Monday, 05 October 2020 14:35

UNCP journalism students earn honors for environmental reporting

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PEMBROKE — Five UNC Pembroke journalism alumni received third-place honors in a student category for environmental reporting, announced Sept. 30 during an annual award ceremony held by the Society of Environmental Journalists.


Jessica Horne (now a reporter for The Robesonian), Alex Smith, Tyana Morris Emberton, Sadira Bacchus and Jonathan Miller completed the award-winning project, “Hurricanes Spawn a Flood of Problems” for their Spring 2019 journalism capstone course, Investigative Journalism, taught by Dr. Darlene Natale in the Department of Mass Communication.

The winners of the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment were selected from the best articles, radio broadcasts and videos released from March 1, 2019, through Feb. 29, 2020. The SEJ competition was open to professional and student journalists from around the world.

Taking third place for “Outstanding Student Reporting,” the students were praised by the judges for “ambitious reporting done in a diverse and largely impoverished community. . . without the resources of a big journalism school.”  The judges noted that the series included “industrious interviews ranging from meteorologists to struggling mothers” and “painted a picture of an area unprepared and surprised by the storms, and struggling to recover.” 

“I was impressed by the range of perspectives the students decided to include and by their ability to collaborate yet also work independently,” Dr. Natale said. “This was the largest project in the course, where they also had assignments to learn and practice investigative reporting methods.”

The articles were published in the print edition of The Pine Needle, a student newspaper on campus, and may be read online at https://www.pineneedlenews.com/investigative.

The awards were presented virtually at the SEJ annual conference, which was held online this year.

Bacchus is an admissions coach in the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University and Emberton is a communications manager at The PAMCO Group in Washington, D.C. Miller was a varsity wrestler while at UNCP and graduated over the summer.