Civic Project Story Wins Another Keystone Award for the “HawkEye”

Posted on 3/4/2015 10:37:08 AM

Cody Benjamin. Photo by David LoomisThe HawkEye online newspaper has notched another award for its reporting, the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association announced late last month.

Journalism student Cody Benjamin, a junior from Lititz, Pa., won honorable mention for sports reporting. His Dec. 18 story reported on favoritism, financial contributions, and family connections in IUP’s NCAA Division II football program. Benjamin contacted more than 40 sources for the story, including nearly two dozen current and former players, seven university administrators, four coaches, and seven other sources to verify allegations made by the program’s players.  

Readership statistics show that the story is the most-read in the HawkEye’s history.

Editor David Loomis,  an IUP Journalism professor, praised the work of Benjamin, sports editor of the Penn, the campus’ student newspaper.

“Cody’s story and its half-dozen sidebars reflect some of the most thorough reporting the HawkEye ever has published,” Loomis said. “His work is a model of professional-grade sports journalism, and it’s a first-rate example of investigative public-service reporting, too.”

Loomis added that Benjamin’s competition for the annual statewide journalism awards included the state’s top schools, such as Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Penn State.

Benjamin’s story was published as part of the Civic Project, a decade-long, community-focused, watchdog-journalism initiative rooted in News Reporting classes taught by Loomis.

The latest award continues a string of honors dating to 2005 that have flowed from the statewide press association to the digital online newspaper and the IUP journalism program. Six times, student investigative stories published by the HawkEye have been submitted to the Keystone Awards competition. Six times, they have won awards.

A banquet to honor 2015 winners is scheduled for the Student Keystone Press Awards Luncheon on April 1 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. For more information, contact Loomis at doloomis@iup.edu or call the Journalism Department at 724-357-4411.