Franklin College journalism student Isaac Gleitz placed first in the 36th annual Thomas R. Keating writing contest hosted by the Indianapolis Press Club Foundation on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Gleitz, a senior, competed against nine other journalism students from institutions across the state, from Indiana University to Goshen College. In the snow, students scattered within the “Mile Square” of Downtown Indianapolis, in search of unique stories from ordinary people. They had five hours to interview, write and file their stories. Gleitz took home the win, and a $3,000 prize, with his story about a construction worker who is currently recovering from drug addiction.
“This victory gives me a sense of validation,” Gleitz said. “While I can’t put too much value in other people’s opinions about what I do, it’s nice to have someone recognize my worth as a reporter.”
Franklin College Junior Sydney Byerly was also a finalist in the competition, writing her story about workers in charge of lighting Monument Circle for the holidays, even stopping to chat with a man dressed as Santa Claus. Byerly is from New Albany, IN, and attended New Albany High School.
The competition is inspired by and named after Lilly Endowment executive and Indianapolis Star former columnist Thomas R. Keating, who was known for writing unique stories about Hoosiers of all walks of life. Keating, whom the competition is named after, passed away in 1985 at the age of 45. Since the inception of the competition, the program has awarded roughly $177,000 in cash prizes.
The judges complimented Gleitz’s imagery and his ability to use intense descriptions in writing the story.
“This journalist used vivid descriptions to set the scene and tell a sobriety story with sophisticated structure.”
Gleitz holds many active roles on campus, as a major in Spanish and multimedia journalism, a member of the Earth Club and co-executive editor of The Franklin, the college’s student-run newspaper. Beyond winning the Keating competition, Gleitz also earned an honorable mention at the Associated Collegiate Press Awards for the 2022 Story of the Year in October. He is from Corydon, Indiana, and in high school he wrote for Linked!, a monthly insert in his local newspaper, The Corydon Democrat.
Gleitz formerly worked with The Statehouse File, a statehouse-centered newspaper also powered by Franklin College students. Colleen Steffen, the executive editor of The Statehouse File, watched Gleitz grow as a journalist during his time with the news outlet.
“The best part of being a teacher and mentor is watching a young person come into their powers and being able to help them a little along the way,” Steffen said. “Isaac has an eye for subtle detail, he is fearless in talking to people, and he writes with an unusual sensitivity. Talent and hard work don’t always get recognized, so when they do, you enjoy it!”
Contact the Franklin College Office of Communications for more information at (317) 738-8185.
By Ashlyn Myers ’25, Pulliam Fellow
POSTED Nov 21, 2022