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CSC student journalists take top honors

Two awards - Best College Newspaper and Best in College Digital Media for The Eagle and csceagle.com lie on a table Monday afternoon. — Photo by T.J. Thomson

Two awards - Best College Newspaper and Best in College Digital Media for The Eagle and csceagle.com lie on a table Monday afternoon. — Photo by T.J. Thomson

Pocket aces.

That’s what The Eagle and csceagle.com student staff members were holding after they captured Best College Newspaper and Best in College Digital Media at the 2012 Nebraska Collegiate Media Association’s Golden Leaf Awards, Saturday at Northeast Community College, Norfolk.

Saturday’s twin wins marked the second straight year The Eagle captured the NCMA newspaper division’s top honor, and the first time csceagle.com took the digital media division’s top spot.

The Eagle launched its companion web site in December 2010. In 2011, csceagle.com finished second in the division’s best overall category.

The Eagle staff won 24 individual awards in the division’s 17 categories – four first places, nine second places, two third places, and eight honorable mentions. Meanwhile, csceagle.com won 13 individual awards out of the division’s 13 categories – five first places, three second places, two third places, and one honorable mention.

“Exceptional,” adviser Michael D. Kennedy said. “There’s not much more I can say. We have talented, all-around student journalists who work long, hard hours, and who place a high premium on the messages they provide their readers. They were judged by professional journalists from Missouri Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, and today (Saturday), they reaped the benefits of their hard work.”

The Eagle’s Executive Editor T.J. Thomson, who picked up 16 individual awards across both media, said he was most proud of the team effort.

“None of our individual awards would have been possible without the collaboration and efforts of our staff members as a team,” Thomson said. “The quality of our work is directly tied to our ability to work as a singular unit. That said, we are always looking for new, talented people, who can succeed individually within our organization’s team-oriented framework.”

Sara Labor, The Eagle’s lifestyle editor, reiterated Thomson’s point.

“I didn’t personally win anything, but it’s so great to see our team be successful in so many ways,” Labor said. “I’m really proud of everyone and really proud to be part of such a great team.”

Regardless of change brought by a shifting media landscape, The Eagle’s student journalists are committed to providing their readers relevant and meaningful information.

Thomson and Web Editor Kevin Oleksy, junior of Chadron, agreed that winning both categories underscores The Eagle staff’s commitment to embracing technology while maintaining a quality product that reaches many readers.

“My goals for the future of csceagle.com are increasing daily content and creating more dialogue with readers,” Oleksy said. “I’d also like to see us do more with audio and maybe some video to add better value and variety to the site’s content.”
The NCMA is composed of 10 two- and four-year member institutions across Nebraska; eight competed in this year’s Golden Leaf Awards.

This year, The Eagle earned 34 points overall; The Doane Owl, Doane College, Crete, finished second with 24 points; The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, finished third with 21 points.

The Golden Leaf Awards recognize students’ efforts in four media divisions – Television, Radio, Digital Media and Newspaper. The Eagle and csceagle.com only compete in the Newspaper and Digital Media divisions.

In the best overall categories in each division, points are awarded to a college’s medium based on the number of points students earn in the individual categories. A student who wins an individual category earns three points for his or her institution’s medium; second place earns two points and third place earns one point. There are no points awarded for honorable mentions.

“In the newspaper division last year, we earned nine points in the writing categories and 21 points in the visual categories. This year, we were far more balanced, picking up 16 points in the writing categories and 18 points in the visual categories,” Kennedy said. “It is clear the students, as a team, addressed their weaknesses in the writing categories, while maintaining their strengths in the visual categories. That’s what makes me proudest – their ability to improve one area while maintaining a high-level of performance in the other.”

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