The Society of Professional Journalists has named Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette as this year’s recipients of the Campus Program of the Year Award.

Eastern Kentucky used the tradition of homecoming to work with Eastern Progress, the student media network, and the Department of Communications, to engage with students, faculty, alumni and the community on a special issue they called a “throwback” to alumni from 1960 to the present. Students spoke to former members of the Progress staff who entered the industry or used their skills to successfully move into other careers. This is the second year in a row Eastern Kentucky has won this award.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette took seven students and one professor to the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporters 2020 conference in New Orleans, presented in connection with the Investigative Reporters and Editors, for an opportunity to network with professionals and attend data-centric panels to enhance the skills they have learned and learn new ones. Their SPJ president also created the Cypress Lake Wire Service to inform the public on issues within the community, and SPJ members submitted articles for the website.

These honorees were chosen from a select group of campus chapters for their outstanding work in supporting the Society’s missions, members and journalism.

Each year, SPJ’s 12 regional coordinators and directors select a campus program in their region that has shown overall excellence.

Campus Program of the Year finalists are:

• Region 2 – University of Maryland

• Region 2 – Western Carolina University

• Region 3 – Florida International University

• Region 5 – Eastern Kentucky University

• Region 8 – Texas A&M University — San Antonio

• Region 12 – University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The winners and finalists were announced and recognized virtually Thursday night at the first SPJ Student Summit. The event featured a keynote from social media guru Dave Jorgenson, the self-proclaimed Washington Post TikTok guy, and was emceed by SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall and SPJ Board member and Journalism Education Committee Chair Yvette Walker.

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