The Free Press won seven awards from The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a nearly 100 year old organization dedicated to the continuation of a free press.

The Mark of Excellence awards are distributed yearly to college newspapers and magazines. The Free Press participated in the region one competition. Region one includes New England, New York, New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

The winners are:

* Joe Lops, Production Manager

* John Bronson, News Editor

* Mike Barden, Photographer

* Craig Giammona, Sports Editor

* Ed Szalazeski, Photographer

Lops and Szalajeski placed first for photos submitted to the general news and feature photo categories respectively. Their work will advance to the national competition to be judged against the 11 other regions first place finishes. The country is divided into 12 regions, which each host separate competitions and awards ceremonies.

Lops also snagged a third place finish for his panoramic library photo featured in Issue 1 of the Free Press last semester. He was also given an honorable mention for his photo illustration “Drug Culture.”

Sports photographer Mike Barden received a third place award for a men’s soccer photo.

News Editor John Bronson placed third under general news reporting for his “security limitations” story and Sports Editor Craig Giammona received an honorable mention for last semester’s Monday night football column.

SPJ has the largest membership of any journalism organization in the country, boasting 10,000 student and professional members. Guy Baehr, director of region one, said the number of entries continues growing yearly. This year region one accepted 276 entries in 45 categories. SPJ began hosting the Mark of Excellence Awards in 1972.


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