2020-21 Writing

2021 Writing Championship

From the 585 writing entries received in Feature Writing, Explanatory Reporting, Sports Writing, Profile Writing and Investigative Reporting, the following finalists’ articles were deemed the best by the Program judges. This work qualified them as finalists in the 2021 Hearst National Writing Championship.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Championship was held as a virtual event once again. Finalists met their judges via Zoom for orientation and a review of the assignments, then researched and wrote their articles from home.

The assignments:
A profile article of Dr. Vin Gupta, Affiliate Assistant Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

A new story from an hour-long interview with Dr. Gupta conducted via video conference.

A spot article: A forward-looking story about a person or category of people (including public or private organizations, companies, governmental agencies, etc.) who had to remake or reinvent themselves in the wake of Covid-19, the social-justice movement or any other major issue America has faced in the past year.

The writing judges Dwayne Bray, Larry Kramer and Maria Reeve chose the assignment, reviewed the articles and selected the winners.

The first-through-third place winners were awarded scholarships of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000 respectively. The finalists earned $1,500 scholarships.

In addition, two $1,000 scholarships were selected for Best Article of the Year and Best Reporting Technique from the monthly competition entries.

The winners and finalists are featured below.


Melissa Manno
First Place
Pennsylvania State University
$10,000 scholarship


Katie Ann McCarver
University of Iowa
$1,500 scholarship

Additional Awards

Gabe Stern
Article of the Year
Syracuse University
$1,000 scholarship