For the fourth time in program history, and the first time since 2005, the Western Kentucky University School of Journalism and Broadcasting has won the 2018 Hearst Overall National Championship Award, an award that is frequently referred to as the "Pulitzer of college journalism."
"When it comes to journalism, we always seem to kind of hang in there and keep our name at the top of the national rankings, which is pretty exciting," said School of Journalism Interim Assistant Director Jeanie Adams-Smith.
In addition to placing first in the overall competition, the School of Journalism and Broadcasting took fifth in the news writing competition, first in the multimedia competition (for the seventh consecutive year), and first in the photojournalism competition for the 24th time in the past 29 years.
Western has now placed in the top eight nationally for 25 consecutive years, a mark of success that Adams-Smith attributes to the well-rounded curriculum offered in classes at Jody Richards Hall.
"We've got exceptional writing students," she said. "Our broadcast and film program is top notch. It takes all of these programs, including photojournalism, to really raise the bar."
In a time when the world of journalism is changing, WKU has focused on teaching the roots of good journalism in every single one of their students. Clearly that strategy has paid dividends as the school continues to received Hearst awards year after year.
"What Western continues to do well is strong, ethical storytelling, strong foundation skills," Adams-Smith said. "We start there with every student."
Despite having a phenomenal facility, an abundance of resources, and a variety of core-journalistic based courses, Adams-Smith knows that none of this success would be possible without a talent staff and student body.
"We rely a lot on the hard work and grit of our students and our faculty," she said.