Two Hunter Seniors Win Murray Kempton Awards for Journalism

November 23, 2010 | Hunter College

Two Hunter College seniors have won Murray Kempton Awards for Journalism honoring the contributions of outstanding undergraduate student journalists in a competition among students at all CUNY colleges.

Fausto Giovanny Pinto won the award for best feature story for his portrayal of a Pentacostal pastor’s efforts to feed the hungry in his South Bronx neighborhood. The story appeared in The Hunts Point Express, the community newspaper staffed by students in Neighborhood News, an advanced journalism class. Jesse Lent won the award for best news story for his article in The Envoy on a student referendum to decide whether to fund a new environmental organization, the Green Initiative.

Pinto’s article “captures the essence of enterprise reporting with a heartfelt look at the Word of Life Christian Fellowship International Church in the South Bronx,” the judges said. “With evident eyewitness reporting, it ably portrays the struggle of a pastor and his wife to care for needy area residents, not only with food, but also with understanding and compassion.”

Lent, said the judges, “uses clear, expository language, straight-down-the-middle reporting and good quotes to explain an upcoming student referendum. Any reader would have a solid understanding of why a new campus environmental organization called the Green Initiative was seeking to acquire funding from student activity fees that were dedicated to a defunct literary magazine.”

The awards, which carry a $500 prize, are named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Murray Kempton. His career in New York journalism spanned a half-century, during which his columns became staples in the New York Post and, later, in Newsday. Kempton died in 1997.

The contest was judged by Elaine Rivera, a lecturer in journalism at Lehman College, Stephanie Saul, a reporter at The New York Times and Neill S. Rosenfeld, the curator of the Kempton Awards.

“It’s clear that CUNY’s journalism students are learning the crafts of reporting and writing and are engaging with issues significant to their campuses and society at large,” said the judges in a statement announcing the awards. “Each of us had the privilege of working with Murray Kempton, and we feel confident that he would have been proud to lend his name to this competition and to these three winners,” they said.