Campus: CSU, Northridge -- June 15, 2001

CSUN Student Takes First Place in National Journalism Competition

Adding another feather to its cap, Cal State Northridge's Journalism Department has garnered another national award.

Aron Bender, who graduated from the program last month, has received a first place "Mark of Excellence" from the Society of Professional Journalists for Radio Spot News Reporting.

Bender's piece on the Los Angeles County hospital strike prepared while he was a student working at KCSN (88.5-FM), the university's public radio station, took first place in a competition that featured college journalists from across the nation.

"This is a testament to the amount of work I put in and Cal State Northridge's Journalism Department," said Bender, who now works as a reporter, editor, writer and anchor for KMPH (107.5-FM) in Fresno. "The opportunities are there; it's just a matter of students taking advantage of them."

Bender said CSUN's nationally recognized journalism program was even responsible for helping him get his new job.

KCSN news director and CSUN journalism professor Keith Goldstein said he and his colleagues were proud of Bender's accomplishment.

"This award shows the ability of student journalists to respond professionally to a breaking news story that impacts thousands of people's lives," Goldstein said. "He showed he had the ability to get a balanced and fair presentation by interviewing nurses and the hospital administration and was able to tell the story in a clear and complete manner that was informative and interesting to his listeners."

Earlier this year, Cal State Northridge journalism students swept

nearly every category in the Society of Professional Journalists' annual regional college competition, winning a total of 21 awards, including the sweepstakes trophy which honors overall excellence.

KCSN's student reporters took 12 of the regional awards. Bender took first and third place in radio spot news reporting.

The regional winners were then forwarded to the national competition. Bender will officially receive his award at the society's national convention this October in Seattle, Wash.

Bender said the caliber of CSUN's Journalism Department is what drew him to the university in the first place.

Born in Visalia and raised in Covina, Bender was studying at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut when a random class in broadcast journalism peaked his interest in the field. A professional radio journalist suggested he check out Cal State Northridge's journalism program.

"And she was right," Bender said. "There is a reason why CSUN's journalism program is nationally recognized. It is absolutely amazing."

There are more than 450 students from a variety of backgrounds enrolled in CSUN's journalism program, which offers training in several fields - newspapers, radio and television broadcasting, on-line media, magazines, public relations and photojournalism.

The CSUN Journalism Department is one of only 104 accredited programs in the Western Hemisphere.

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