Here are some of the latest news about Philip Merrill College of Journalism alumni. If you should like to share your latest news, please send an e-mail to

Master's Graduate David Gutman Wins National Headline Award

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Charleston Gazette reporter and Merrill College alumnus David Gutman has won a National Headliner Award with colleague Eric Eyre for their investigation into the costs and causes of West Virginia's meth lab problem.

Gutman and Eyre revealed that meth lab cleanup claims were gutting the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Fund - a special account set up to help victims of violent crimes. Instead, an increasing share of the crime victims fund was going to clean up West Virginia’s meth mess. West Virginia was the only state in the nation to reimburse meth lab claims through a crime victims fund.

The Headliner Awards judges rated Eyre and Gutman’s work to be the best series in any newspaper in America under 75,000 circulation. The National Headliner Awards, which were founded by the Press Club of Atlantic City in 1934, are recognized as one of the most prestigious journalism contests in the U.S.

The newspaper’s coverage of West Virginia’s meth lab problem also was named a finalist for an Investigative Editors & Reporters Award for publications under 150,000 circulation. The national IRE contest, which was established in 1979, recognizes outstanding watchdog journalism.

Gutman, 29, who was born and raised in Burlington, Vt., works as a general assignment reporter and weekend editor at the Gazette.

- adapted from a Charleston (WV) article.

Mariana Minaya Wins Fulbright Grant

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Mariana Minaya, a 2008 alumna of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and a 2012 graduate of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, has been awarded a Fulbright US Student Program Grant to Spain for the 2014-15 academic year.

While at Maryland, Minaya served as Diamondback Editor  for one year starting in May, 2006. She interned at the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, Washington Post and St. Petersburg Times. She also spent nine months from 2008-2009 as a desk assistant for the Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
National Scholarships Office Director Francis DuVinage says during her time in Spain, “Mariana will examine Spain’s labor agreement with Ecuador, which shifts worker recruitment from third-party contractors to public authorities. Through interviews and legal research, she will learn how Spain created and maintained a publicly-regulated recruitment system. Because rogue contractors are frequently human traffickers, she argues that it is imperative to understand the best ways to regulate recruitment. Mariana will be advised while in Spain by Santiago Ripol Carulla, Professor of International Public Law, University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.”
Upon her return, Mariana plans to pursue a legal career in migration, international treaty law, and public policy.

(Photo courtesy of the Diamondback - 2006)

Arelis Hernandez To Cover Prince George's County for the Washington Post

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Arelis Hernandez '09 is coming home. The Ft. Washington, Maryland native has been working at the Orlando Sentinal as their breaking news reporter for Lake County. While there, she was part of a Sentinal team that won a Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity.

The WashPost PR Blog announced the move March 5: "We are delighted to announce that Arelis Hernandez is joining us from the Orlando Sentinel to cover Prince George’s County... Arelis is as comfortable shooting video and tweeting news as she is with digging into sealed court documents. She likes to experiment with story-telling forms including an interactive quiz about identity, animated graphics and multimedia timelines."

Hernandez interned at the Post in 2007 and has worked for Diverse Issues in Higher Education in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press, the Baltimore Sun,, and the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C.

Her first day at the Post is March 31.

Merrill Alumna Sulerzyski Named Maryland Judiciary Chief of Staff

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Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera has named Victoria Z. Sulerzyski as her chief of staff. Sulerzyski, who had been with the law firm of Ober|Kaler in Baltimore, began her new duties with the Maryland Judiciary Jan. 13, 2014.

As chief of staff, Sulerzyski reports directly to Chief Judge Barbera and will manage the daily operations of the chief judge’s chambers, including supervising staff, handling communications, inquiries, and scheduling, providing research, reviewing reports, advising, and, as directed, communicating on the chief judge’s behalf. The chief judge is the head of Maryland’s judicial branch and is responsible for the administration of the state court system, overseeing a budget of $468 million with nearly 300 judges and about 4,000 employees.

Maria Douglas Reeve Wins Minneapolis Star Tribune Promotion

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Maria Douglas Reeve has been named (Jan. 2014) the new deputy metro editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she has served as the east metro team leader and features team leader. Reeve graduated with a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Merrill College in 1992. Her undergraduate work (English) was done at Davidson College. Reeve came to the Star Tribune from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where she worked as the politics editor for 19 years.) In more good news, her husband, Tad, was just named sports editor at the Pioneer Press.