This past weekend, your student newspaper earned first place in General Excellence at the Illinois College Press Association conference, the top honor received at the conference. The Knox Student has not received this in recent history, coming close in 2004 with a third-place finish in the competition. In all, TKS received 12 awards in categories including reporting, photography and layout.
The conference incorporates membership from colleges around the state of all sizes. Every fall, student editors compile their entries and then gather in Chicago for a weekend in February for journalism workshops as well as the the awards luncheon.
TKS competed in two categories: the open category for all schools and the category for schools with a circulation of under 4,000 that produce a non-daily paper. Senior Daniel Dyrda received the only award for TKS in the open category, beating out students from the major Illinois universities with a music review written last term. He received third place in a category for all non-film critical reviews. All other TKS recognition was in the non-daily under 4,000 category.
The most impressive award, first place in General Excellence, was judged by John Plevka, managing editor of Peoria’s Journal Star. Plevka wrote “[Knox] may be a small school, but the staff takes a big-time approach to covering news of interest to the campus community.”
Plevka looked at three issues of TKS from 2009, ones from February, April and October. He also commented that the paper scored highest for writing, headlines and general interest.
“I think [the awards] show the dedication and the hard work of this talented staff,” said TKS adviser and editor-in-chief of The Regiser-Mail Tom Martin. “I’m really proud of them.”
A new type of story that editors have been working on is longer, in-depth story form. This means more intensive investigation on a long-term basis. In the fall, I worked on an in-depth story about the lack of space on campus called “Pushing Boundaries.” The series won first-place for in-depth reporting at the conference. Other first place winners include senior Evan Temchin for sports photography, John Baillie ’08 for sports column and myself for an editorial.
As editor-in-chief of The Knox Student, I am proud of the editorial, writing and photography staff for spending several hours every week creating a quality newspaper. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication from several people in order to pull together a paper each week. At the beginning of the year, TKS staff set out with the goal of tightening our layout, reflecting our community and using a high level of journalism. I feel that, in many ways, we have succeeded.
There are still several things that the student editors talk about at weekly meetings that we wish to improve upon in our coming editions. We are working on more alternative story styles, adding more graphics and photography, as well as conformity in layout.
After returning to campus from the conference, editors have been busy with creating yet another week’s newspaper, spending hours in the publications office making sure it is just right. This week, however, the process has been made that much sweeter by knowing we are one of the best newspapers being printed in Illinois.
General Excellence (All Staff): 1st Place
Sports Column (John Baillie): 1st Place
Sports photo (Evan Temchin): 1st Place
In-Depth Reporting (Laura Miller): 1st Place
Editorial (Laura Miller): 1st Place
Sports Design Page (Matt Wheaton and Evan Temchin): Honorable Mention
Feature Story (Laura Miller): 3rd Place
Front Page Layout (Laura Miller and Evan Temchin): Honorable Mention
Critical Review other than Film (Dan Dyrda): Third Place
Feature Photo (Evan Temchin): Second Place
Sports News Story (Colin Davis): Honorable Mention
Headline Writing (Staff): Third Place