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April 11, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

The Rocket wins eight SPJ awards

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded eight 2013 Mark of Excellence Awards in Region 4, to The Rocket, Slippery Rock University's weekly student newspaper. Five of the awards went to Alex Mowrey, the newspaper's photo editor.

Mowrey, a communication major from San Diego, Calif., earned five awards, among them the top spot in three categories. He earned first place in the Sports Photography Category for his coverage of an SRU vs. Millersville men's soccer game; in the General News Photography Category for his coverage of a pep rally; and in the Feature Photography Category for his "Rockin' Bodies" coverage of the Mr./Ms. SRU Body Building Competition.

He received finalist awards for his coverage of an SRU vs. Shippensburg football game in the Sports Photography Category, and for his coverage of the Thompson Square concert in the Feature Photography Category.

Patrick McGill, a music education major from Washington, Pa., was named a finalist in the Breaking New Photography Category for his coverage of religious demonstrations on campus; and Jonathan Janasick, an English major from Mechanicsburg, was named a finalist in the Breaking News Reporting Category for his coverage related to the death of a local landlord. Janasick is the paper's news editor.

Katie Ellis, a communication major from Pittsburgh, received a finalist nod in the Best Use of Multimedia Coverage for her JFK: Remembering the President 50 Years Later work.

"This year editors and reporters have turned out some very remarkable editions," said Mark Zeltner, an associate professor of communication and the newspaper's adviser. "While the newspaper is a student-run organization, those on the staff gain hands-on experience of working as journalists. Their dedication and learning can clearly be seen in the number and quality of the awards they have received. I am very proud of them."

SPJ's Region 4 comprises Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and parts of western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh.

First-place winners move to the national MOE competition from the 12 SPJ regions.

National winners will be will be recognized at Excellence in Journalism 2014 in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 4-6.

The awards are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.