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MU journalism student, alumnus snag national writing honors

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | 5:04 p.m. CDT; updated 5:23 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — One graduate student and one alumnus of the MU School of Journalism won top awards Wednesday night in the student category of the Society of Environmental Journalists' national contest, according to a news release from Bill Allen, an assistant professor of agricultural journalism at MU.

Gavin Off, who graduated with a master's degree in May, won first place for his article "Lessons in Leniency," which was published May 6, 2007, in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

His story detailed the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' history of reducing penalties filed against large animal farms for pollution violations.

Off is the computer-assisted reporting editor at the Tulsa World in Tulsa, Okla., according to the release.

Graduate student Katherine Harmon won third place for "Murky Waters," which was published in the Columbia Missourian on Nov. 10, 2007. The story examined the evolving scientific understanding of the Missouri River's sediment and the affect that understanding is having on resource management, agriculture, public policy and people.

The Society of Environmental Journalists is a professional journalism association of more than 1,400 journalists, educators and students, the release said. Its mission is to advance public understanding of environmental issues through the improvement of the quality, accuracy and visibility of environmental reporting.

The awards were announced at a ceremony in the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Va., on the first day of the society's 18th annual conference.


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