Journalism Students Excel in Indianapolis Writing Competition
Campus News

Franklin College journalism students Erica Irish and Emily Ketterer each placed in the reimagined 34th annual Thomas R. Keating Competition hosted by the Indianapolis Press Club. Winners were announced in December.

The competition traditionally invites selected students from Indiana colleges and universities to participate in a writing competition where, in five hours, each student must interview, write and file a well-written feature piece about a selected topic. Since the pandemic prevented the Indianapolis Press Club from hosting the in-person competition, the foundation board instead invited students from all Indiana colleges or universities to submit their best published writing on the past year’s most pressing topics: the pandemic, social justice, the election and campus news. Students were allowed to enter in multiple categories, but were instructed to enter two pieces of work for each category. They were judged on the collective work. More than 70 entries were submitted. The winners of each category received $1,000 each, while the runners-up received $500 each.

Irish, a senior multimedia journalism and political science major captured first place in the category of Campus News for work that was originally published on She also received accolades as the runner-up in the category of Election for work originally published on, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

Ketterer received news of her runner-up award in the Social Justice category just before completing her multimedia journalism degree at Franklin College in December. Her winning submissions were published in the Daily Journal, a newspaper based in Franklin, Indiana, where Ketterer began working as a part-time reporter while in college. She is now working full-time for the newspaper. 

Keating, a popular former Indianapolis Star columnist and Lilly Endowment executive, is the inspiration behind the contest. He died in 1985 at the age of 45. The Lilly Endowment underwrites a portion of the competition each year, which, since its inception in 1986, has awarded more than $163,000 to Indiana college and university students.

Irish, a graduate of Perry Meridian High School, is the daughter of Eric and Charise Irish of Indianapolis (46217). During her career at Franklin College she has served as the co-executive editor, the opinion editor and the web editor of The Franklin, the college’s student run newspaper. She has also served as a reporter and the 2020 Russell Pulliam student editor for Irish was also the overall winner in the 2019 Keating Competition.

Ketterer, a graduate of Whiteland Community High School, is the daughter of Dave and Lori Ketterer of Whiteland. During her college career, she served as co-executive editor of The Franklin, as well as news editor and copy chief. She also served as a reporter for and interned with the Washington Times in D.C. in 2019.

In the fall of 2019, both Irish and Ketterer served as student producers of “The Children’s Crusade Revisited: Slaughterhouse-Five at 50,” a joint project of the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism and WFYI. Their efforts earned a Regional Emmy. 

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

POSTED Jan 25, 2021