Hearst Journalism Awards 2017 national champions

In 2017, the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media won its third-straight Hearst national championship. And, for the first time ever, the Hearst Foundation awarded the national champions a $25,000 monetary award and announced that award will now go to the national champions each year.

The win brings the Hussman School's total to seven national championships — five since 2010 — for the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, more than any other university. 

Individual Hussman School students also won national championships. Claire Collins, a May 2017 graduate from Burlington, won the multimedia competition. Jessica O’Connor, a May 2017 graduate from Concord, won the radio competition. O’Connor also won the top radio story of the year award.

Mac Snyder, a Fall 2016 graduate from Charlotte, placed third nationally in the photo competition. Casey Toth, a May 2017 graduate from Cary, placed fifth in multimedia, and John Thomas, a May 2017 graduate from Elizabethtown, placed fifth in radio.

“I’m so proud of the sustained excellence of our students on the national stage and the faculty who mentor them,” said Susan King, dean of the school. “In the absence of recognized national rankings for media and journalism schools, we measure ourselves by our students’ success, and it is clear that our students are the leaders for the future of all forms of communication. Our students are on top in journalism, and our students are on top in strategic communication — we also won the top national honor in collegiate public relations this year. The success and momentum of our school is undeniable.”

Often called “the Pulitzers of college journalism,” the Hearst program holds year-long competitions in four categories: broadcast news, multimedia, photojournalism and writing. The categories include five monthly writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, three broadcast news competitions (one in radio and two in television) and four multimedia competitions — with championship finals in all divisions. The program awards scholarships to students for outstanding performance in college-level journalism, with matching grants to the students’ schools.

“Our student winners this year are carrying forward a proud legacy built by the students — now alumni — who came before them,” said C.A. Tuggle, the school’s senior associate dean for undergraduate studies. “Our faculty, staff, alumni and students are building and sustaining a culture of innovation and leadership in media and journalism.”

The overall intercollegiate winners are those schools with the highest combined student points. In addition to first place overall, the Hussman School finished second in the broadcast news, multimedia and photojournalism competition categories.


Hearst Journalism Awards Intercollegiate Competition


  • First place: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Broadcast News

  • Second place: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • First place: Jessica O'Connor


  • Second place: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • First place: Claire Collins


  • Second place: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Broadcast News (monthly)

Television I: Features 

  • Seventh place: Maddie Gardner

Radio: News and Features 

  • Sixth place: Jessica Paulina O’Connor
  • Seventh place: John Thomas 

Television II: News 

  • Tenth place: Jaclyn Lee 

National Finalists 

  • Jessica Paulina O'Connor
  • John Thomas

Multimedia (monthly)

Multimedia I: Features

  • Seventh place: Casey Toth

Multimedia II: News 

Multimedia III: Enterprise Reporting 

Multimedia IV: Team Reporting 

  • First place: The Watchman by Dillon Deaton, Kira Dalman, Alexis Barnes and Janell Smith
  • Sixth place: Claire Collins, Cole McCauley, Madison Walls, Lindsay Carbonell, Rob Gourley, Dillon Deaton, Alex Kormann and Vijay Rajkumar

National Finalists 

  • Claire Collins
  • Casey Toth

Photojournalism (monthly)

Photojournalism I: News & Features

Photojournalism II: Picture Stories/Series 

National Finalist

  • Mac Snyder

Writing (monthly)

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