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Winners Named in New Writing Contests Honoring Capital Gazette Journalists

By Alexander A. Pyles

Two Philip Merrill College of Journalism students and an adjunct faculty member are the first winners of three awards established in memory of three slain Capital Gazette journalists with connections to the college.

Keombré McLaughlin ’21 won the Gerald Fischman Award for News Commentary and Criticism, Andy Kostka ’20 won the John McNamara Sports Writing Award and David Lightman ’71 won the Rob Hiaasen Adjunct Faculty Award.

Gerald Fischman ’79 and John McNamara ’83 were Merrill College alumni, and Rob Hiaasen was a member of its adjunct faculty. They were among five people killed in a shooting at their newspaper’s Annapolis office last summer.

Merrill College established the awards to recognize members of the college community who embodied the talents and interests that Fischman, McNamara and Hiaasen were known for. The winners will be recognized at the college’s commencement ceremony on May 23.

“We are very proud of our winners and honored to make these awards in memory of three wonderful journalists and Terps,” Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said.

McLaughlin won for “Jonathan Tobash is more than a homicide number in Baltimore,” an opinion piece published by The Baltimore Sun. She eulogizes a high school classmate who at age 19 became the 335th person killed in Baltimore in 2018 and calls on her fellow citizens to honor Tobash’s memory.

Kostka won for a portfolio of stories about the Terps football program published by The Diamondback. They include a news feature about football donors who stood by coach D.J. Durkin following the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, a game story recapping the team’s failed upset bid against ninth-ranked Ohio State and a profile of linebacker Tre Watson.

Lightman is the chief congressional correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers. He has taught advanced news reporting and writing at Merrill College for more than two decades.

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