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RELEASE DATE: August 16, 2013

Berry journalism students win national reporting award

Seven Berry College students majoring in communication placed third in the national Newspaper Project Award competition administered by the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication. Award presentations were made here earlier this month.


The students won for their multimedia reporting project, The Jews of Florence, which appears online at VikingFusion at


The students produced The Jews of Florence as part of their study abroad trip to Florence, Italy during summer 2012. During the three weeks in Italy they developed more than a dozen stories across multiple media to tell the story a minority presence dating back to the mid-15th century.


The Berry students placed third after first-place winner Northwestern University and second place winners Iowa State and James Madison. Berry tied for third with the University of Texas at Austin.


"The Jews of Florence project embodies precisely what our department aims to teach our students, which is how to tell a significant, worthwhile story using the most appropriate media possible," said Bob Frank, chair of the department of communication at Berry.


Story topics include how Jewish Florentines negotiate their religious and national identity in a predominantly Catholic country, a story on kosher Italian cooking, a photo tour of the city's only synagogue, and the heart-wrenching story of World War II survivor Fortunata Franchetti Treves.


The winners are 2013 graduates Bethany McDaniel of Hunstville, Ala., Kelly Dickerson of Brandon, Fla., Kayla Sanner of Evans, Ga., and current students Chardonnay Copeland of Hamilton, Ga., Kirstie Broadwell of Dawsonville, Ga., Rachel Shin of Fayetteville, Ga., and Mary Claire Stewart, of Lilburn, Ga.


Darren Carter, a Cedartown communication major and webmaster at VikingFusion, built the web pages for the series and, after a major server crash during winter, re-built all of the Jews of Florence pages.


"We are extremely proud of the students," said Curt Hersey, who taught videography on the two-course project. "It was an exciting experience to watch our students struggle through cultural and linguistic differences and technology issues, and still produce an award-winning set of stories in the space of three weeks."


Joining Hersey as instructors for the project were Kevin Kleine, lecturer of communication and student publications advisor at Berry, and Brian Carroll, associate professor of communication. Leading the support on the VikingFusion side was Steven Hames, advisor for Fusion and technologist with the department of communication.


"To be honest, I was intimidated by the converged media nature of our project, especially video," said Copeland, a senior communication major. "But I found out I could rise to a challenge, and I learned how to do journalism in any medium."


Conducted by the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication and administered by AEJMC's Newspaper and Online News Division, the Newspaper Project Award competition "recognizes publications produced by students and professors in journalism classes or as special curricular projects connected to courses."


The study abroad multimedia reporting practicum is offered by Berry every two years.


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For more information contact:

Chris Reinolds Kozelle
Director of News & Editorial Services
Jeanne Mathews
Asst. VP of PR & Marketing

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