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Student freedom of the press fighter wins national award

Loyola press release - August 11, 2014

Lucy Dieckhaus, a senior at Loyola University New Orleans in the School of Mass Communication, won a national journalism award for her outstanding service to the First Amendment. Dieckhaus will formally receive the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award from Society of Professional Journalists Friday, Sept. 5 in Nashville, Tenn., during the 2014 Excellence in Journalism Conference.

The Society of Professional Journalists is recognizing Dieckhaus with the award based on articles she wrote addressing open meeting laws while reporting for The Lens’ Charter School Reporting Corps, which provides regular coverage of the 46 charter school boards that oversee more than 75 public schools in Orleans Parish. Dieckhaus also served as the vice president of Loyola’s Student Media’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter. She was also the winner of the society’s 2013 Region 12 Mark of Excellence Award—another national accolade.

“I’m proud of Lucy and believe she is the epitome of the kind of journalism student that best represents the School of Mass Communication, especially during a year that has seen the department’s most celebrated year, including the national accreditations from both the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and the Public Relations Society of America’s Certification in Education for Public Relations,” said Loyola Student Media adviser and instructor Michael Giusti '00, M.B.A. '12.

“I have learned and continue to advocate that accuracy alone does not depict the truth, but accuracy and context equals truth,” Dieckhaus wrote in her application essay. “I am motivated to enter the professional world because of the passion and skill set I have learned inside and outside of the classroom, but I am always looking to expand my knowledge, refine my skill set and see multiple perspectives.”

In July, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Media Editors awarded Dieckhaus first place in the College Enterprise/Investigative category for “Behind closed doors: disenfranchised,” which reported on constitutional changes within the Student Government Association last year. Her reporting on the SGA previously won second place in the nation for in-depth reporting from another organization, the Associated Collegiate Press.