Annual Student Media awards honoring student excellence.
The deadline to apply for all Student Media Awards is APRIL 8.
The Charles Forrest Alexander Award in Journalism
The Charles Forrest Alexander Award in Journalism, given in memory of Charles F. Alexander (B.A., ’50), is presented annually to a student who has achieved distinction in Vanderbilt student journalistic projects. The award is designed to honor a student journalist who is “active in collecting information, reporting, editing, photography, business activities and/or administration of a newspaper, magazine, journal, yearbook, television or radio station.” Winner will receive a cash prize and have their name etched on a plaque that will be displayed in the Sarratt Student Center.
Eligibility & Requirements
- Applications should be submitted by students of Vanderbilt University.
- Applicants must be active in one or more student publication and/or broadcast medium and must be a full-time student.
- Degree of active participation in student journalism projects and activities
- Objectivity and thoroughness expressed in material or work
- Regard for journalistic and personal ethics
- Impact of journalistic activities on student life at Vanderbilt
Skip Bayless Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism
Presented annually to an outstanding Vanderbilt student who exhibits a tireless work ethic and relentless commitment to truth telling in sports coverage, analysis and commentary. Skip Bayless, A&S ’74, is a Grantland Rice Scholarship winner, Vanderbilt Hustler sports editor and cum laude graduate, who has enjoyed a long and celebrated sports journalism career including reporting at The Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Tribune and is the author of three books about the Dallas Cowboys. He is best known for his nationally recognized work as a sports commentator on ESPN and Fox Sports. He is an inaugural member of the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame. Winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and have their name engraved on a permanent display in Sarratt Student Center.
The WRVU Nashville Award for Dedication to Excellence in Radio Broadcasting
Winners are selected from the current executive staff. (No application process.)
This award was endowed in 2007 by former WRVU General Manager Dr. James Noble (’97), and is presented annually to an undergraduate Vanderbilt student who is a current WRVU DJ, a member of the executive staff, and one who has shown excellence beyond expectations for their position in their dedication to WRVU either in listenership, programming, music education of the public, engineering, or financial support. Winner will receive a cash prize.
The Jim Leeson Prize
The Jim Leeson Prize is awarded annually to the student journalist at Vanderbilt University who best exemplifies the value of fairness and impartiality in reporting. Such reporting shows respect for all parties, especially on divisive and controversial issues, and a commitment to reporting facts as clearly, honestly, and thoroughly as possible.
Jim Leeson was a journalist and teacher who, in the 1970s and 1980s, was the consultant journalist at Vanderbilt Student Communications. In his career as a journalist, Leeson wrote for the Associated Press in New York and Nashville. Later, Leeson was the editor of the Southern School News and Race Relations Reporter, both funded by the Ford Foundation. At a time of racial strife, these publications provided the most comprehensive and unbiased reporting on school desegregation and the civil rights movement. These publications remain models of fair, open-minded, and comprehensive reporting.
In his years at Vanderbilt, Leeson taught students the values of independence and fairness. Leeson believed in giving students the opportunity to “run their own show,” making mistakes along the way. But he always set high standards for reporting, with a particular emphasis on fairness, whatever the subject or controversy. Leeson’s students went on to serve as writers, editors, and executives for a wide range of publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Education Week, Bergen (N.J.) Record, Tampa Bay Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, Congressional Quarterly, and United Press International, while others have found a niche writing books and working in business, the law, philanthropy, and academe.
The Jim Leeson Prize is open to all students at Vanderbilt University who report for any news outlet, on or off campus.
To apply for the Jim Leeson Prize, students should write and upload to the online application form a brief cover letter stating their greatest challenge as a reporter, during the current academic year. All applications should include five-to-seven pieces from the same time period that exemplify the values of the Leeson Prize. Those pieces may be in the form of any of the following: links to articles, files of clippings, audio and/or video files.
A three-person committee, appointed by Vanderbilt Student Communications, will make the final decision about the Leeson Prize winner. Winner will receive a $500 cash prize and have their name etched on a plaque that will be displayed in the Sarratt Student Center.
Stephen A. Caldwell Leadership Award
The Vanderbilt Student Communications board of directors created this award to honor Dean Steve Caldwell’s “many years of wise guidance, advocacy, and support of students and staff engaged in media at Vanderbilt.” Caldwell served more than 25 years in an ex-officio role as the Dean of Students’ representative on the VSC board of directors, until his retirement in April 2016. The award is presented annually to an outstanding student media division leader whose performance reflects Caldwell’s vision, integrity, and commitment to excellence. Winner will receive a $500 cash prize and have their name engraved on a permanent display in Sarratt Student Center.
Student Media Most Valuable Player
A Student Media participant (non-division head) who consistently produces excellent content and goes above and beyond in assisting with other tasks such as recruiting, training staff, promotions, etc. Application may include links to three of the best examples of applicant’s work, a letter of recommendation from a peer, and a brief essay about why the applicant deserves the award. Cash prize $250 (an increase from $100 in past years).
Student Media Innovator
A Student Media producer (non-division head) who has excelled in the area of media innovation by either creation of a new product or an innovative approach to an existing division. Application may include links to three of the best examples of applicant’s work, a letter of recommendation from a peer, and a brief essay about why the applicant deserves the award. Cash prize $250 (an increase from $100 in past years).
Student Media Rookie of the Year
Outstanding first-year student whose level of Student Media participation and demonstrated excellence sets them apart from their peers. Application may include links to three of the best examples of applicant’s work, a letter of recommendation from a peer, and a brief essay about why the applicant deserves the award. Cash prize $250 (an increase from $100 in past years).