Lauren Mills

An IowaWatch story written by Lauren Mills has been awarded 10th place in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s 2012-2013 Enterprise Writing Competition. Mills wrote the winning “The Story of Nitrogen: A trip down the Mississippi” as the lead of a three-part series about the negative impact nitrogen runoff from Iowa and the Midwest is having polluting the Gulf of Mexico and harming gulf-based industries.

Lauren Mills

Mills wrote the stories as part of an honors project at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The series was published by IowaWatch and distributed to Iowa news media for their use at the end of March and beginning of April.

Mills, an IowaWatch assistant editor and one of its original student staffers while in college, became a reporter at the Sioux City Journal after graduating but recently was appointed to be IowaWatch’s first full-time digital analyst/reporter, starting Jan. 21.

IowaWatch is part of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, a non-profit, independent organization that produces investigative and public affairs journalism, fosters collaborations with other news media, and trains students interested in for this kind of long-form, in-depth journalism and having their work published. The Iowa Center was co-founded by Stephen Berry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning UI journalism and mass communication associate professor who also serves as an adviser and board member for the center. IowaWatch’s main newsroom is in Iowa City but student journalists from the UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa are part of IowaWatch’s efforts.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program, founded in 1960, is a prestigious organization supporting journalism education and awarding outstanding journalism students. In all, 92 students from 52 universities participated in the program’s second writing competition of the 2012-13 academic year. For more information about the awards program visit:

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