The Robert W. Dardenne Award for Humanistic Journalism

Robert Dardenne

Professor Emeritus Robert W. Dardenne

The Robert W. Dardenne Award for Humanistic Journalism honors a dedicated journalist and beloved professor who championed people-first reporting.

Bob Dardenne (1946–2013) came to USF St. Petersburg in 1991 to help draft plans for what would become the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. A cornerstone of the new program would be humanistic journalism — stories and features that focused on ordinary people and the conditions that loom large in their lives. Humanistic story ideas abound, especially where people earn a living, gather to talk, unite in prayer or seek the common good. Humanistic reporting does not ignore negative news; it does, however, celebrate the deeds of people, institutions and organizations in nurturing community life.

Bob Dardenne embraced humanistic journalism throughout his career, and he inspired his students to share his calling. The award recognizes and applauds students who reflect Dr. Dardenne’s values and commitment to public service.

In 2013, the Robert Dardenne Memorial Fund was founded in Bob’s honor.


  • Caitlin Ashworth (2016)
  • Samantha Putterman (2016)
  • Indhira Suero Acosta (2016)
  • Shannon Gazdacka (2017)
  • Tyler Gillespie (2017)
  • Corey Mapp (2018)
  • Nicole Slaughter Graham (2019)


Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled full time or part time in  USF's Department of Journalism and Digital Communication are eligible to apply for the Dardenne Award, provided they attended at least one semester of the current academic year.

Two awards may be granted annually: one for the top undergraduate entry, the other for the top graduate entry. The option not to have an award in any year is at the discretion of the faculty.

The application deadline is Sept. 9, with award presentations at the end of the spring term.

  • Entries must have been published, posted or produced during the previous or current academic year.
  • Acceptable categories include stories, articles or multimedia productions from the following:
    • Newspapers and newspaper websites
    • Magazines and magazine websites
    • Online news publications
    • Television, cable and radio broadcasts
    • Web-based productions
  • Self-published projects, provided they are submitted in a news media format, are also eligible.


In assessing the quality of entries, the selection panel will consider the following:

  • Reporting that shows an understanding and respect for the lives of ordinary citizens from their vantage points
  • A topic, event or condition at the core of community life
  • Compelling writing, storytelling or presentation
  • A focus on people, places and situations outside the reporter’s realm of experience
  • A story, article or production that raises awareness and appreciation for those who selflessly serve or care for others

Click here to apply!