UM Student Places in National College Photographer Competitions

December 19, 2019

This award-winning image by UM student Sara Diggins shows pilot Jeff Whitesell prepping a World War II-era bomber, which later flew to Normandy to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.MISSOULA – Sara Diggins, a student at the University of Montana School of Journalism, keeps winning awards.

She recently earned second-place honors in photography from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, often dubbed the “college Pulitzer Prizes.” Last month, Diggins also earned a bronze medal in the College Photographer of the Year contest in the Sports Feature Photography category.

A native of Salt Lake City, Diggins submitted a selection of images in the Hearst competition focused on news and feature photography. Her win comes with a $2,000 scholarship and the chance to compete in the Hearst national finals.

Sara Diggins“We are thrilled Sara’s work has been honored,” said Denise Dowling, the School of Journalism director. “She is a perfect example of the top-notch talent we nurture here at the school.” 

Diggins’ winning photos may be viewed at her website,

The winning shots evoke a wide range of emotions, from grieving loved ones to the suspense of an acrobatic baseball play to a humorous surprised expression of a football player who has lost his helmet and mouthguard beneath another player’s posterior. The COPY-winning photo shows a parkour athlete performing a flip atop a fire tower.

Diggins serves as a photo and multimedia editor for the Montana Kaimin, UM’s student newspaper. She also interned at the Missoulian and still works there part time.

The Hearst winners were selected from 138 entries submitted from 75 schools nationwide. For more information, visit


Contact: Denise Dowling, UM School of Journalism director and professor, 406-243-5250,