Journalism and Public Relations Majors and Alumni Receive Awards from Pittsburgh Black Media Federation

Posted on 5/16/2018 8:56:05 AM

For their news reporting about race, diversity, and inclusion at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, four IUP Journalism and Public Relations Department majors and student reporters for the HawkEye, some now alumni, were honored by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation at its annual awards banquet at the University of Pittsburgh.

Three students won first-place honors, and one took second-place in a category for online news media.

In the Investigative/Enterprise category, Journalism and Public Relations alumna Emilee Larkin ’17 took first place for her May 6, 2017, story, “The Snapchat photo, revisited and reconsidered.”

In the Public Affairs category, alumna Septima Simpkins ’17 took first place for her opinion piece, “On being black at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.”

In the Education category, Alexandria Mansfield, a journalism and PR major from Wellsboro, took first place for her May 4, 2017, story, “IUP Punxsutawney’s racist past and present. ”

Also in the Education category, Tiffany Brisbon, a senior journalism and PR major from Philadelphia, took second place for her Dec. 29, 2017, story, “The racial climate on campus, and off.”

Ervin Dyer, of the University of Pittsburgh, an organizer of the federation’s 30th annual Robert L. Vann Media Awards event, praised the winners’ reporting.

“The judges were truly impressed with the students’ work,” Dyer said. “So, keep it up.”

Larkin, a court reporter in Philadelphia, expressed appreciation. “This is an incredible honor,” Larkin wrote in a May 4 e-mail.

Simpkins said she hoped her opinion piece served as inspiration. “I truly hope more students write their stories or the stories of others so that we can as a community really try to tackle this race struggle at the university,” Simpkins wrote in a May 4 e-mail.

Mansfield said she was pleased to make a difference. “It's really an honor to know that what I have written has impacted the community and brought light to a serious topic that has been ignored for too long,” Mansfield wrote in a May 5 e-mail.

Brisbon expressed appreciation for the recognition. “Being African-American, I’m proud to see the recognition that coverage of African-American and African diaspora communities of Western PA are getting by broadcasters, photographers, and writers like myself,” Brisbon wrote in a May 4 e-mail.