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The Hilltop Investigative Reporting Recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists in back-to-back win 

Hilltop reporters received Mark of Excellence awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Members of The Hilltop staff at the National Press Club, which hosted the Centennial Gala on Feb. 3. 

The Hilltop’s journalism was awarded and recognized for the second year in a row by the Society of Professional Journalists (SJP).

On April 18, the organization revealed the winners of its 2023 Mark of Excellence Awards. Investigative Reporters Tamilore Oshikanlu and Khiara Davis-Howard won in the “In-Depth Reporting” category, and The Hilltop’s Editor-in-Chief Jasper Smith and Campus Editor JD Jean-Jacques were finalists in the “General News Reporting” category amongst other large regional institutions.

Oshikanlu and Davis-Howard beat out other large regional schools for their story on staff shortages in Howard’s mental health services for students.

The story detailed students’ trouble accessing University Counseling Services and compared campus mental health offerings to other schools. 

“Mental health is something that is still often stigmatized or looked down upon in our society,” said Davis-Howard. “Even though we’ve made a lot of strides in acceptance [and] awareness, still more needs to be done to add to the conversation.”

Smith and Jean-Jacques were recognized for their reporting of a robbery and assault that occurred on Howard’s campus last fall, where four students were harmed–and one was hospitalized–by a group of nearly 40 local residents.

“We had never covered a story where a student was stabbed before,” said Jean-Jacques. “For us, we wanted to be very mindful of making sure that everything in the story was accurate, making sure we had enough sources…and to also be mindful of the fact that this is a student with family.”

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The story drew lots of attention as crime rates, specifically amongst young people, have sharply risen in the district. 

The Mark of Excellence Awards by SJP recognize the best in collegiate journalism. Regional winners, including Oshikanlu and Davis-Howard, will get the chance to compete nationally later this spring. 

Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady

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