IUPUI Journalism student and alums bring home reporting awards
Rebecca Harris | December 21, 2016
Four IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations students and alumni won Better Newspaper Contest awards at the Hoosier State Press Association luncheon on Dec. 3, 2016. Sarah Bahr, Corey Elliot, Rob Hunt and Dylan Trimpe were all recognized for their work over the past year.
Bahr is a junior studying Journalism, English and Spanish, along with two minors. She placed second in the HSPA college division for feature writing for a story about David Gurecki, a swing dancer at IUPUI.
Bahr originally planned to write a fun story about Gurecki’s life as a student and a dancer as a final project for a reporting class. However, in her words, the “original draft imploded” partway through the interview. After Bahr asked Gurecki if he worked in high school, he launched into a tale about his mother’s cancer and later, death; his time spent in poverty (he lived without running water for nine months); and his battle with depression.
“At this point, I just threw my question list into the growing dumpster fire and improvised the rest of the interview,” Bahr wrote in a note to her professor.
Bahr’s dedication and patience to telling Gurecki’s full story paid off, as it was published in the Campus Citizen and is now an award-winner.
“It’s very cool to know that my work stacks up with that of some of the best journalists in the state,” she said.
Elliot is a 2015 graduate of the IUPUI journalism program. While in school, he concentrated on sports journalism. However, his career has already taken him into different realms of the journalism world. He and his managing editor, Annie Goeller, at the Daily Journal—based in Franklin, Ind.—placed first in the breaking news category for their coverage of several I-65 fatalities that occurred during 2015.
“It was tough starting out as a news reporter,” Elliot said. “And it was definitely a challenge to motivate myself to have as much enthusiasm for city government and breaking news as I did for box scores and sports columns.”
Elliot is in his third-year as a sports correspondent for the Associated Press, a position he’s held since his undergraduate days, and an account manager at Hirons, a public relations agency. While he no longer works at the Daily Journal, Elliot gives all the credit to Goeller and editor Michele Holtkamp for the win and for helping him develop as a reporter.
“Winning this first-place award was validation that I am not just a sports journalist, but in fact I am a well-rounded journalist, and this award is indicative of my growth and development,” he said. “If it weren't for [Goeller and Holtkamp] at the Daily Journal, I wouldn't be talking to you about a first-place award for best coverage in deadline news.”
Hunt and Trimpe both earned awards in sports categories in Division One, which recognizes non-dailies under 3,001 in circulation.
Hunt, a 2016 graduate, placed first for Best Sports Event Coverage for his story on Lapel High School’s 2A boys basketball state championship.
“It’s amazing and totally unexpected,” Hunt said of the award. “While the award is great, that’s not why I do this. But it’s nice to be recognized by my peers.”
Hunt covers local sports for the Pendleton Times-Post, mostly writing about Pendleton Heights High School and Lapel. He’s freelanced for the publication since the fall of 2014. Hunt said he learned a lot in his classes that he’s used in the professional world.
“I learned the importance of networking,” he said. “And that pursuing a story that interests me often requires stepping way out of my comfort zone. It's essential.”
Trimpe won first place in the Best Sports News or Feature coverage category for the Hendricks County Flyer. The winning piece was about the Brownsburg High School lacrosse team raising money for a local wheelchair lacrosse team. Trimpe also placed second in the Best Sports Event Coverage.
“It feels really good to be recognized for something I was able to throw together,” he said. “In an industry where everything is judged by clicks and views, it's cool to have someone say you did a good job for a change.”
Trimpe graduated in 2015 and is currently sports editor at the Flyer.