Student Journalists Lindley, Wilson Win First Place National Award for Newspaper Reporting

Jun. 12, 2013


Alex Lindley
Matt Wilson

By Elise Cofield, Student Writer

FLORENCE, Ala. – Two student journalists from the University of North Alabama, Alex Lindley and Matt Wilson, have won the top award in their national division for news reporting.

The award was presented for a series of stories Lindley and Wilson wrote following an alleged rape reported on campus last semester. The series received first place in the Region 3 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) competition before moving on to compete at the national level. Lindley and Wilson conducted all interviews, research and writing for the series.

First-place winners move on to the national Mark of Excellence competition among category winners from all 12 SPJ regions, according to the SPJ website, www.spj.org.

Lindley wrote a series of stories about the UNA police investigation of an alleged rape. He said the entire Flor-Ala staff should take pride in the award.

“The award showcases the collective efforts of our great staff this year,” Lindley said. “We worked really well together all year, so when something big happened, we were able to get the news out quickly in a responsible, informative way. I’m so proud of what we as a staff accomplished, and I see our awards as validation of The Flor-Ala as the best source for UNA news.”

Wilson’s story, “Officials shop for surveillance cameras,” examined the way university officials responded to crime occurring in the campus parking deck.

“The professional experience I gained from working for

The Flor-Ala is valuable,” Wilson said, “but to be recognized at the national level for covering a story honestly and earnestly is a bonus.”

Recent UNA graduate Josh Skaggs, who served as executive editor of the student newspaper during the 2012-13 school year, said his staff reporters were not expecting to receive an award for their writing; they were simply doing their jobs to the best of their ability.

“I think, as far as Matt and Alex’s work goes, it shows that they are very committed to safety on campus and covering the campus in a way that The Flor-Ala has never done before,” Skaggs said. “The recognition of SPJ shows that our editors and writers are top-notch.”

For more information about The Flor-Ala newspaper at UNA, contact the Student Media Office at 256-765-4364 or email florala@una.edu.