UNC Hussman wins the 2021 Hearst national championships; The school’s 6th national championship in 7 years
By Beth Hatcher
The nation’s most prestigious student journalism awards competition has once again recognized the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media’s overall preeminence in the field.
This is the sixth time in the past seven years the school has been named Hearst’s overall championship winner and the 10th since 2002 — the most of any other school. Hussman has finished in the top 5 every year since 2002.
“Year in and year out, regardless of challenges in their paths, our students continue to distinguish themselves as national leaders committed to their craft,” said Susan King, dean of the school. “Our faculty are focused on developing young talent into successful professionals who are perceptive, empathetic and skilled. And we are more than thrilled to take the national championship during this challenging year.”
Four UNC Hussman journalists were among a field of 28 chosen nationally to compete in the individual championship finals for audio, multimedia, photojournalism, television and writing — Nash Consing ’21 in multimedia, Hope Davison ’22 in multimedia, Angelica Edwards ’22 in photojournalism and Charlotte Ix ’21 in audio.
Davison won the individual multimedia national championship, for her project “Wild Heart,” which explored a young LGBTQ+ man’s acceptance of himself. The championship spot assignment had been to document a story of re-emergence as the country opened up as COVID-19 restrictions lifted. Davison’s championship comes with a $10,000 scholarship.
“Originally, I thought a story about how the pandemic restricted and caused so much hardship last year would be interesting from a performer's perspective since now things are relatively coming back to normal,” Davison said. “After meeting Marcus, who was performing a drag show at a local Pride [event] … I realized the actual story was less about the pandemic and more about his personal re-emergence story in terms of family, acceptance and identity.”
Davison also won a $1,000 scholarship for Best Multimedia Story of the Year for the project that qualified her for finals, “What’s next, Japan?”— a look at the issues facing working women in the Asian country.
Watch Davison's "Wild Heart" project.
“The ability to tell stories across platforms is important in today’s media landscape,” said Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and John H. Stembler Jr. Distinguished Professor Charlie Tuggle. “Hope is the latest in a long line of outstanding UNC Hussman multimedia storytellers.”
Consing was recognized as a runner-up in the multimedia final. His project documented the uncertainty that he and his friends felt as new college graduates during the 2020-21 year. He earned a $1,500 scholarship as a runner-up.
“It was an honor to represent the program and to be producing pieces next to so many amazing journalists and storytellers in the industry,” Consing said.
Edwards placed third nationally in photojournalism, winning a $5,000 scholarship for her photo essay documenting a mother navigating the challenges of working and raising a child during the pandemic.
“I think moms’ stories are often overlooked and not given much credit,” Edwards said. “It feels great to have my work recognized at such a prestigious level. Through this process I have made contact with people who are interested in working with me in the future, so I have established sources for future projects I may work on.”
Edwards also won a $1,000 scholarship for Best Photo for a photo from the portfolio that qualified her for finals. The photo depicts the sons of the late Keyla “Nunny” Reece grabbing a quiet moment of rest during a Thanksgiving holiday as their mother battled Stage 4 breast cancer.
Edwards won Best Photo for the photo below, which depicts Ryan Reece, 10, and Tylan Reece, 20, in a South Carolina hotel room. Their mother, Keyla "Nunny" Reece, had taken her family to Myrtle Beach to celebrate Ryan's birthday and Thanksgiving as she battled Stage 4 breast cancer.
Ix placed third nationally in the audio category, taking home a $5,000 scholarship for her piece exploring residents of her hometown, Southern Pines, North Carolina, grappling with whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“[The spot assignment] challenged me to make sure I was accurately and responsibly representing the opinions of the people I was interviewing,” Ix said. “It means so much to be a finalist and have my work recognized. I have spent much of my college career working in audio journalism and to get to this level and be amongst so many talented people is an honor.”
Tuggle said the Hearst results showcased the school’s overall strength as a journalism institution.
“When you’re as strong as UNC Hussman is across each of the competition’s mediums, it’s no surprise that our school won this top honor from Hearst,” Tuggle said. “This win is a testament to the dedication and the excellence of our faculty, students and staff.”
The Hearst Journalism Awards are the nation’s most prestigious student journalism awards competition and are often referred to as the Pulitzers of collegiate journalism.
The Hearst Championships are the culmination of the 2020-2021 monthly competitions in writing, photojournalism, audio, television and multimedia held at 104 ACEJMC-accredited journalism schools across the country.
Learn more about the championships and view the UNC Hussman students’ winning work in the competition here.