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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa journalism students in the School of Communication and Information at the College of Social Sciences took home 23 awards in the 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Hawaiʻi Chapter’s Excellence in Journalism competition, announced in August.

Multiple award winners include Aishwarya Behl, Nathan Bek, Christine Lamborn, Cassie Ordonio and Samantha Jo Sexton.

For the past several years, UH Mānoa students majoring in or taking journalism classes have made a strong showing in the contest, winning nearly every award in the student categories.

Student News Reporting in Any Media

  • 1st Place: Sophia Compton, “Mauna Kea Stewardship”
  • 2nd Place: Emily Conklin, “Isolated by the pandemic, some are turning to online games for a source of virtual camaraderie”
  • 3rd Place: Nathan Bek, “Plans to upgrade Raymond Torii Field spur optimism”

Student Feature Reporting in Any Media

  • 1st Place: Elizabeth Gault, Margaret Cipriano, Aishwarya Behl, Mackenzie Olivo, Noe Nekotani, “Survivor Stories”
  • 3rd Place: Georgia Clair Johnson-King, Samantha Jo Sexton, “Maintaining borrowed land: With 40 years left on the lease, Kahana residents recount their experiences in the valley they call home”

Student Spot News in Any Media

  • 1st Place: Cassie Ordonio, “Asian Americans in Hawaiʻi Grieve Attack in Atlanta”
  • 2nd Place: Nathan Bek, “Hawaiʻi’s iconic Love’s Bakery is closing after 170 years. Here’s what that means for the state”
  • 3rd Place: Kalin Sipes, “Fright Night in Waimānalo. The Haunted Trolley continues to scare after relocation”

Student Investigative Reporting in Any Media

  • 1st Place: Nathan Bek, “Student-athletes receive mental health upgrade, while the rest of the student body waits for solutions”
  • 2nd Place: Aishwarya Behl, “Unaffordable housing crisis intensifies for UHM students”
  • 3rd Place: Cassie Ordonio, “Who is Nick Ochs?”

Student Video News

  • 1st Place: Erin Fujitani, “Geotag Gatekeeping”
  • 2nd Place: Cassie Ordonio, “Dole Street Debate”
  • 3rd Place: Elizabeth Ufi, “Waiʻanae Access Road”

Student Photography

  • 1st Place: Diego Rivera, “Best of UH Sports in 2021: Photo Gallery”
  • 2nd Place: Lucia Peralta, “The Legend of Leonard’s”
  • 3rd Place: Christine Lamborn, “Location Photo Essay: John Kennedy Theatre”

Best Multimedia Presentation

  • 1st Place: Hakuʻinakololani Chock, “Hawaiian Learning”
  • 2nd Place: Christine Lamborn, “Live Performances Back at UHM Kennedy Theatre”
  • 3rd Place: Sami Jo Sexton, “Farm to Door”


  • 1st Place: Aloha Lau, “Hawaiian Homes”
  • 2nd Place: Cassie Ordonio, “Hawaiʻi Sunshine Law”
  • 3rd Place: Krista Rados, “Campus Construction”
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