Announcing the 2023 College Student Arts Journalism Competition Winner

Day Eight’s is excited to announce the winner of our 13th annual DC-area College Student Arts Journalism Competition, Georgetown University’s Leah Cohen. Cohen is currently a junior studying English with a minor in journalism. Day Eight produces an annual competition for undergraduates enrolled or recently enrolled in universities in the D.C. area to identify and support talented college age arts journalists.

The judges for the 2023 competition were David Smith, DC Bureau Chief for the Guardian (UK), and Rebecca Cooper, Arts and Food editor at DCist/WAMU. From a strong slate of finalists the judges selected Cohen’s article, “School, Studio, and Back for DC Rapper Lightshow,” as the winner. The finalists included Sagun Shrestha (“Laufey’s spell-binding Bewitched is akin to a storybook fairytale”), Ebenezer Nkunda (“Ballerina Misty Copeland Focuses Lens on Social Issues in ‘Flower’”), and Maanasi Chintamani (“Prince Harry’s Spare re-rehashes the past”). All four finalists have been published in Day Eight’s online magazine, The Mid-Atlantic Review, and a $250 dollar prize was provided to the winner.

2023 winner Cohen said, “I write arts journalism because it’s important to give artists, big or small, a platform to share more about their work.…I hope when people read this story they will get to know [Lightshow] beyond his music and gain a deeper understanding of who Lightshow is and what DC means to him.”

Evaluating the winning entry, David Smith wrote, “A terrific interview, elegantly written with some real flair…The author clearly knows newspapers and is already mastering the style required.” And Rebecca Cooper commented, “The piece was a great read! I felt like I really got to know the subject.”

Whether considering music or theater, visual art or books–arts journalism provides a crucial link between the artist and the audience. Well-written arts journalism is uniquely impactful, and the competition was created to encourage top young writers towards the field. Congratulations to the finalists and thanks to the judges and all of the students who entered. We hope you’ll read the winner’s and finalists’ pieces in The Mid-Atlantic Review. The contest is over for this year, but our support for arts journalism continues; we accept applications for Day Eight Arts Writing Fellowship ongoing here.