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UM News
March 07, 2013


Students and faculty at The University of Montana School of Journalism have garnered several top prizes in national and international journalistic competitions.

Associate Professor Ray Fanning won Best of Festival in the Faculty News category at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts, an international competition of student and faculty media work. His radio piece, “Preventing Wrongful Convictions – False Eyewitness Identification,” was an investigative look at wrongful convictions in Montana.

The winning piece was one of a five-part series that aired on Montana Public Radio last July and August. It focused on the inaccuracy of eyewitness accounts when it comes to convicting suspected criminals. The series looked at the Montana justice system to see what has changed in the past 10 years and what reforms still are needed.

“The idea behind the story was we had this sort of famous wrongful conviction of Jimmy Ray Bromgard,” Fanning said. Bromgard spent 14 years behind bars for a rape that DNA evidence later proved he did not commit. “Some of the impetus for the story was it was 10 years since he was exonerated.”

Two students also captured first-place awards from the BEA Festival of Media Arts. Monica Gokey, a graduate student in environmental science and natural resource journalism, won Radio Feature Reporting for her Diwali coverage, and Ruth Eddy, an undergraduate student, won Radio Hard News for her piece “Coal Trains.”

Graduate student Allison Mills won second place in Radio Hard News for “Batteries,” and the School of Journalism’s Department of Radio-Television won third place for the student documentary “Boom! Behind the Bakken.”

The BEA Festival of Media Arts Awards ceremony will take place April 7-10 in Las Vegas.

In the Hearst Journalism Awards competition, undergraduate student Sam Wilson won sixth place in the multimedia category for his documentary short “Criminal Ages.” The Hearst awards have been called the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism, which competitions in writing, photojournalism, multimedia and broadcast.

Photojournalism Associate Professor Jeremy Lurgio won second place for his multimedia documentary project “Lost & Found Montana” in the Atlanta Photojournalism contest for Multimedia Interactive Presentation. The project documents the story of 18 Montana towns in words, photographs, video and audio. It is available online at

For more information call School of Journalism Interim Dean Denise Dowling at 406-243-4143 or email





Contact: Denise Dowling, interim dean, UM School of Journalism, 406-243-4143,