A multimedia Web site put together by a team of West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism students placed in the top three of a national student journalism competition.

Starting Over: Loss and Renewal in Katrinas Aftermath,a Web site that documents the stories of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, was named one of three finalists in the online in-depth reporting category in the Society of Professional Journalists(SPJ) nationalMark of Excellence Awardscompetition.

Starting Overfollows the stories of hurricane survivors who were temporarily relocated to Camp Dawson in Preston County, W.Va. Through photo essays, written stories, multimedia pieces and documentary footage, the site explores how those displaced by Katrina are coping with the tragic impact of the storm and rebuilding their lives.

Students also traveled to New Orleans last December to document the return of several evacuees to their damaged homes. Efforts are under way to update the site with new content in time for a formal re-launch of the project on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. To follow these stories, visit

Students who worked on the award-winning Web site include Justin Weaver, Fairview; Ivy Guiler, Keyser; Lingbing Hang; Michael Costello, Elkview; Casey Cunningham, St. Marys; Drew Epperley, Beckley; Lindsey Fleming, Parkersburg; Barbara Griffin, Morgantown; Amber Miller, Johnstown, Pa.; Tia Morris, Chester; William Jarrett, Morgantown; Robert Rizzuto, Jamestown, N.Y.; Jenny Parsons, Pursglove; Jennifer Simckowitz, Port Jefferson, N.Y.; Sarah Wesson, Augusta; Jeff Wright, Morgantown; and Colleen Wright, Rush N.Y.

The national award was preceded by a first place honor at the SPJ s Region 4 competition, which drew entries from West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania. Journalism School students also won three additional first place awards at the regional competition for best radio feature, best online feature reporting and best feature writing.

National winners and finalists will be recognized during the 2006 SPJ Convention&National Journalism Conference in Chicago, Aug. 2427.