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The Crimson White Wins National SPJ Breaking News Award for Second Consecutive Year

The Crimson White has won the Society of Professional Journalists’ prestigious national award for breaking news in the large university category for the second consecutive year, the SPJ announced May 1.

Editor-in-Chief Will Tucker, Managing Editor Ashley Chaffin, and reporters Katherine Owen and Mary Kathryn Patterson won first place nationally for their coverage of a July 2012 shooting spree in downtown Tuscaloosa in which a gunman injured 18 people, including 17 in a bar.

The award comes a year after The Crimson White also won first place in the same breaking news category for its April 2011 coverage of an EF-4 tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, killing 53 people, including six University of Alabama students.

The latest national award follows a flurry of SPJ Mark of Excellence regional honors for The Crimson White, announced in March. For the third consecutive year, The Crimson White was named the best all-around student daily newspaper in SPJ Region 3 (Southeast). It was one of five first place awards—and seven overall—won by the newspaper and its staff this spring. The SPJ’s Region 3 includes universities in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.

Here is a list of the newspaper’s SPJ regional awards, each in the large university (more than 10,000 students) categories:

Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper
First Place: The Crimson White.

Breaking News Reporting First Place: “Police arrest Temerson Square gunman” by Will Tucker, Ashley Chaffin, Katherine Owen and Mary Kathryn Patterson.

Feature Writing First Place: “Harder than we thought” by Jonathan Reed.

Editorial Writing First Place: “University must do more to maintain student safety.” Staff. The Crimson White.

Sports Photography First Place: “Sidelined” by Caitlin Trotter.

Sports Writing Second Place: “Fight On, Fight On” by Marc Torrence

Best Affiliated Website Third Place: The Crimson White.

The SPJ awards were the latest in a series of honors recently awarded to The Crimson White.

In February, The Crimson White was named the Best College Newspaper and Best College News Website by the Southeastern Journalism Conference. Those first place rankings were among nine awards the newspaper and its staff received in the SEJC’s annual “Best of the South” contest.

Will Tucker, editor-in-chief of The Crimson White, was named the SEJC’s 2012 College Journalist of the Year for his commitment to investigating a series of fraternity hazing incidents, and for establishing a new confirmation system for ensuring accuracy of information.

Among the nine awards, The Crimson White reporters also won first place honors in feature writing, special event reporting, and sports writing.

The SEJC consists of 45 member universities in eight southeastern states.

Also, in March, The Crimson White received a Silver Crown award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association at Columbia University in New York. More than 1,300 college publications nationally were eligible for the awards, and The Crimson White was one of just 18 college newspapers to win Silver or Gold crowns for their print editions.