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Eagle News awarded six SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards

(EN Photo / Katie Hopkins)

Staff members of FGCU’s independent student media group Eagle Media received six Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards on Friday, March 24.
EN took home the following accolades for Region Three: Best Affiliated Website, Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper, Best Use of Multimedia, Best Feature Writing, Best Feature Photography and Best Sports Photography.
SPJ’s Region Three includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The staff as a whole received recognition for their website,, which took home Best Affiliated Website. The staff as a whole also received recognition for Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper and for Best Use of Multimedia with the special edition Coming Out issue.

(FGCU’s Coming Out Story, a production by ENTV that contributed to the Coming Out issue.)
Media editor Katie Hopkins said that the website is her pride and joy, but she is even more proud of the recognition that the website got after its renovation. The redesign launched on Jan. 11. She also credits Eagle Media’s webhost, Jumpanzee, for helping renovate the site.
“I couldn’t be more proud of not only the people who helped design the website, but also the entire Eagle Media staff for giving me and my assistant Aubrey Westmoreland such amazing content for it,” Hopkins said.
Managing editor Rachel Iacovone’s feature on FGCU student Katherine Belyea “‘Girls don’t always wear dresses’: An FGCU’s student’s coming out story,” which appeared in the Coming Out issue, was selected in the Large Feature Writing category, competing against schools with populations of 10,000 and above.
“I’m honored, but I can’t say I’m surprised,” Iacovone said. “Not because my writing was so amazing but because Kat’s story is. Getting recognized for the months I put into this feature really is just a testament to the saying that hard work pays off, and then, for the entire issue that spun from this to get recognized as well is so humbling.”
Iacovone said that receiving this award is a testament to the hard work that the staff put in to create the Coming Out issue.
“Everyone came together to work their hardest probably all year,” Iacovone said. “In just a couple weeks, to throw together what became an award-winning issue that impacted not only campus but us as editors and writers for sure.”
Photo editor Brad Young was awarded two Mark of Excellence Awards, one for Best Feature Photography and Best Sports Photography for his feature photo of Belyea that ran with Iacovone’s article and the other for a celebration shot of the FGCU men’s soccer team after defeating USF in October.
“It’s awesome to have my photography appreciated by other people that don’t know me,” Young said. “I feel like it validates my work and helps me build confidence in my abilities.”
A full list of winners will be posted on by Thursday, March 30. Winners will now go on to compete in national judging. National results will be announced at a later date.

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