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Columbia Grad School Student Nabs Top Prize in Chandler Contest for Student Religion Reporting

Contact: Debra Mason, Religion Newswriters Association Executive Director, 614-891-9001 ext. 1, Mason@RNA.org


SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- Tina Shah, a student at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, took home first place for the 2007 Chandler Award for Student Religion Reporter of the Year. The award is part of Religion Newswriters Association's 11 contests that showcase excellence in religion reporting in the mainstream media.


Shah was honored at the 2007 RNA Annual Contest Awards Banquet, Sept. 29, in San Antonio. She received a $600 prize for her efforts.


Established in 2002 through the generosity of Russell Chandler, former religion writer for the Los Angeles Times, and his wife, M.L., the contest rewards student writers who have a grasp of religion issues that is fair and balanced.


Shah's entries included topics from Filipino Catholics to varieties of Hindu cremation. "This writer has already been to India and will continue going places," the judges said.


Capturing second place this year was Shari Rabin, of The Daily Free Press at Boston University. Mrinalini N. Reddy, of Northwestern University, took third. They received $300 and $150 awards, respectively.


In addition to the Chandler contest, RNA awards prizes in 10 other categories with a total purse of nearly $15,000. Winners from all contests were selected from among 327 entries.

RNA is a trade association that provides training and resources for journalists who write about religion in the mainstream media. It has more than 570 members and subscribers worldwide.