Florida International University students, faculty and alumni took home the hardware from the 2018 Sunshine State awards, held Aug. 4 in Coral Gables, including a first-place award for South Florida News Service photographer Elizabeth Soza for her series focused on homeless in downtown Miami.

FIU-affiliated journalists also did well in the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors contest, bringing home several first and second-place honors. Those results were announced Aug. 13.

In the Sunshine State Awards, Carolina Morales Chataing and Monica Gomez Batista received second and third place, respectively, for their Spanish language work.

From FIU Student Media, Nazareth Izada and Harold Daniel, won second place for coverage of LGBT issues for their “Out & Proud Series,” while Nicole Malanga received third place for her news photography.

Associate Professor Dan Evans, who also serves as SFNS’ news director, won second place for his Miami Herald profile of Ronnie Hurwitz, who has served as an unpaid caretaker of veterans’ graves at the Miami City Cemetery for more than three decades.

FIU alumni Matias J. Ocner and Katie Lepri, who work for the Herald and WLRN, respectively, also had a big night, bringing home numerous honors. Ocner was part of a team that won second place for an online video titled “Big Pine Key Rebuilds.” Lepri was part of a team that won first and second place, respectively, for social media work and online coverage of Hurricane Irma.

A full list of winners is available on the SPJ Florida Pro website. 

In the FSNE contest, May graduate Jesse Scheckner received a second place award for features and enterprise writing, while Samuel Navarro received a first-place honor for his news photography. Scheckner, who served as SFNS’ managing editor, received a first-place Hearst Award — known as the college Pulitzers — in May for his coverage of the FIU bridge disaster.

The South Florida News Service ran the table in the video storytelling division, receiving both first and second place in that category.

John Perez, Osman Lopez and Lazaro Gaston won first for “Miami Millennials Renting Far Longer Than Their Parents,” while second went to Alejandro Ospina and Veronica Bayona for “Club Space Tries a New Set of Moves: Yoga.” Bayona was also named “Best Feature Writer in the South” in the Green Eyeshades Awards earlier this year.

FIU graduates also made their presence known, with Ocner wining first for breaking news video while Isadora Rangel took second for her live video work at Florida Today.

A full list of FSNE winners is available here. 

Updated Aug. 16 at 9:45 am to add information regarding FSNE awards.