The Eagle snags 7th straight ‘Best Overall’ award

The Eagle’s student staff threw the dice this past weekend and rolled a seven when it captured its seventh straight “Best in Overall Excellence” title in the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association’s annual Golden Leaf Awards, presented Saturday, this year, at Concordia University, Seward.
The Eagle’s website, csceagle.com, kept in stride with the newspaper and captured its third straight “Excellence in Digital Medium” award, the NCMA’s highest honor in its Digital Medium Division. (Please see related story on csceagle.com)
In the Newspaper Division, The Eagle staff scored points in 16 of 19 individual categories, and amassed 83 points toward its seventh straight “Best in Overall Excellence” award.
The staff captured 11 first-place awards, worth 55 points; seven second places, worth 21 points, and seven third places, worth 7 points. The Eagle finished 50 points ahead of The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, which took second in the overall with 33 points. The Collegian, Hastings College, finished third with 30 points.
“I could not be more proud of the staff,” said Managing Editor Jordyn Hulinsky, senior of St. Paul. “This award could not be won without everyone’s help. Seven consecutive wins is huge, and it says a lot about everyone who has come through this newsroom over the years.”
Ten different student journalists from The Eagle scored points across 13 categories, while the “editorial staff” garnered points in three other categories. Among the staff awards, the Editorial Board took first and second in the Opinion Writing category; the Editorial Staff took first in Overall Layout and Design, and third in the Series/Special Section category for its serial news coverage and editorials that convinced Student Senate to change its bylaws governing the release of student-election vote counts.
“I am quite proud of the work these student journalists produce,” The Eagle Adviser Michael D. Kennedy said. “They are committed, hard-working young people dedicated to serving their readers.
“Each week they put their work up for public scrutiny. When they make mistakes – and they do – they endure the ridicule, they don’t cower from it, whine about it or look for someone else to blame. They welcome the criticism, because they know it will make them better journalists, enabling them to better serve their readers. That’s leadership. Exceptional leadership. And after they graduate and enter the profession, I am more than confident they will become exceptional leaders in the communities they serve.”
Although The Eagle’s many veteran staff members scored the bulk of the points leading to the newspaper’s stellar finish, a few newcomers who joined the staff within the past year-and-a-half also contributed.
Among those was The Eagle’s Cartoonist Caleb Wiederhold, senior of Hill City, South Dakota, whose Chicken Man and Brad the Bigfoot cartoons, among others, grace The Eagle’s Lifestyles pages. Wiederhold captured third in the Cartoon category.
“I was surprised, I did not expect to get third,” Wiederhold said, “well, I expected someone else would get it. But I was wrong.”
Cartoon judge Pamela Olson, section editor of the Journal-Courier, Jacksonville, Illinois, said in her critique that, “Chicken Man is my kind of Super-hero. I like his clueless self-confidence.”
“I’m happy,” Wiederhold said about Olson’s comments. “I just like to put some humor out there, and see some laughs out there. I prefer making people laugh rather than scoring points. But I am happy my cartoons helped out my team.”
Another recent addition to The Eagle staff, Stephanie Steele, senior of Osceola, took second in the Special Graphics or Infographics category.
“I am extremely honored because this is my first year as a staff member,” Steele said. “To win an award like this means I’ve learned a lot working on The Eagle, and I cannot wait to apply what I’ve learned to real world situations.”
A third newcomer was reporter Brianna Wilson, junior of Ogallala, who joined the staff in September 2016. Wilson captured third place in Review Writing.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Wilson said. “I did not expect to win anyting my first year. In light of our seventh straight overall award, as I continue working with The Eagle over the next couple of years, being on the staff feels a bit intimidating, like some big shoes to fill. But it also is starting to feel like home – so I am up to the task.”
Individually, Hulinsky earned five awards, two first places, one each in Special Graphics or Infographics and Feature Photograph; three second places, one in Feature Photograph, one in Single, Inside-Page Design and one in Two-Page, Special-Spread Design.
Former Opinion Editor Janelle Kesterson, who graduated in December 2016 and is now employed as the news editor at the Aurora News-Register, captured two first places, one each in Review Writing and Two-Page Special Spread Design; a second place in Page-One Layout & Design; and an honorable mention in Single, Inside Page Design.
Advertising Director Angelina Webb, senior of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who has held the position for the past three years, captured second and third places in the Advertisement Design category.
News Editor, Melanie Nelson, senior of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, earned first place in the News Photograph category; and two honorable mentions, one each in Feature Photograph and Two-Page, Special Spread Design.
Lifestyles Editor, Justine Stone, senior of Maywood, also earned with five individual awards. Stone captured two first places, one each in Headline Writing and Single, Inside-Page Design; and three honorable mentions, one each in Single, Inside-Page design, Special Graphs or Inforgraphics and Sports Photograph.
Sports Editor Preston Goehring, senior of Carpenter, Wyoming, earned four awards, capturing two first places, one each in Sports Reporting and Sports Photograph; and two third places, one each in Headline Writing and Page-One Layout & Design.
Former Photo Editor and Crawford native, Sara Tweet, who transferred in fall 2016 to Colorado State University, Fort Collins, to study equine science, took third in Photo Illustration.
The newspaper competition is broken into 19 individual categories covering writing and visual presentation, such as design and photography. Eligible entries must have been published between March 1, 2016, and Feb. 28 this year. All NCMA newspapers may submit no more than five entries per category; individual students may enter no more than two pieces per category.
Students from the NCMA’s seven member schools who competed this year earned points for their respective newspapers for placing first (5 points), second (3 points) or third (1 point) in each of those 19 categories. The points each student earns are totaled to determine which newspaper earns the “Best in Overall Excellence” title. The NCMA awards no more than two honorable mentions per category. Honorable mentions do not earn points.
Journalists and other media professionals from companies outside Nebraska judged this year’s NCMA Newspaper Division. Among those companies were Robert Sharp & Associates, an advertising agency in Rapid City, South Dakota; The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Cheyenne; The Houston Chronicle; The Journal-Courier; The Rapid City (South Dakota) Journal; The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois; The Standard Times, New Bedford, Massachusetts; and The Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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