ATU Earns National SPJ Campus Program of the Year

Jance Cook_Megan Toland_Madison VanderKooi ATU SPJ Award 2022
Arkansas Tech University students Jance Cook (left) and Madison VanderKooi (right) as well as Megan Toland (center), ATU assistant professor of journalism, were among those who helped the ATU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists earn a national award.

Arkansas Tech University’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has received a national award for an outreach program it hosted in 2022.

ATU students and faculty earned the SPJ campus program of the year award in recognition of ATU Journalism Week 2022. The program featured an interactive event with freshman-level students in the ATU Department of Communication and Media Studies, a diversity panel, a social event for SPJ members, tours of the ATU television and radio studios and a portrait unveiling in memory of Anthony Caton, who served on the ATU journalism faculty from 2004-21 and was department head at the time of his retirement in May 2021.

The project was led by ATU SPJ members Jance Cook of Texarkana, Makayla Hamilton of Springdale, Nia Patterson of Little Rock and Madison VanderKooi of Piggott as well as their faculty advisor, Megan Toland.

“We decided to host ATU Journalism Week because we wanted a way for everyone to get involved and as a way to promote awareness of SPJ in the department and on campus,” said VanderKooi. “We were successful in achieving that. We now have a much larger group and everyone has gotten more involved in SPJ. Since we spent all of ATU Journalism Week together, it helped us grow closer as an organization.”

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