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DI’s Bruce takes first place in Hearst competition

BY ARIANA WITT | APRIL 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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Daily Iowan reporter Hayley Bruce has taken the first place Hearst award in spot news for her coverage of University of Iowa police’s investigation into Professor Gary Hunninghake — propeling the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication to a third-place overall finish in the prestigious intercollegiate competition.

Bruce, a UI sophomore, received an e-mail notifying her of her award in the 2011 William Randolph Hearst Awards’ spot-news writing competition while covering actor Ashton Kutcher’s surprise visit to campus Tuesday.

“I was shocked and really excited,” said Bruce, a native of Wheaton, Ill. “A lot of work went into it, and I was really happy to see such a positive result.”

Bruce placed for her Feb. 25 article, “UI to take internal action against prof cleared in child-porn case,” which uncovered UI police’s child-pornography investigation of Hunninghake.

A total of 83 students from 52 journalism schools entered this year’s spot news competition.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication has placed third overall in Hearst this year after Daily Iowan reporters placed high in other categories, including feature and sports writing.

“Finishing in the top three nationwide is a huge success for The Daily Iowan and the UI,” said Editor Brian Stewart. “This showcases The Daily Iowan as a high-quality training ground for great journalists.”

The Hearst Awards Program requires spot-news entries to be written about breaking news and against a deadline. Bruce and DI Managing Editor Clara Hogan received documents for the article via a public-records request at roughly 11 a.m. on Feb. 25, the day before publishing the exclusive piece.

“[Bruce’s] investigative mentality and ability to put together a fair and well-reported article in such a short time-frame is what makes her so deserving of her first-place award,” said Hogan, who oversaw in-depth projects for the DI this year. “She is one of the most professional and hard-working reporters I’ve met.”

Bruce, 20, gave credit to fellow staffers and editors for her success.

“Only working for the DI after a little over a semester at that point, I’m glad everyone working with me [on the story] was really supportive,” said Bruce, a journalism and political science double major. “I can’t stress enough what a key role my editors played in helping me get organized under a difficult time constraint.”

Bruce’s first place win comes with a $2,600 prize and qualifies her for the 51st Hearst Annual National Championship event in San Francisco in June.

DI sports reporter Scott Miller also qualified for the national competition for his third-place sports story, “Path of a fallen star: The sad ending to DJK’s story” after having one of the highest scores among second-place finishers.

Miller’s article was a detailed account of the aftermath surrounding the arrest of former Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.

“It should be a really good experience,” Miller said of the national competition. “I’m excited to get the chance to be around a lot of really smart journalists who have proven to be the best this year.”

The national competition will feature eight writing finalists from six categories. The overall winner will receive $5,000.

For Bruce, there’s no question about competing in the competition this summer.

“Oh, I’m going,” she said with a smile.


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