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Nine Win Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Prize Trip to Japan

Feb. 23, 2015

For immediate release
Mon, February 23, 2015

CINCINNATI – The Scripps Howard Foundation awarded a nine-day journalism study trip to Japan to nine college journalists, winners of its annual Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition.

The competition, established in 1984 in cooperation with Indiana University, honors the memory of Roy Howard, who led Scripps Howard Newspapers from 1922?1953 and United Press from 1912?1920. This year marks the 10th year that the Scripps Howard Foundation has awarded the study tour to Japan to competition winners.

“The extraordinary number of strong entrants we saw this year bodes well for our profession’s next generation,” said Mike Philipps, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “We are especially heartened by their tremendous interest in international reporting and desire to carry forth Roy Howard’s pioneering legacy.”

IU Journalism Roy W. Howard Professor of Practice Joseph Coleman will lead the expenses-paid trip. Coleman has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at IU since 2009. He is the former Associated Press bureau chief in Tokyo and teaches a reporting class that takes IU journalism students on a reporting trip to Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan.

Travel begins May 21 and includes excursions primarily in the Kansai region cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Included in the trip is a visit to Hiroshima, the first city in world history to be devastated by the atomic bomb, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park, as well as Tokyo.

“These students, among the strongest news reporters at campuses across the country, represent the future of journalism,” Coleman said. “It will be a pleasure to accompany the group to Japan on a trip aimed at helping fellows develop a global perspective in their work.”

The nine winners, whose entries represent print, broadcast and online media, were chosen for the high quality of their work, an essay about their interest in international affairs and letters of recommendation. They are:

Alexandra Arriaga, a junior studying journalism and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies at the University of Wisconsin. After spending three years in various news reporting positions at The Badger Herald, the university’s independent student newspaper, she is working as features editor. After the trip, she hopes to spend her summer on the border between U.S. and Mexico working on an independent project on migrant issues, specifically studying narratives of women.

Khadejah Bennett, a sophomore studying journalism at North Carolina A&T State University. The North Carolina native produces and anchors “Girl Talk,” a talk show on campus television that seeks to empower women. She has shot, written and edited for her university’s newscast since her freshman year and contributes articles to all of her university’s publications, while managing her personal blog that has more than 4,000 views. Bennett is a former intern of Bright Girl Media, a digital media firm in Dallas, Texas.

Xueying Chen, a junior studying English and economics at Wellesley College. She served as co-editor-in-chief at The Wellesley News this past year and interned as a segment producer last summer at Chicago Tonight, a daily news show hosted by PBS’ Chicago affiliate. Chen is a Rainier Scholar from Seattle and a member of the Asian American Journalists Association in New England. She currently is studying abroad at University College London.

Olivia Hitchcock, a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. A member of the Honors Tutorial College, she is specializing in Spanish, war and peace studies, political science and anthropology. Hitchcock has held a number of positions at the student-run newspaper, The Post, including the assistant campus editor role. This semester, she is working as slot on the copy editing staff. Last semester, she produced a weekly series that examined university President Roderick McDavis’ decade in his role by following up on promises made during his inaugural speech. She interned last summer at the Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin, and spent spring semester 2014 studying and researching the role of community journalism in Bolivia. Hitchcock is from Grove City, Ohio.

Leah Johnson, a junior studying journalism and African-American and African diaspora studies with a certificate in political and civic engagement at Indiana University. She previously has reported on issues of race, class and identity as an intern for WPLN Public Radio, an NPR member station in Nashville, Tennessee, and EL Gazette in London. She currently reports and produces for WFIU, the NPR member station in Bloomington, Indiana. She also is a multimedia reporter for IU’s independent student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, and co-president of the award-winning online public radio station, American Student Radio. When she returns from Japan, Johnson will travel the United States, filming her premiere multimedia documentary on self-perception and millennial black womanhood. Johnson is from Indianapolis.

Sophia Kunthara, a junior studying journalism with an emphasis in print/digital media with a minor in global studies at Arizona State University. Kunthara has interned for The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest daily newspaper, as a breaking news reporter and a Phoenix community news reporter. She is the government finance, transparency and accountability reporter for Cronkite News, a news organization that covers public policy issues in Arizona, and the education editor of Downtown Devil, a student-run online news publication covering downtown Phoenix. Her experience includes covering President Barack Obama in Phoenix, assisting in election coverage for The Associated Press and reporting on the Arizona state legislature. She is from Gilbert, Arizona.

Benjamin McKnight III, a sophomore studying print journalism at Morgan State University. McKnight is the lead sportswriter for The MSU Spokesman, the university’s student newspaper, and a regular contributor to other sections. He also is a specialist in the United States Army Reserves and intends to commission as a second lieutenant upon graduation. After the trip, he will spend the summer training for his commission and will return to the sports photography field. McKnight is from Waldorf, Maryland.

Kelly Meyerhofer, a junior studying journalism and political science at Marquette University. Passionate about education, she’s written extensively about Milwaukee Public Schools for both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She also has written for the Herald Times Reporter in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and the Lake Geneva Regional News. On campus, she’s contributed to the Marquette Journal and served as an investigative reporter for The Marquette Tribune. She currently is studying abroad in Rome and freelancing for Catholic News Service. Meyerhofer is from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Anne Nickoloff, a junior studying English and psychology with minors in creative writing, music and film at Case Western Reserve University. She is the arts and entertainment editor of Case’s newspaper, The Observer, where she mainly covers Cleveland’s concert scene. Nickoloff is also the editor-in-chief of Case’s humor magazine and an assistant editor for Case’s literary magazine. She previously interned at Cleveland Scene Magazine, and her writing and photography have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine and Cleveland Street Chronicle. In 2013, Nickoloff was awarded the Sharnoff prize for the best undergraduate poetry at Case, and in December of 2014, she participated in Project Interchange’s weeklong seminar in Israel as part of its Campus Media Leaders trip. Currently, she is training to contribute to Cellar Door Cleveland, a website dedicated to Cleveland’s arts and entertainment scene. Nickoloff is from Amherst, Ohio.

Dedicated to excellence in journalism, the Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, literacy, minority recruitment/development and First Amendment causes.

The E.W. Scripps Company ( serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of media brands. In July, Scripps announced a deal with Journal Communications to merge its 21 local television stations with Journal’s 13 television stations and 34 radio stations, which will make Scripps the nation’s fifth-largest broadcasting group. The two companies also agreed to spin off their combined newspaper interests to form a new publicly traded company, to be called Journal Media Group. Scripps runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses, including mobile video news service Newsy and weather app developer Weathersphere. Scripps also produces television shows including The List and Let’s Ask America, runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and serves as the long-time steward of the nation’s largest, most successful and longest-running educational program, the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1879, Scripps’ motto is “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

Contact Sue Porter, The E. W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3030