Student reporter from U of M wins Holland Award for excellence in college journalism

For demonstrated commitment to investigative, in-depth reporting, Jonathan Capriel of The Daily Helmsman at the University of Memphis is the 2014-15 winner of the University of Georgia’s Betty Gage Holland Award for excellence in college journalism. 

The Holland Award recognizes campus journalists and their publications for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses. The award is presented by the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC).

“The Helmsman’s Jonathan Capriel reports in depth on several issues of consequence, from sorority hazing to parking tickets to gender pay gaps,” said Kent Middleton, director of the Cox Institute. “Capriel exemplifies persistent, creative pursuit of the truth, seeking information from clerks, legal counsel, students and documents.”

Middleton added that judges were also impressed by Capriel’s use of comparative graphs to make his reporting even more compelling.    

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the SPLC, described Capriel’s work as “in the best tradition of the inquisitive accountability journalism that all communities need.”

“His body of work for the Helmsman exemplifies the ethic that gives journalism its unique, irreplaceable value. He takes the time to learn and explain his subject, he pushes back hard against the slammed door, and he skeptically questions every claim that's too good to be true,” LoMonte said.  

(l.-r.) Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center; Jonathan Capriel, winner of the 2014-15 Holland Award; Kent Middleton, director of the Cox Institute; and Cecil Bentley, assistant director of the Cox Institute.
(l.-r.) Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center; Jonathan Capriel, winner of the 2014-15 Holland Award; Kent Middleton, director of the Cox Institute; and Cecil Bentley, assistant director of the Cox Institute.

In a glowing endorsement, Candace Justice, general manager of the Helmsman, said Capriel goes above and beyond what is required of him, often working on stories over holiday and summer breaks.

“Of all the award-winning reporters I have worked with over my 22 years as adviser to The Daily Helmsman, I have never had one as utterly devoted to the public’s right to know as Jonathan Capriel,” wrote Justice.

Capriel will receive a $1,000 award and The Daily Helmsman also will receive $1,000 as the sponsor publication.

The annual award honors the late Betty Gage Holland, long-time friend of journalism education at Grady College.  It was presented during the 20th annual Management Seminar for College for College News Editors.

The Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership prepares students and professionals for leadership roles in the news media. It is named for the late James M. Cox Jr., who headed Cox Enterprises and Cox Broadcasting Corporation from 1957 until 1974.

The Student Press Law Center, an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit, provides legal assistance and advocacy in support of student journalists nationwide seeking access to information from schools and colleges. The Center provides free legal training and educational materials for student journalists and their teachers on a wide variety of legal topics.

Date: July 28, 2015
Author:  Stephanie Moreno, s.moreno@uga.edu
Contact:  Cecil Bentley, cbentley@uga.edu