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Shoutouts for college journalism's best and brightest

  • Story Highlights
  • Young journalists hone their craft at college
  • Many are already competing for stories with professionals
  • UWIRE 100 recognizes up-and-coming journalists
  • "I've seen the good things journalism can do," says one student journalist
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By Kaitlin Shawgo
Special to CNN
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Kaitlin Shawgo will be a senior this fall at Indiana University and is the campus editor for the summer session of her newspaper, The Indiana Daily Student. CNNU is a feature that provides student perspectives on news and trends from colleges across the United States. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of CNN, its affiliates or the schools where the campus correspondents are based.


Jaclyn Cosgrove is one of 100 college journalists being honored by UWire.

(CNN) -- Jaclyn Cosgrove may be a talented journalist now, but the work didn't always come so easily.

In her first story for the Oklahoma State University student newspaper, she neglected to mention an event sponsor in a story and heard about it from a source the next day.

Cosgrove laughed as she recalled asking her editor if she was fired.

"I had no idea what I was doing," said Cosgrove, the incoming editor-in-chief of the Daily O'Collegian. "I had recently learned AP style existed. I look back now and laugh really hard."

From those early mistakes, many young journalists hone their craft at college and are already reporting alongside and competing for stories with professionals.

Cosgrove is one of 100 students honored this week by UWIRE, a membership organization for student media. The UWIRE 100 launched this year to recognize up-and-coming journalists in a changing media environment.

"UWIRE's aim is to discover and promote young talent and the UWIRE 100 is a direct extension of that mission," said Ben French, general manager of UWIRE.

Between March and April, more than 500 nominations poured in from advisers, peers and professors on behalf of student journalists from more than 130 universities around the country, French said.

The students work in a variety of media and have dealt with everything from student press rights to campus tragedies.

A panel of UWIRE staff members sifted through the nominations, looking for "the most promising student journalists," French said. UWIRE examined the students' dedication to journalism, the quality of their work, the depth of their experience and the strength of their references.

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"The UWIRE 100 will hopefully give the world a first look at the future of media and its leaders" he said. "Looking at this list, I think there's a lot of reason for optimism."

Some of the students, such as University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior Brittany Jones-Cooper, are already working with professional news outlets and companies. Jones-Cooper is Nike's first field reporter, traveling around the world and interviewing top athletes, including Serena Williams and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

"It's intense, but, you know, the cool kind of intense," Jones-Cooper said.

French said many of the UWIRE 100 not only cover high-profile sources and events, but are fascinating people themselves.

Northern Star Editor-in-Chief John Puterbaugh put in place a plan for disaster coverage after the Virginia Tech tragedy that he unfortunately had to follow when a gunman opened fire at the Northern Illinois campus February 14.

William Quinn, a former Army interrogator who is now a columnist for Georgetown University's The Hoya, entered the Army at 18 and worked at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, among other places. At 26, he now writes columns on his experience of coming back to college after being in a war zone.

Many of the 100 are 2008 graduates ready to embark on professional careers armed with big goals and strong resumes. Some of the 100 will be spending their summers interning at media companies such as The Wall Street Journal, at the D.C. bureau of the McClatchy Company or leading their student newspapers.

A rising senior, Cosgrove is interning at the Institute on Political Journalism in Washington, D.C., this summer and hopes to become a foreign correspondent in Africa or the Middle East. She is taking Arabic classes to prepare for her career.

"I take my job as a journalist very seriously," Cosgrove said. "I've seen the impact your words can have. ... I've seen the good things journalism can do."

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