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The Murder of Alicia Hummel

Sioux City Journal

The Best News Story
of 2019
Iowa Newspaper Association

In the early summer of 2015, Alicia Hummel left Sioux City, Iowa in her grey Ford Fusion with her fishing rod sticking out of the sun roof. She had gone fishing, somewhere along the Missouri River's shoreline in southeast South Dakota. Hours later, she was found floating in that river, dead.

Her killer never was found.

Now, four years later, those that she loved have done their best to hold on to the fight, to keep looking for a clue that breaks the case open. But time moves on, and life takes hold. What is there to be found in the waters of the Missouri?

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Middletown's Divide

Covenants of the Land: Middletown's Divide is a journalistic deep-dive into the historical and present-day inequities that plague the community of Muncie, Indiana. 

In the city that is regularly regarded as "America's Hometown," racist and segregationist documents divide neighborhoods, altering where people live, how they learn, and - ultimately - how they live their lives. 


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Muncie Star Press

Once a month, on the evening of the fourth Thursday, after the final bell had rung at South View Elementary — once the backpacks had been filled, the cubbies cleared out and the lights turned off — the school doors would open once more to welcome the students and their families. An event named The Big Idea, in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, welcomed families to take home perishable goods and life necessities while speaking with teachers and faculty. h It was an event created to inspire students to think bigger and to build stronger communities, all the while working to take care of those in need.

But in the past two years, events propelled by community volunteers such as The Big Idea haven’t been able to happen in full. In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, schools have opted to alter their food drives and other events, or indefinitely suspend them entirely.

“We’ve been really, really sad the last year and a half,” said Bekah Clawson, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. Clawson detailed how her organization’s event, created to inspire young students and their families, has continued since the beginning of the pandemic.

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The Funeral of a Civil Liberties Activist

WINNEBAGO, Neb. – The sky was a pale blue, streaked with clouds of white, and the sun shone brightly and harshly the day Frank LaMere was laid to rest.

As his friends and loved ones gathered around his casket for the final time, the sound of a drum beat could be heard from the hill above as Ken Billingsly of Standing Rock began to play an honor song for the LaMere family.

Sioux City Journal


2,800 MILES
One Man's Journey Across America

Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY – His knees ache, his legs are heavy. But still, Navy veteran Tom Zurhellen keeps walking.

This past Sunday, the man from Poughkeepsie, New York, hobbled into Sioux City under the high, hot sun more than 1,500 miles from his starting point in Portland, Oregon. In an effort to call attention to and raise awareness about veteran suicide and homelessness, the Poughkeepsie Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 170 Commander has been on a journey since April 14 to walk across America. In total, between quiet towns high above the world in Wyoming and rusting Midwestern cities, Zurhellen's trek will span more than 2,800 miles. 


A Fight for Environmental Conservation

Beyond the fields of corn and the dusty roads of northwest Iowa lie the Loess Hills. For thousands of years, the fine, silty soil beneath those hills has been held in place by the tall, wind-swept grasses. But now, the push for urban development and the fear of catastrophic erosion loom over Sioux City. 

This series of three articles follows the potential impact of environmental change, politics, and the people attempting to protect the Loess Hills. 

Sioux City Journal



Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church

Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY -- Tim Lennon stood at the corner of 10th and Douglas streets Thursday – the steeple of the Cathedral of the Epiphany rising high above him – as he held the picture of a 12-year old boy who had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Sioux City in 1960.

It was a photo of himself.


A Tale of Two Cities

Why It Matters is a multimedia, journalistic campaign focused on the challenges the citizens of Muncie, Indiana face. Specifically, "A Tale of Two Cities" is the story of Ball State University's government-mandated takeover of Muncie's community schools. 

In the process, the citizens of the citizens of the city were stripped of their right to vote for a school board. This type of educational reform is nearly unprecedented in American history.

"Why It Matter: A Tale of Two Cities" is a collection of short and long form documentaries, written journalism, photojournalism, podcasts, and more. 

Ball State University Unified Media

Emmy Award Winning Documentary (Regional, Student)

2nd Best Student Documentary

Broadcast Education Association (National)


Ball State University Daily News

Best Editorial Cartoon of 2018
Associated Collegiate Press
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