Utah has some of the best college journalists in the nation, according to the Society of Professional Journalists.

Utah students have taken five of 20 national awards in the Society's annual Mark Of Excellence Contest.The awards were to be presented at the organization's four-day national convention beginning Thursday in Cincinnati.

Among the awards for best achievement, two went to Brigham Young University reporters, two to Utah State University students and one to a University of Utah broadcaster. None of the 29 judges was from Utah.

The top award for column-writing was taken by BYU's Bill Nelson, for a piece on firefighting.

And the Provo school's KBYU-FM won the excellence award for best radio spot-news reporting for coverage of a jetliner crash at Denver's Stapleton Airport. Reporters Grant Wilkins, Bill Silcock, Mark Holyoak, Derek Marquis and Steve Eagar were honored for providing a detailed report on the accident despite the fact they had no tape recorders.

Utah State's Shaun McKinnon placed first in the non-fiction article category for his series on the U.S. Supreme Court decision giving Ute Indians jurisdiction over four million acres in eastern Utah.

And Aggie Darin Oswald took top honors in feature photography, for a shot of Tooele schoolchildren.

In the television feature category, U. student Loreen Erickson won out for a broadcast story on a student editor's handling of obscenities in the reporting of campus politics.

The winners each will receive a plaque and $100 prize.