UH students sweep excellence in journalism awards and summer internships

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Ann Auman, (808) 956-2723
Professor and Chair, School of Communications
Posted: Jun 29, 2015

SPJ Hawaii Chapter summer interns Riker, Johnson, Ursua, Bystrom Pino and Cuba.
SPJ Hawaii Chapter summer interns Riker, Johnson, Ursua, Bystrom Pino and Cuba.

UH Mānoa School of Communications journalism students swept the student media portion of the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaiʻi Chapter Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony June 26 at the Mānoa Ballroom in Moʻiliʻili.

Alex Bitter, who was editor of UH student newspaper Ka Leo during the 2014-15 academic year and is currently a Dow Jones News Fund summer intern at The Street.com in New York City, took first place in the Student News Reporting in Any Media category. Judges said that his article, “Financial problems at Hawaiʻi Pacific University” in Hawaiʻi Business magazine, was “well-sourced, diligent work trying to get the details of the budget from a private university that seems intent to keep the problems private. Important reporting, with clear graphics to help readers through the numbers.”

Finalists in the news category were Deborah Manog and Bobby Bergonio for “Mission of Mercy,” an article they co-wrote in Hawaiʻi Business magazine about the non-profit organization Aloha Medical Mission. While still UH students, Manog and Bergonio, now both alumni of the UH Mānoa journalism program, traveled to the Philippines with volunteers from the Aloha Medical Mission to report on medical care and surgeries the volunteers performed for the needy. The judges wrote, “Lovely storytelling here, with vivid details about the scene and the scenarios surrounding these surgeries.”

Noelle Fujii, a UH journalism major who is editor of Ka Leo for the 2015-16 academic year, was also a finalist in this category for her story, “Global student body” in Hawaiʻi Business magazine.

For the Student Feature Reporting in Any Media category, Bitter won first place for his article, "California Dreaming," in Hawaiʻi Business magazine. The article was about why Hawaiʻi's pro surfers have a hard time getting endorsements. One of the sources in this article was Daniel Ikaika Ito, editor-in-chief of Honolulu's Contrast Magazine and a graduate of the UH Mānoa journalism program. Ito and many UH journalism alumni were at the awards ceremony. Finalists for this category were Fujii for "We may love opihi too much" in Hawaiʻi Business magazine, and Manog and Bergonio for “Aloha Medical Mission breathes new life into Tuguegarao City," published on Ka Hui Ho'olauna TV and hooluana.tv website by the journalism program and the College of Social Sciences. No other schools won awards in the Student News Reporting and Student Feature Reporting categories at the SPJ Hawaiʻi Chapter awards ceremony. All entries were sent to the mainland for independent judging.

The awards ceremony was also a chance to recognize SPJ Hawai’i Chapter summer interns placed at various media organizations and one business throughout Hawai’i. The Hawaiʻi Chapter of SPJ holds its annual “Gridiron” satirical comedy show in August to raise money for stipends for the summer internships. The UH-Mānoa interns are:

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Mathew Ursua

Pacific Business News: Shiwani Johnson

Civil Beat: Marina Riker

HuffPost Hawai’i: Bianca Bystrom Pino

Hawaiʻi News Now: Victoria Cuba

KITV4: Deborah Manog

Other interns:

Hawaiʻi magazine: Bianca Sewake – Seattle University

Hawaiʻi Business magazine: Braelyn Wood – Northwestern University

Honolulu magazine: Ikaika Ramones – Harvard University

Pacific Edge magazine: Chance Nakazato – Leeward Community College

KHON2: Lauren Day – University of Southern California Annenberg

Alexander & Baldwin: Jeri Miyasato – Chapman University

(Full photo caption) Hawaiʻi Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists summer interns are
from left, Marina Riker (Civil Beat), Shiwani Johnson (Pacific Business News), Mathew Ursua (Star-Advertiser), Bianca Bystrom Pino (HuffPost Hawaiʻi) and Victoria Cuba (Hawaiʻi News Now).

For more information, visit: http://communications.hawaii.edu/jour