Articles about Durham’s prosecutor, a local murder case, and problems at the Duke Student Health Center were selected for top honors in the 2019 student journalism awards given by the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy.
Duke junior Rose Wong won first place in the Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism for “Vital Signs: An Investigative Look at a Pattern of Misdiagnoses and Inadequate Care at Duke Student Health,” a series of reported opinion columns in the Duke Chronicle.
Seniors Erin Williams and Ben Leonard were both selected as winners of the Fischer-Zernin Award for Local Journalism for articles published in The 9th Street Journal, a student website that covers Durham. Williams won for her in-depth profile of District Attorney Satana Deberry and Leonard was honored for “The Death of Bill Bishop: Did The Dog Do It?”, about the mysterious death of a Durham real estate developer.
Second place in the Melcher Award went to Max Donheiser, who graduated in 2019 and is now a data journalist in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, and junior Julianna Rennie for their investigative reporting into a Duke investment in a company connected with a controversial pipeline in Brazil.
Third place was awarded to junior Rebecca Torrence for her opinion column on Duke’s cumbersome process for students to report a sexual assault.
The Melcher awards include cash prizes of $750 for first, $500 for second and $250 for third. The Fischer-Zernin award will be $500 for each winner.
The awards will be presented at a dinner in the fall.