2020 SPJ Mark of Excellence – Region 4 Awards

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Huntington, W. Va. — Students from WMUL-FM, Marshall University’s public radio station, won three (3) first place awards and two (2) finalist awards in the five radio categories available to enter in the 2019 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence Contest for Region Four. The awards usually presented at the SPJ Region Four Spring Conference, were announced online due to all twelve SPJ regional conferences being cancelled due to COVID-19.

Dr. Chuck G. Bailey, professor of Radio-Television Production and Management in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University and faculty manager of WMUL-FM, said that the students competed with other broadcasting students from colleges and universities in SPJ’s Region Four, consisting of West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania.

“Our radio students have established a tradition at WMUL-FM of being able to successfully compete at the national, regional or state level with other student-operated college radio stations. WMUL-FM student broadcasters won three first place awards and received all five of the total radio awards presented by SPJ.

This dominating performance in SPJ’s Region Four Mark of Excellence Contest is further evidence of the quality of the work performed by our talented broadcasting students at WMUL-FM, the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the College of Arts and Media at Marshall University,” said Dr. Bailey.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and to educate the next generation of journalists; and protects the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

First Place Award Winning Entries

Best All-Around Radio Newscast

The “5:00 p.m. Edition of Newscenter 88” broadcast Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The students who participated in this newscast are:

Weather Anchor
Sports Anchor
Anh Do, a graduate student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam;
Nick Matawa, a junior from Brick, New Jersey;
Makaylah Wheeler, a junior from Huntington, West Virginia;
Justin Murphy, a former student from Huntington, West Virginia;
Wesley Steele, a sophomore from Flatwoods, Kentucky


Radio News Reporting

“House Fire Shows Community’s Kindness” written and produced by Makaylah Wheeler, a junior from Huntington, West Virginia, broadcast during the “5:00 p.m. Edition of Newscenter 88,” Wednesday, March 20, 2019.


Radio Sports Reporting

“Jon Elmore’s Legendary Career” written and produced by Tyler Kennett, a sophomore from Rock, West Virginia, broadcast during the “Herd Roundup,” Friday, March 22, 2019.


Finalist Award Winning Entries

Radio Sports Reporting

“Taylor Porter Feature” written and produced by Andrew Rogers, a sophomore from Clarksburg, West Virginia broadcast during “Herd Roundup,” Friday, March 8, 2019, and also made available online.


Radio Sports Reporting

“Marshall Football’s Evolving Offense” written and produced by Nick Verzolini, a junior from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, Virginia, broadcast during the Cutting Edge Sports Radio Network Pregame Program prior to the Marshall versus Cincinnati college football game, Saturday, September 28, 2019, and also made available online.