Three Missouri Journalism Students Are Finalists in SPJ National Mark of Excellence Awards Contest

Columbia, Mo. (June 3, 2003) — Three Missouri School of Journalism students have been named top national finalists in the 2002 Mark of Excellence Awards sponsored by The Society of Professional Journalists.

Society of Professional Journalists
Society of Professional Journalists

Marla Heiman placed in the television in-depth reporting category for her story, “Hunter at UIC,” which aired on the University’s commercial NBC affiliate, KOMU. Heiman is a new graduate from the School’s television news program. She has served as both reporter and weekend anchor at KOMU during the past year. In 2001 Heiman was awarded the Horace Mann Award from the Missouri National Education Association for the education stories she developed.

Justin Herndon’s story “Neverending War,” about Missouri state government’s inaccurate use of dates on Gulf War Veterans tributes, is nominated in the television feature reporting category. Herndon, a recent graduate of the broadcast news sequence with a minor in political science, won a 2002 Robert F. Hyland Prize and was KBIA‘s 2002 Feature Reporter of the Year for his NPR political reports from the state capital.

Tim Higgins placed in the general news reporting category for his story, “Despairing for Children’s Mental Health, Some Parents Give Up Custody.” Higgins wrote his story for The Associated Press as a student journalist. He finished school in December and currently works as a reporter at The Des Moines Register. He won SPJ’s 2000 Mark of Excellence Award in spot news reporting.

This year’s competition drew nearly 2,700 entries in 45 categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism. Before reaching the national competition, students placed first in SPJ’s regional competitions. The national winners will be announced at the Mark of Excellence Luncheon on Sept. 13 as part of the 2003 SPJ National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

The Missouri School of Journalism has one of the largest and most active SPJ chapters in the United States. SPJ is dedicated to improving and protecting journalism, encouraging its free practice and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.

Updated: March 25, 2020

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