Highland Cavalier writers win SPJ Mark of Excellence Award

Two Highland Cavalier student editors were awarded third place for sports writing in a regional contest Saturday for a 2011 sports story the pair penned together, officials announced today.

The Sept. 23 Highland Cavalier story “Cavs Sting Wasps, 33-30” recounted one of the most dramatic comebacks in the school’s football program history when the team won 33-30 over rival Emory & Henry, in what was likely the last meeting of the Southwest Virginia Bowl, a 17-year rivalry between the two schools.

Jordan Fifer and Jordan Childress shared a byline on the front page story.

“I’m very proud of the award and the high quality of journalism it represents,” said Jessica Shartouny, the paper’s current editor-in-chief. “It’s great that the two of them were recognized for the work they did.”

The Society of Professional Journalists announced the Region 2 Mark of Excellence Award winners for the 2011 calendar year on March 31 during the Region 2 SPJ Spring Conference held at Elon University in Elon, N.C. The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best collegiate journalism in the U.S.

Fifer, a junior interdisciplinary studies major, was editor-in-chief at The Highland Cavalier when the story was written. He’s currently serving as photo editor while on reduced medical leave. Fifer’s reporting and photography has appeared in The Roanoke Times, The Virginian-Pilot, The Coalfield Progress and other publications. His work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2010, and he has won several regional, state and national awards for newspaper writing, photography and videography.

Childress, a sophomore communication studies major, was assistant sports editor when the story was published. He’s since been promoted to sports editor. Childress regularly appears on local sports radio stations and works with the UVa-Wise athletic teams providing color-commentary on games.

SPJ Region 2 includes Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. This year, the contest received more than 4,000 entries across SPJ’s 12 regions.

For more information, visit the following web sites.

“Cavs Sting Wasps, 33-30” -- http://home.uvawise.edu/highlandcavalier/?p=4296
SPJ news release -- http://www.spj.org/news.asp?REF=1106#1106