Highland Cavalier editor-in-chief wins SPJ award

The editor-in-chief of UVa-Wise’s student newspaper, The Highland Cavalier, was awarded first place for breaking news reporting in a multi-state contest Saturday for a 2012 news story he wrote about the sudden death of the college’s seventh chancellor.

The Feb. 3, 2012 Highland Cavalier story “Wise mourns Prior’s death” was a breaking news story written in less than a day after Chancellor David Prior died unexpectedly. The Highland Cavalier, then a weekly newspaper, was due to be published the next morning, and Jordan Fifer worked to ensure the story made it to print.

Fifer’s breaking news reporting won first place in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 2 Mark of Excellence Awards competition this past weekend.

The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best collegiate journalism in the U.S. The awards are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience.

The winners for the 2012 calendar year were announced on April 20 during the Region 2 SPJ Spring Conference held in Norfolk. SPJ Region 2 includes Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Fifer’s first place entry will move on to the national competition among category winners from the 12 SPJ regions. National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at Excellence in Journalism 2013 (EIJ13) in Southern California, Aug. 24 to 26.

Fifer, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, is editor-in-chief of The Highland Cavalier. His reporting and photography has appeared in The Roanoke Times, The Virginian-Pilot, The Bristol Herald Courier, The Coalfield Progress and other publications. His work has won several regional, state and national awards for newspaper writing, photography and videography.