The Journal, the student newspaper of East Central University, participated in the Oklahoma College Press Association Spring Conference garnering awards in every category but one at the event.
Cynthia Mellon, editor-in chief, Melissa Hubble, advertising manager, and Melissa Friant, staff writer, attended the affair held annually on the campus of Oklahoma State University.
In addition to the awards ceremony, they went to a variety of instructional sessions with presenters from OSU, the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman. They also joined OSU students for the Paul Miller Lecture Series, which featured investigative reporter Danny Robbins from The Associated Press.
Journal staff members received honors for writing, photography, advertising, design and overall newspaper quality for a total of 16 awards.
“I was impressed with how well we did with our submissions,” Mellon said. “We had a really good team, and it’s good to see your hard work recognized.”
For the third year in a row, The Journal dominated the category of investigative reporting. Amanda Dill earned first place for her in-depth article “Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Battling the Bottle” a look at the drinking habits of college students and “Inside Oklahoma’s Most Accessible Campus” about the issues students with disabilities face at ECU.
Jonnathon Hicks took second place with his first-hand coverage of the presidential inauguration in “President Barack Obama Makes American History” and his reporting in “Water Soaks Part of Fine Arts Center.”
Robby Short captured first place in the feature writing category for “Linda Schaefer Brings the World to Ada” and “Ada Arts District Experiences Growth, Diversity.”
The Journal Web site, created by Daniel Stettler, brought home the Award of Excellence, the top award in its category.
Interior pages, designed by Jomain McKenzie, also were recognized with the Award of Excellence at the event.
“The OCPA awards are important to The Journal in many ways,” Cathie A. Harding, Journal adviser, said. “Primarily, it is a chance for us to be measured with our peers across the state of Oklahoma. Also, since entries are judged by the Kansas Press Association, the results give us a clear, unbiased evaluation of our work.”
Second place recognition went to Hubble in editorial writing, Era Levy for editorial cartoons and Mellon in reviews. The Journal’s front page design also received the Award of Merit.
“It definitely feels good to place second in a category as competitive as editorial writing the first time I entered it,” Hubble said.
“Entering the contest for the past five years has been great. The conference itself is always fun and it’s exciting and nerve-wracking to see how we do against universities that usually are so much larger than ECU.”
Honorable mention awards went to Amanda Dill, news writing, Robby Short and Stephen McCleskey, sports writing, Hubble, display advertising, Katherine Cox, news photography, and Luke Cypert, sports photography.
Overall, the paper earned the Award of Merit, which is the second highest award in its category.
The conference was attended by 102 students and advisers from public and private colleges and universities from across the state.
“The speakers opened my eyes to what we can do to take The Journal to the next level,” Friant said. “We won a lot of awards, and that gave me the incentive to be that much better next year.”