Brett Oppegaard and Janelle Guerrero-Miguel with the Society of Professional Journalists awards

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa journalism students swept the student journalism awards at the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists’ banquet. The students were recognized for their work on the Hoʻa Oʻahu news website.

The feature “Stairway to Nowhwere” by Shiina LoSciuto, Hayley Musashi and the Hoʻa Oʻahu team won the category Student Feature Reporting in Any Media. “Waialua Drift: What we know about pesticides’ effects on people” by Ieva Bytautaite, Alden Alayvilla, Janelle Guerrero-Miguel, Ana Giliberti-Ippel and other Hoʻa contributors won the Student News Reporting in Any Media category. Hoʻa Oʻahu news editor Alex Bitter was a finalist in this category as well for his piece “Fixing a Broken Budget Process,” for Hawaiʻi Business Magazine.

Hoʻa Oʻahu is a class-based media organization created by students in Assistant Professor Brett Oppegaard’s Journalism Projects and Productions class over one semester. The students chose which stories to cover, did research, set up interviews, managed and edited the project. Journalism student Jordan Segundo provided the web design, and the Hoʻa team set up and maintained their social media presence.

“We wanted to do something new, something important to respond to the new types of technologies available to journalists,” said Oppegaard, who credits the students for their work with limited resources. “They organized themselves in one semester from scratch to award winning work. That’s what entrepreneurial, talented students can do.”