Emory Wheel wins awards for investigative reporting, opinion, cartoon

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Feb. 28, 2018

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Among the Emory Wheel staff members honored by the Georgia Press Association are (left to right) Editorial Page Editor Madeline Lutwyche, News Editor Alex Klugerman, News Editor Richard Chess, Executive Editor Michelle Lou and Editor-in-Chief Julia Munslow. Photo by Christina Yan / Courtesy of Emory Wheel

The Emory Wheel, the university’s independent student newspaper, was the recipient of six awards from the Georgia Press Association for its 2017 Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards were given for coverage of a concert booking scam, the Student Government Association, an op-ed on diversity and a cartoon.

“I’m proud of my editors and reporters for their drive to shed light on the truth and their dedication to the highest standards of journalism,” says Wheel Editor-in-Chief Julia Munslow 18C. “I’m confident that The Emory Wheel will continue to report fairly and courageously as an independent newspaper on issues of importance to our community.”

First place for the “Best News Article Based on Investigative Reporting” category in Group I (freshman and sophomore entries) was awarded to news editors Alex Klugerman 20B and Richard Chess 20C for “Fraudulent Agency Scams SPC,” a breaking news story about a booking agency that falsely claimed to represent musical act Migos, which Emory had tried to schedule to perform during Dooley’s Week in 2017.

News outlets the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and public radio station WABE-FM covered the story after it was reported by the Wheel.

Emory lost $37,500 to the fraudulent agency, the Wheel reported last summer. The newspaper’s most recent article about the issue was “Fake Migos Concert Booker Faces Federal Fraud Charges,” published Feb. 16.

Coverage of the Migos scam also earned the Wheel the 2018 Watchdog of the Year award.

“The day our executive editor and news editors went to attend a press institute and to accept the GCPA awards on behalf of The Emory Wheel, including the awards for our coverage of Migos, news broke that the alleged fraudulent concert booker faced federal charges. They left the press institute, searched public records for the indictment, and started writing the story. It was published by 6 p.m. that day. They did what journalists do best — report the truth,” says Munslow.

She continues, “We first found the story when one of my news editors realized that Migos was scheduled to perform in Mississippi the same date as the Dooley’s Week concert. The news team looked into the group’s schedule, discovered that Migos was not actually nor ever had been set to perform at Emory, and dove into reporting.

“After 12 straight hours of interviewing student organizers and administrators, we finished the story and published it above the fold in our print issue the next day. Thanks to our news team’s diligent reporting, we also broke the amount of money Emory lost,” she says. “We have already seen Campus Life policies change as a result of the Wheel’s reporting and watched the community take other precautions to attempt to avoid similar scams in the future. I am proud that our reporting created change for the better.”

SGA VP Candidate Lifts Verbatim Portions of Singh’s 2016 Platform,” a story about the Student Government Association elections, earned Munslow and Executive Editor Michelle Lou 19C first place in the “Best News Article Based on Investigative Reporting” category in Group II, which includes junior and senior entries. The editors’ reporting revealed that the campaign platform of a 2017 candidate for SGA executive vice president copied more than 40 percent of its text from the platform of a 2016 candidate for the office.

Munslow describes how the story was developed: “As we were putting the final touches on our student government election coverage, I realized around 2 a.m. that parts of the executive vice president’s platform sounded familiar.

“After I compared it to her running mate’s platform from the year before and saw that about 42 percent was identical, I knew we had a story to report. We interviewed the candidates and published the story that same day. Journalists strive to hold those in power to account — that doesn’t change in a collegiate setting,” she notes.

Editorial Board member Boris Niyonzima 20C won first place in the “Best Column” category for Group I for his op-ed “Wheel Lacks Black Student Voices: The Need for Diversity in the Newsroom.”

The Editorial Board took second place in the “Best Editorial or Editorial Series” category for Group I for “SGA Acts First, Thinks Second,” an editorial challenging deficits in the SGA’s planning preparation after it moved to separate undergraduate and graduate entities.

Third place in the “Best Entertainment Feature” category for Group I went to Rose Kuan 21C for the cartoon “Doolino at the DUC-ling.”