Awards are not the only way to measure a program, but they certainly offer some testament to talent, dedication and commitment.

And with good reason, the University of Montana is beaming with pride over the recent achievements of some its outstanding students. Remarkable finishes by some of those students helped beat out far larger programs such as Maryland, Indiana, Oregon, Penn State and Michigan State.

UM News Service tells us that strong student work in writing and photography has resulted in the University of Montana School of Journalism jumping two spots to No. 8 in the nation during the prestigious Hearst Journalism Intercollegiate Competition. The contest judges entries from accredited journalism programs and assigns points to both the journalist and the program.

This year, UM boasts second-place finishes for two of its students: Clarise Larson for feature writing and Griffen Smith for sports reporting. Former Kaimin (the UM student news publication) photographer Antonio Ibarra earned a third-place finish in feature photography.

To achieve that No. 8 ranking, UM placed sixth overall in writing and 10th in photojournalism. Last year, the program was 10th in the overall ranking.

Lee Banville, director of the School of Journalism, told UM News Service that, “The Hearst awards are really a great way to compare the quality of the work coming out of different programs around the country. This year showed again our students are among the best in the nation.”

Just a few weeks ago, UM’s J-school brought home a number of Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence awards for the Northwest Region. In Region 10 (Montana, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska), Montana scored major wins in radio, photography, television and in-depth projects. Those 12 winners move on to the national awards later this summer. The winners were:

>In-depth Reporting: “Northern Ireland”

>Sports Writing: Jack Marshall

>Best All-around Newspaper: The Montana Kaimin

>Best Independent Online Publication: Native News

>General News Photography: Antonio Ibarra

>Sports Photography: Antonio Ibarra

>Feature Videography: Austin Amestoy

>Radio News: Izaak Opatz

>Radio Feature: Elinor Smith

>Radio In-depth: Hailey Smalley

>Television Feature: Henry Pree

>Television In-depth: “Unseen Engines”

Congratulations to all and best of luck in future competitions!

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