Two students from Stony Brook’s School of Communication and Journalism (SoCJ) won Hearst Journalism Awards for video storytelling and feature writing.
Rafael Fonseca Cruvinel, a senior, placed 11th of the top 20 winners in the country for his feature story on pop culture’s influence on Oheka Castle.
Recent graduate Justin Mitselmakher also placed 11th out of 20 in the multimedia narrative storytelling category for his video on the history of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., as told through the eyes of a New Yorker.
“Our students tell stories that regularly rank among the best student journalism in the country,” said George Giokas, a journalism instructor who oversees the Hearst nominations. “I’m proud of their work, particularly as the recognition helps them to grow in confidence in their abilities and experience.”
This makes two top-20 Hearst winners in the month of December for the SoCJ. The awards, often referred to as the Pulitzers of college journalism, recognize the best work from journalism students from across the nation in a variety of categories, including feature writing, photojournalism, audio, television and multimedia reporting. Eligible students must be enrolled in a program accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Cruvinel’s story, The impact of pop culture on Oheka Castle’s recent history, was published in The Stony Brook Press, a student-run campus magazine. Mitselmakher’s video, The Village: Landmarks of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, was part of a larger piece he completed for his journalism capstone project before graduating in May 2023.
Stony Brook students compete against students from other leading college journalism programs, including Syracuse University, NYU, Penn State and many others. In 2017, 17 SoCJ students won a total of 7 awards for various reporting projects, catapulting Stony Brook University into a spot among the most recognized universities in the nation by the Hearst Journalism Awards.
“These awards are a testament to the hard work and commitment of our students to telling important, engaging stories in different media formats,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the SoCJ and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science. “These awards mean so much to our students and to our School’s reputation for educating future media professionals who are prepared to help create a fairer, more just, more rational world.”