Abigail Bekele, Bonner Scholar Class of 2019, won the Mark of Excellence Award for 2018 in General News Photography for small colleges (< 10,000 enrollment) from the Society of Professional Journalists Region 2 (N.C., Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C.). Her winning photograph entry was titled “Can I have a hug?” and appeared in The Guilfordian accompanying an article on a visit to Guilford College’s campus by Jill and Joe Biden.
The photo captured a moment when on student, Courtney Gardner gave the former Vice President a hug:
“I attended the event because I am very interested in politics,” said senior Courtney Gardner. “Throughout their eight-year presidential (term), the Obama administration helped my family and I, as members of the middle class, in ways I never thought would be possible. I also especially admire Jill for all of her achievements and her work as a college professor. I wanted to thank Joe and Jill both and give them hugs.”
Annually, the Society of Professional Journalists presents the Mark of Excellence Awards, honoring the best in student journalism. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism.
Entries are first judged on the regional level. First-place regional winners advance to the national competition, and most are recognized at their respective regional SPJ conference in the spring of 2018. National winners will be showcased on spj.org.