IowaWatch reporters Katie Kuntz and Sarah Hadley have won regional Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) regional Mark of Excellence Awards for stories they did in 2013 for and news outlets that published their stories.  Their awards were announced at a regional meeting April 25-26 in Overland Park, Kan.

Additionally, former IowaWatch reporter Katelynn McCollough won first place for breaking news for work she did as a reporter at the Iowa State Daily newspaper, where is has been editor-in-chief this school year.

Katie Kuntz

Winning first place in the regional contest makes these journalists eligible for national Mark of Excellence awards, to be announced May 6. These winners were from the SPJ’s Region 7, which comprises Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

IowaWatch provides mentorship to college students in Iowa who want to be journalists and helps in getting their work published by newspapers and news web sites, and exposed through broadcast outlets. also publishes their work.

Sarah Hadley

Kuntz’s video report, “Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in Council Bluffs,” won for online news reporting. Kuntz is a senior from Council Bluffs.

Hadley’s story and photos, “Matter of Seconds: Tougher Farm Safety Regulation Hard to Come By in Iowa,” won the online in-depth reporting category. Hadley is a junior from Cedar Rapids.

Katelynn McCollough

McCollough’s story, “Explosions shake students”, told the stories of ISU students who were at the 2013 Boston Marathon when explosions there famously shocked the nation. McCollough is an Iowa State University senior from Webster City and plans to attend the University of Iowa College of Law in the fall.

Danielle Wilde

Another University of Iowa student, Danielle Wilde, won second place for a photo slide show and accompanying news story, “Graffiti: The Art of Expressive Vandalism,” that IowaWatch published in 2013. Wilde is a junior from Los Gatos, Calif.


The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-partisan journalistic program dedicated to producing high quality investigative journalism in Iowa while training journalism students on this work at a high, ethical level. Find out more at

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