Franklin College and Earn Prestigious National Awards
Campus News

Four Franklin College student-journalists have been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as Mark of Excellence National Winners for the best collegiate work published or broadcast during 2022.

Taylor Wooten, a 2022 graduate from Clarksville, captured first place in the Breaking News Category for her story on the transgender sports bill before the Indiana General Assembly. Alexa Shrake, a 2022 graduate from Martinsville, Isaac Gleitz, a 2023 graduate from Corydon, and Sydney Byerly, a senior from New Albany, claimed first place in the General News Category for their series on the criminal case involving former Franklin College President Thomas J. Minar.

“I am extremely proud of these student journalists,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather. “The journalism profession demands creativity, critical thinking and the pursuit of truth. They not only captured the essence of these qualities in their work but have also demonstrated the ability to navigate the evolving media landscape effectively. Their accomplishments will inspire future Franklin College journalism students.”

The awards honor the best in student journalism. Franklin College students competed against students from every other college or university in the country with an enrollment of less than 10,000. Winners were previously recognized by receiving first-place in one of SPJ’s 12 regional competitions held earlier this spring. Each first-place regional winner then advanced to the national competition, where judges were to choose only those entries they felt were outstanding work worthy of a national honor. In some categories, the judges determined that none of the entries rose to the level of excellence, so no national award was given in some categories.

The students’ work will now advance to the contest for the MOEy Best in Show Award, SPJ’s top prize given to students at the Mark of Excellence Awards on June 17.

The Society of Professional Journalists promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. is an Indiana news site powered by the students of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism. From its office in the Indiana Statehouse, it reports on state politics for professional media outlets around Indiana.

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.

POSTED Jun 14, 2023