Whitney Mason (left), junior in public relations,  and Rheya Spigner, KCCI anchor and reporter, are recipients of the 2019 Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards.
Whitney Mason (left), junior in public relations, and Rheya Spigner, KCCI anchor and reporter, are recipients of the 2019 Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards.

KCCI, Iowa State Daily journalists to receive Greenlee's diversity and inclusion awards

Two local journalists will be honored by the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication for their work that highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion during Iowa State University’s annual First Amendment Days celebration.

The 2019 Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards will be presented to Whitney Mason, junior in public relations and history, and Rheya Spigner, KCCI 8 News anchor and reporter, by the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and the Michael Bugeja Chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha at Iowa State University.

The ceremony will take place at 2:10 p.m. on April 10, 2019, in 172 Hamilton Hall on the Iowa State University campus.

Established in 2017, the awards are presented annually to recognize a professional journalist and a Greenlee student for their excellence in journalism and promotion of a just and inclusive society through ethical storytelling that broadens people's understanding of diverse lives and communities.

Spigner is an anchor on KCCI 8 News This Morning. She is passionate about social issues and her reporting is featured in KCCI’s new Project CommUNITY. Launched in January 2019, the initiative focuses on divisive issues, such as racial equality and immigration, with the goal to create constructive conversations and highlight local leaders who are promoting unity in the Des Moines area.

“Rheya’s reporting has expanded Iowans’ awareness of the diversity that exists here in Iowa and helped viewers see beyond their own viewpoints and experiences. She sets a great example for aspiring journalists and uses her voice to make our community a better place,” said Kelly Winfrey, Greenlee School assistant professor.

Mason is being honored for her commitment to telling the stories of diverse and marginalized people through her work as a reporter and Voices editor for the Iowa State Daily Media Group. Voices provides a platform for campus community members to share their experiences, facilitates civil discourse and builds awareness about diversity on campus.

“Whitney has written about race and ethnicity, sexual assault, immigration, social justice and so many other important and difficult topics. She has shown a true commitment to diversity and inclusion at Iowa State and beyond,” Winfrey said.

Both honorees will share background about their work during the ceremony, which takes place during Iowa State’s First Amendment Days to highlight the importance of freedom of the press.

Now in its 17th year, First Amendment Days celebrates the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. It’s the longest-running continual First Amendment celebration at any university in the U.S. The event is organized by the Greenlee's First Amendment Committee, which is made up of members of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State Daily Media Group and the Leo Mores Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

This year, the celebration will take place April 8-12, 2019, with a variety of events open to the Iowa State community and the public. See the complete schedule.

About the Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards The Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards are awarded annually by the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and the Michael Bugeja Chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha at Iowa State University, an honor society for students studying journalism and mass communication, public relations and advertising. The awards recognize a professional journalist and a Greenlee student for their excellence in journalism and promotion of a just and inclusive society through ethical storytelling that broadens people's understanding of diverse lives and communities. Honorees are nominated by faculty and staff and selected by the Greenlee Diversity Subcommittee.

About the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication Established in 1905, the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication is the oldest journalism program in the state and one of the oldest in the country. The school prepares future leaders in advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations.