Each and every year, Merrill College students at all levels are major award and scholarship winners. From student Emmy awards to the Broadcast Education Association, Society of Professional Journalists, The Big Ten Network and beyond, our students’ record reflects unparalleled excellence. They are #FearlessJournalists and #MerrillMade.

Below you’ll find a listing of our award-winning students and scholarship winners for 2017 (many times awards are for work done the previous year). Earlier years are in subsequent pages.

Find out more about how you can be part of our award-winning heritage by contacting the undergraduate office at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Our latest group shot of Merrill journalists Alex Flum, Hannah Yasharoff and Monica McNutt in Eilat, Israel.

Alex Flum, Hannah Yasharoff and Monica McNutt in Eilat, Israel.


Friendship Games: Merrill College students Hanna Yasharoff and Alex Flum, along with M.J. alumna Monica McNutt, spent June 29- July 6 in Eilat, Israel covering the Friendship Games. Designed to promote peace and goodwill, the Friendship Games are a basketball tournament for mostly college-age men and women. This year’s representatives included teams from Israel, Palestine, Lithuania, Jordan, Russia, Ukraine, Germany and Poland.

Merrill College has a complete wrap-up of all the reports, videos and podcasts, or you can check out the Povich Center website – where all the individual reports were posted.

The stories were also carried by the Sporting News, thebiglead.com, bestwatchnews.com, latimes.com and other news sites.

Note: The event’s organizers sponsored student coverage of the Friendship Games. Editorial control of the coverage and content remained with the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

2017 (Awards for work done during the 2016 school year)

In Poor Health CNS/Kaiser Health News Investigation. Photo by Iman Smith/Capital News Service.From Dean Lucy Dalglish: Congratulations to Merrill College’s urban journalism class, Capital News Service (Sean Mussenden) and Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag for winning NABJ’s Online Collegiate “Use of Multimedia – Special Project category.” They won for “In Poor Health: Why is Baltimore’s world-renowned health system struggling to keep Freddie Gray’s neighbors – – some of the cities poorest residents – – from getting sick?”

I’m very proud to be representing the college in New Orleans tonight (at the NABJ Conference – August, 2017))!



Maggie Gottlieb ’17 is the SPJ 2017 Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award winner. She is the seventh Merrill College student to be honored with the award, going back to 2002.

Gottlieb will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2017 conference Sept. 7-9 in Anaheim, California. Click here for a list of past winners.




In Poor Health CNS/Kaiser Health News Investigation. Photo by Iman Smith/Capital News Service.The New York Academy of Medicine gives its 2017 Urban Health Journalism Prize for the Kaiser Health News / Jay Hancock series about health disparities in Freddie Gray’s neighborhood. Students with the Philip Merrill College of Journalism played a major part in creating stories, graphics, photos and other content for the multi-award-winning series. See their In Poor Health website, which brings together all of the Merrill student work.




Sportscasters Talent Agency of America Jim Nance Awards.The Sportscasters Talent Agency of America announces its 2017 Jim Nance Award for America’s outstanding sports broadcasters. Alex Flum ’18 takes 18th place in the competition and Jake Eisenberg ’17 takes an honorable mention.



Merrill student Kyle Melnick ’18 is named second of 20 finalists in the Hearst  Personality/Profile Writing Competition. In the writing category, this competition focuses on a personality sketch of an individual on or off campus.




National Update:

CNS Named SPJ MOEy Award Finalist

CNS is one of five MOEy finalists who were selected from more than 4,000 entries in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards competition. The MOEy honors the best of the best in student journalism.

Student entries are first judged regionally in print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism categories. First-place regional winners advance to the national competition and then are able to compete for the MOEy award.

The winner of the MOEy will be presented at Excellence in Journalism 2017 during the Student Union event Sept. 8. (The event is free with EIJ17 registration.)


Maryland SPJ and Diamondback winners at the SPJ Regional Conference at Elon University. Weekend of April 8.CNS, ViewFinder, Diamondback Shine at SPJ Regional, National Awards

Fearless Journalism is what defines student work on the campus of the University of Maryland. Early April’s SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Region 2 award presentations helped prove just how true that is. Student work for the Capital News Service, ViewFinder and The Diamondback newspaper took home numerous awards across a wide-range of categories.

See all the student winners and finalists from Region 2 of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The SPJ Mark of Excellence national awards for 2016 were announced in late June and Merrill College won two national awards for cnsmanryland.org and the In Poor Health investigative series about Freddie Gray’s neighborhood. There were also six national finalists. The award winners will be honored during an SPJ gala June 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) awards

Merrill College student Natalie Griffin was part of the News21 student team that took first place in the “Student Reporting Large” category for their “Voting Wars: Rights | Power | Privilege” report, while “Discharging Trouble,” Capital News Service’s investigative report about abuses in senior care facilities in Maryland was a finalist. Merrill students included: Carlos Alfaro, Joe Antoshak, Darcy Costello, Morgan Eichensehr, Amanda Eisenberg, Nate Kresh, Teresa Lo, Zoe Sagalow, Catherine Sheffo and Daniel Trielli.

Full results

Merrill College sophomore Savannah Williams.Virginia Press Association Awards

Merrill College sophomore Savannah Williams wins a second and third place award from the Virginia Press Association as a result of her summer internship with the Tidewater Review.

The second place award – won with Virginia Pilot Editor Robert Brauchle was for a multimedia report. The third place award, with Bruachle and production editor Carol Barna won for a “combination picture and story.”

The awards were announced during the annual VPA awards banquet April 8, 2017.


MDDC Press Association Editorial Awards for 2017.Maryland, Delaware, DC (MDDC) Press Association Editorial Awards

Merrill College / Capital News Service sweeps the Online Only category of the association’s editorial awards. The judges write, “Good reporting and investigation and empowering readers to become an active participant in their community. Well written.”

Alana Pedalin, Alex Bayline, Ben Harris, Brittany Britto, Catherine Sheffo, Charlie Wright, Connor Glowacki, Connor Mount, Dan Russo, Eleanor Mueller, Eliana Block, Hannah Lang, J.F. Meils, Jake Eisenberg, Jordan Branch, Katishi Maake, Leo Traub, Marina di Marzo, Matt Ellentuck, Mina Haq, Robbie Greenspan, Ryan Connors, Troy Jefferson, Vickie Connor, Zachary Melvin. *Multiple winners.

A MDDC Press Association release says, “The Press Association will celebrate all of the winners at the Editorial Awards Luncheon, May 12, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Annapolis, MD.  During that program, we will reveal the individual winners and their placements, the Best in Show category winners and News Organization of the Year.  We will also recognize the James S. Keat FOI Award, the Michael S. Powell High School Journalist of the Year, and the Rookie of the Year.”

In Poor Health CNS/Kaiser Health News Investigation. Photo by Iman Smith/Capital News Service.National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation

A number of Merrill College students and faculty are named finalists by the NIHCM Foundation with Kaiser Health News for “Baltimore’s Other Divide.”

“Reporters from Kaiser Health News and the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism spent much of the fall in and around Sandtown-Winchester, a Baltimore neighborhood where violence flared last year after Freddie Gray was fatally injured in police custody. Residents say they have little more confidence in the medical system intended to heal them than in the criminal justice system intended to protect them. ”

Finalists include: Jay Hancock, Sarah Varney, Rachel Bluth, Sandy Banisky, Sean Mussenden, Rachel Greenwald, Nate Kresh, Madeleine Deason, Joey Trull, Rose Creasman Welcome, Lauren Burns, Jeremy Snow, Brittany Britto, Iman Smith, Amanda Eisenberg, Micha Green, Jake Bacher, Jordan Branch and Auburn Mann, “Baltimore’s Other Divide,” Kaiser Health News, NPR, PBS NewsHour, Capital News Service, 2/16/2016

Special Report: Baltimore’s Other Divide

Hearst Journalism Awards:

Andrew Dunn ’18 takes fifth place and a $1000 scholarship award in the Breaking News Writing category.

Michelle Chavez ’16 takes second place and a $2000 award in the TV2 News category. Merrill College will receive $2000 as well.

Two Merrill College students win Hearst Radio Awards. Matt Kubisiak’16 took 3rd place while Demi Chang’15 took 17th place. Both were top students in adjunct lecturer Jamie Forzato’s JOUR364 – Radio Broadcast class in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 respectively.

Merrill student Ellie Silverman’17 made the Top 10 (#8) of the Hearst Enterprise Writing Contest. This year the competition received 119 entries from 66 eligible undergraduate journalism programs.

Gracie Awards – Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced March 28, 2017 that Angelo Bavaro ’17 and Michelle Chavez ’16 were Gracie Award winners. Angelo, Michelle and other local and student award winners will be recognized at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 27 at Cipriani in New York City.

Chavez won for her “Behind Closed Doors” Capital News Service story in the hard news category. She won a Gracie last year as well.

Bavaro won in the “soft news” category for his CNS story, “The Business of Moving On.”

NATAS – The National Academy of Arts and Sciences – National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter announced their “Outstanding Achievement in Student Production” winners Feb. 23, and Merrill College took top honors once again.

Pillars and certificates for the College Student Production Awards will be presented at the Gold & Silver Circle Ceremony, March 4, 2017. The ceremony follows the annual student broadcast seminar Face Time with the Pros hosted by Merrill College earlier that day.

Here’s a complete list of winners:


Maryland Newsline, 11/30/16

News: General Assignment – Serious News:

CNS-Chicken Wars
Sara Dignan

CNS-Baltimore Deconstruction
Alex Pacinda

News: General Assignment – Light News

CNS-Bikes and Burden
Angelo Bavaro

CNS-Survivor Quilt
Michelle Chavez

Video Innovation Class -The Fight for Ferrets in Washington, D.C.
Anna Muckerman

Video Innovation Class – Mission Muffins
Anna Muckerman

Video Innovation Class – Growing Together
Becca King

Public Affairs/Community Service

ViewFinder Team: Fall ’16 Strength and Shame


ViewFinder – The Southern Barnyard Runners
Mackenzie Happe and Hannah Burton


ViewFinder Team: Fall ’16: Faces of the Fair

Non-Fiction: Long Form category

UMD Rival News-the rival news episode
(Rival News is produced by a UMD student group.)



White House News Photographers Association
2017 “Eyes of History®” Student Competition

Narrated (Reporter) Package category:

First Place

Angelo Bavaro ’17
CNS: The Business of Moving On

Second Place
Michelle Chavez ’16
CNS: Survivor Quilt

Natural Sound Package category:

First Place Alexandra Simon ’17
ViewFinder: Two Guys Feed the Fair

Second Place
Ryan Eskalis ’16
ViewFinder: Last Chance

Award of Excellence Susann Shin ’17
ViewFinder: Cruising on Camels

Award of Excellence Hannah Burton ’17 and Mackenzie Happe ’17
ViewFinder: The Southern Barnyard Runners

The top winners of the still, video, multimedia and student contests will be honored at the annual ‘Eyes of History®’ gala on June 10, 2017, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and the President of the United States.

NPPA 2017 Northern Short Course (Professional) Photo Contest Winners

Team Multimedia
Third place: Hannah Burton, Karen Castillo, Ryan Eskalis, Mya Green, Mackenzie Happe, Hannah Klarner, Susann Shin and Alexandra Simon: “ViewFinder Fall ‘16: Strength and Shame.”

Longform Multimedia Individual
Honorable mention: Ricky Lasser, “Forgiven”

Garland Award

During the awards dinner in Fairfax, Va. March 4,  NPPA will honor Adjunct lecturer Bethany Swain with the Garland Award for outstanding service as a photojournalism educator.

Broadcast Education Association 2017 Festival of Arts winners – Feb. 2017


Television Hard News Category 1st Place:
Michelle Chavez, University of Maryland; Battling Gangs: Kids Struggle to Escape Recruitment.

Television Newscast (airing 3 days per week or less)
2nd Place: Simone Thomas, Angelo Bavaro, Faye Curran & Staff, University of Maryland; Maryland Newsline November 30:


Best of Festival:
Television Hard News Category
Ryan Eskalis & Susann Shin, University of Maryland; ViewFinder: Blindsided

Short Form Video or Film Documentary Category
1st Place: Ricky Lasser, University of Maryland; ViewFinder: Forgiven

Television News Magazine Category
1st Place: Hannah Burton, Ryan Eskalis, Mya Green, Susann Shin, Hannah Klarner, Alexandra Simon, Karen Castilo, Mackenzie Happe, University of Maryland; ViewFinder Fall ’16: Strength and Shame.

Instructional/Educational Category
2nd Place: Hannah Burton & Ryan Eskalis, University of Maryland; ViewFinder: The Missing Half.


(The ViewFinder reports were produced for the campus PALS project in Howard County and Anne Arundel County.)