June 17, 2010 -- ABC News on Campus reporters made a strong showing at the 50th Annual Hearst Journalism Awards in New York City. Among the 10 finalists in the broadcast division (TV and radio), four of those students had participated in the ABC News on Campus program during the 2009-10 school year.
Upon arriving in New York, the Hearst finalists were asked to find a story about how public security has changed in New York City since 9/11, especially in the wake of the failed bombing attempt in Times Square last month. The students had one day to report the story, and another day to edit.
Miles Doran, a recent University of Florida graduate and Brandi Kruse of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln both earned top prizes for their stories. Miles received $5,000 for first place in the TV division, and an additional $1,000 for Best Use of Television for News Coverage -- a prize awarded to the best of all the Hearst entries, including those of semi-finalists. Kruse also earned the top prizes in the radio division, winning first place for her radio piece and also Best Use of Radio for News Coverage.
When asked how she plans to spend the $6,000, Kruse said she's focused on paying back student loans. As for Miles, who is now living in New York and working at CBS as a digital journalist, he's planning to put that money towards "moving expenses and new furniture ... and rent!"
Two other ABC News on Campus students also won awards. Lindsey Reiser, who recently graduated from Arizona State University, won second place for her broadcast package while Toby Phillips, also of Arizona State University, was a runner-up in the same category.
'If You See Something, Say Something'
For her radio piece, Kruse (pictured below) interviewed Duane Jackson, the street vendor who first spotted the suspicious vehicle in the May attempt.
She also spoke with the head of a private security agency in Times Square, a John Jay College professor and a partner in the New York City advertising firm behind the phrase, 'If You See Something, Say Something.'
"I'm happy. I'm surprised," said Kruse just after winning the award. "The first thing that came through my mind was my school is going to be so proud." The first person she called after winning the awards was Kathy Christensen, her On Campus faculty advisor.
Doran's winning broadcast story included interviews with New York City Councilman Peter Vallone, a former commanding officer with the New York Police Department's bomb squad, and another street vendor who alerted authorities last month.
Doran, who had participated in the Hearst competition twice before, said, "It sounds cliché, but third time's a charm."
On Campus Students Take Top Prizes at Hearst Awards
Reiser, who earned $4,000 for her broadcast package, said, "Honestly, it's thrilling to be the runner-up. I'm a little shocked."
"This is my orientation," she said of the competition, just days before starting her new job as a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist at News Channel 9 in El Paso, Texas. Reiser added that the experience of successfully reporting a story in New York City without any previous contacts was "a total confidence booster."
As for the prize money, Reiser plans to put it in her savings account. "Moving is expensive and when you first start working you don't have a paycheck for a few weeks," she said. "So it'll be 'just in case' money!"
Connecting With Life-Long New Yorkers
Phillips (pictured below) won a $1,500 scholarship for his video package. It was his first trip to New York.
"Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming. The city is so big, and there are so many people to talk to," Phillips said. "That being said, the competition was a blast."
"I chose to talk about people's feelings because I know those stories really resonate with audiences. People want to hear what their peers are thinking -- even if they don't agree with it. I found the best New Yorkers I could find -- people who have lived here for decades and 'seen it all' (including 9/11). They really made my piece."
Phillips is now moving on to other challenges, as he begins his new job as a producer at KOAT in Albuquerque, N.M.
The 50th annual Hearst Journalism Awards were held at the Hearst Tower in midtown Manhattan, with 25 finalists attending the event. The judges, who are professional journalists, evaluated more than 1,100 total entries this year in the writing, broadcast, photo and multimedia competitions.