The Society of Professional Journalists has named Washington and Lee's "Rockbridge Report" newscast the Best Independent Online Student Publication in the nation, and has recognized a W&L senior and three alumni for the best Online In-Depth Reporting in the country.
The awards came in the organization's annual Mark of Excellence Awards competition. W&L competes in the Society of Professional Journalists' small-schools division for institutions with 5,000 or fewer students.
"Rockbridge Report" is produced weekly by students in W&L's Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. It covers stories in Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County with both a television broadcast and the local news website.
W&L senior Billy Crosby and 2012 graduates Tory Dickerson, Killeen King and Jessica Strait were honored for their report, "Poor Diet: Not Enough Food and the Wrong Kind," a comprehensive examination of food issues in Rockbridge County. The report looked at issues ranging from healthy eating to obesity in the schools to local food pantries.
The SPJ had previously recognized both "Rockbridge Report" and the four students with regional awards.
The winners will be acknowledged at the Excellence in Journalism 2013 conference this August in Anaheim, Calif.