Missouri School of Journalism students kick off the Hearst Awards season with multiple wins 

Reynolds Journalism Institute exterior

March 25, 2024

The 64th annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program already features six student winners from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, with four students placing in the top 10 in their respective categories.

These successes kick off a strong start to the 2023-24 Hearst award season, where the national competition awards scholarships for college students practicing journalism via visual, written and auditory mediums and will continue through spring.

“Congratulations to these students for putting together some of the finest work in the nation in a variety of categories,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism. “From multimedia community reporting to documentary filmmaking, our students are gaining hands-on experience in professional settings, and the results of that approach are clear.”

In the Photojournalism News and Features Competition, senior Owen Ziliak took first place for a series of photo stories, while junior Kate Cassady, a visual editor at the Columbia Missourian, placed eighth. Ziliak’s placement at the top of the winners lineup earns him a $3,000 scholarship and qualifies him for the National Photojournalism Competition in June.  

The Multimedia Narrative Storytelling competition saw Katie Kriz, BJ ’23, take fourth place, a spot accompanied with a $1,000 award, which was awarded for her short documentary Exposed, a narrative about a 52-year-old woman living with a rare disease called Xeroderma Pigmentosum, characterized by an “intense allergy to sunlight.” 

Senior broadcast journalism student Jackson Valenti won fourth place in the Television Features category for three different stories produced at the school’s NBC affiliate TV station, KOMU-TV. Valenti was proud of the impact of his story on raising awareness of Columbia’s homeless population.

Additional students named in the top 20 in Hearst contests were Maggie Trovato, who earned 15th place in the Explanatory Reporting competition, and Shay Lawson, who took 19th place in Television Features.

Read more from the Missouri School of Journalism

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