INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists announced today that Pacific Lutheran University’s Mooring Mast was awarded FIRST PLACE in the country for in-depth reporting for small universities. This year’s MOE Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from 2012 calendar year.The Mooring Mast received this honor for its in-depth coverage of the PLU student conduct system. Links to the series of articles can be found here.   
Heather Perry was the editor-in-chief of the paper when one of the newspaper’s sources was charged with theft after the source was quoted in the paper for taking cereal with her in a small container from the all-you-can–eat dinner in the university cafeteria.
“We were in disbelief when our source walked into the Mast office and told us, ‘I’m being charged with theft by student conduct’,” Perry said. “From there it was a scramble to find out what was going on and what we could do about it. I am immensely proud of my staff and the hard work that was put into this in-depth reporting and the product we came up with on such short notice.”
National Mark of Excellence Award winners are chosen from the first-place category winners in each of SPJ’s 12 regions. PLU won four First Place awards at the regional level this year.
The 2012 contest received more than 4,600 entries. SPJ will recognize the Mooring Mast and all first-place national winners at the Student Union event at Excellence in Journalism 2013 (EIJ13) in Southern California, Aug. 24 to 26.School divisions are based on student enrollment, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment: Large schools have more than 10,000 students, medium have 9,999 to 5,001 students, and small have fewer than 5,000 students.Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.