Photographer wins national award

Central Michigan Life received two national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists' 2007 Mark of Excellence Award.

Alex Stawinski, a CM Life photographer, was named the national feature writing winner for story, "The Power of Touch" that he wrote in April of 2007.

"It was pretty cool to be awarded a feature writing award," said Stawinski. "I really like feature writing."

The story was written about Jacob Hartshorne, a deaf and blind child with CHARGE syndrome.

"The award was really about him," said Stawinski. "His story was a privilege to tell - the way he learns and interprets the world."

In the category, Stawinski edged out a student from the University of Kansas and Albilene Christian University.

CM Life was also named a national finalist for the "Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper."

"This caps off a remarkable year of awards and recognition for the students of Central Michigan Life," said Neil Hopp, director of student media and adviser to the newspaper. "The staff won a total of 48 state and national awards, which may be the most ever for an academic year."

As a national winner, Stawinski will be honored at the 2008 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Atlanta.

Best non-daily includes any student newspaper published less than four times per week.

Former CM Life Editor-In-Chief David Harris was pleased to hear about the award.

"It's a testament to all the hard work that CM Life does," said Harris. "It proves that CM Life is one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation."

This year, more than 3,400 entries in 39 categories were submitted for the competition.

"For Alex and the staff to win on the national stage says a great deal about the ongoing quality of CMU's journalism program and the publication standards and consistency of CM Life," Hopp said.

Judging criteria includes accuracy, ingenuity, adherence to high journalistic standards, effectiveness, respect for the audience and adherence according to the SPJ code of ethics.

The SPJ presents the awards annually to honor the best in student journalism. The awards include 39 categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism.