College Earns Prestigious Awards from Indiana Society of Professional Journalists
Campus News

The Indiana Society of Professional Journalists recently announced awards, and Franklin College was recognized in several categories competing in the most prestigious professional category.

Earning two first place awards as a reporter at, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students, was Erica Irish, a junior. Irish received the top honor in the Consumer Affairs Reporting category for her piece, “Is your family complete? Experts say Indiana surrogates need legal protections and social visibility.” She also topped her competition in the Best Criminal Justice Reporting category for a series of articles on Indiana’s “Public Defender System.” Commenting on her work, the judges said, “Irish tackles the state of indigent defense decades after the Supreme Court’s Gideon decision and finds it sorely wanting in Indiana.” Irish is the daughter of Eric and Charise Irish of Indianapolis.

Also receiving a first place award was Franklin College alumnus John Krull in the Arts and Entertainment Writing category for his piece for Indianapolis Monthly, titled “War Torn.” The judges wrote: “John Krull’s remembrance of Kurt Vonnegut upon the 50th anniversary of “Slaughterhouse-Five” is masterfully written, replete with illuminating anecdotes and compelling stories. It’s a richly sourced piece that’s biographical in nature but lively, never plodding. Enhanced design and breakout sidebars further elevate the first-rate writing as does Mr. Krull’s perfect ending. This was an obvious winner. Well done!”

Krull serves as director of the Pulliam School of Journalism, professor of journalism and publisher of He graduated from Franklin College in 1981 and resides in Indianapolis.

Mary Beth Schneider, an editor with, received second place in the Best Column category. Schneider’s columns can be found in numerous newspapers around the state, including The Goshen News, The Greenfield Reporter, Terre Haute Tribune Star, Kokomo Tribune, Anderson Herald-Bulletin, Jefferson News and Tribune, Batesville Herald-Tribune, The Daily Journal and the Columbus Republic.  She is a resident of Indianapolis.

The staff of won a second-place award for Best Journalism Website for publications, websites and news services with circulations of more than 30,000. provides stories and other content for approximately 35 news partners, including newspapers, television newscasts, radio stations and digital news operations, throughout the state of Indiana. Janet Williams of Indianapolis has led the staff as executive editor since 2017.

And finally, nine student reporters for were recognized with third-place honors in the Best Documentary category for their work on “The Children’s Crusade Revisited: Slaughterhouse-Five at 50,” a joint production of and WFYI Public Media. The reporters include: Irish, Emily Ketterer of Whiteland, Arianna Lovitt of Greenwood, Carolina Puga Mendoza of Fishers, Haley Pritchett of Greenwood, Victoria Ratliff of Noblesville, Zach Roberts of Zionsville, Hope Shrum of Spencer and Taylor Wooten of Clarksville. The documentary has also been nominated for two Emmys – in the category of Nostalgia Program – Program/Special/Series, and in the Best Writing category – selected by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Lower Great Lakes Chapter. Pulliam School of Journalism division head Joel Cramer was a field producer for the documentary. He is a resident of Avon.  

“The Franklin College community is extremely proud of the work produced by our students and staff of These awards give credence to the excellent work produced by our students, day in and day out. These students are competing against professionals whose sole responsibility is to produce timely, accurate and well-written journalism under tight deadlines. Our students are doing this in addition to completing their full-time course load,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather. “Their hard work and excellent results are a direct reflection of the quality education they are receiving from our leaders in the Pulliam School of Journalism and”

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at  


POSTED May 29, 2020