism is sponsored by The Fund for American Studies a Washington, D.C. educational nonprofit. IPJ is one of five internship programs for college students administered in partnership with Georgetown University. For more information, visit

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One response to “Robert Novak Award Winners Announced

  1. Odd that you don’t list The Journal News, your local Westchester/Rockland newspaper, anywhere here —— or did I miss it? Two of The New York Times top journos are Purchase grads AND Journal News alums: The NYT’s chief political reporter, Adam Nagourney (he covered the last two presidential elections for the Times), spent at least five years at TJN before moving onto USA Today and then finally The Gray Lady. His brother Eric, a copy editor and science writer at the Times, also graduated Purchase and worked at The Journal News for at least six years.

    In fact, The Journal News, a 110,000-a-day daily based in White Plains, has many more alumni who’ve gone onto the Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, the NY Post, Newsday, The San Jose Mercury News and The Baltimore Sun, to name but a few (not including various blogs and Web media). One of my investigative reporters, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, left The Daily News after eight years for a better salary and job at our paper. At least three of the major bylines you see in The Daily News today belong to reporters who learned their chops at — yep — The Journal News, including star reporter Alison Gendar. The New York Post’s investigative reporter Bruce Golding, GA Melissa Klein and editor Dan Greenfield, each spent more than 10 years at The Journal News. Another of our reporters at TJN, Gary Stern, won the top national award for religion reporting in the U.S. two years running, beating out writers for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. He’s also the author of a well-received book on a major imprint.
    Debra West, one our editorial page writers is a New York Times alum.
    Our Web site,, was the first in the metro area to stream live local coverage.

    I could go on in this vein for a while … My point is simply this: don’t overlook a local resource, The Journal News, that puts out a pretty damn good paper every day right here in your home county.

    John Alcott
    Metro/Special Projects Editor
    The Journal News
    One Gannett Drive White Plains 10604

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