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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Journalism major wins feature writing award

News and Information Article Photo
Photo Credit:
LaVerne Jones
Contact for more information:
Wendy Knipe Bredhold
Media Relations Specialist, News & Information Services
USI senior journalism major Lana Kunz won third place in the 23rd Annual Thomas R. Keating Feature Writing Program held November 14 in Indianapolis. Kunz was one of three winners selected from 10 finalists representing Indiana's best college journalism students and received $850 in total prize money - $100 as a finalist and $750 as third-place winner.

First- and second-place winners were Margaret Sutherlin of DePauw University and Sarah Hutchins of Indiana University. Sponsored by the Indianapolis Press Club Foundation, the program is named in honor of the late Tom Keating, a popular and prolific columnist for the Indianapolis Star, who died in 1985.

The program began at the offices of the Star, where finalists were divided into groups with mentors who critiqued their submissions. They were then assigned to write a feature story based on the Percussive Arts Society International Convention held that day at the Indiana Convention Center.

Her feature was about a woman who led a yoga workshop for percussionists at the convention. Kunz said, "The woman feels that western musicians are not in touch with how their body relates to the music as much as people that are involved in Afrocentric music, so it focused on how she feels the body relates to producing music and the cultural differences between the two."

Kunz is opinion editor for The Shield and an intern with the Evansville Courier & Press. Though she has written features for both publications, she prefers straight news stories. "My mentor in the program noted that even my features have a news feel to them," she said.

She prefers to tell stories through quotes, rather than adding her own observations. "My observations are based on my biases, and I prefer to let the people I'm interviewing tell their own stories. They may not realize it, but they're telling great stories. I just have to put it in the right order - with the beginning, the rise of the story arc, and the conclusion."

The daughter of Vickie and Richard Donaldson and Paul and Karen Kunz of Newburgh, Indiana, she is a Castle High School graduate. After graduating from USI in December, she hopes to find a job in journalism.

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