For the third consecutive year, The Eagle, the Chadron State College student newspaper, captured "Best in Overall Excellence" in the Newspaper Division of the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association's Golden Leaf Awards. The victory came Saturday at the association's annual conference, hosted by Doane College, Crete.
"Wow. I think it is fantastic," said Michael D. Kennedy, journalism instructor and adviser of The Eagle. Kennedy said the professionals who judge the Golden Leaf Awards are top-shelf journalists, advertising specialists and cartoonists so earning the title for the third year in a row underscores and punctuates the high standard of journalistic excellence.
Staff members of The Eagle, captured 27 individual honors – 10 first places, six second places, three third places, and eight honorable mentions – and tallied 71 points toward its third straight "Best in Overall Excellence" title. The Eagle's staff also captured first in the Overall Layout and Design category.
The Eagle's Executive Editor T.J. Thomson, senior of Golden, Colo., earned six first-place awards in writing, layout and design, and photography categories, including the categories of Hard News/Spot News Reporting (where he also finished second); In-depth/Investigative Reporting; Feature Photograph, and Page-One Layout and Design. Thomson also earned three seconds, one third and four honorable mentions.
"I might have been blessed with these talents and skills," Thomson said, "but it was the comm arts faculty who recognized, nurtured, and supported their growth and development."
Thomson, who graduates Saturday, May 4, also credited The Eagle's staff with his and everyone's individual success.
"My fellow staff members have pushed me toward excellence and have taught me a great number of life's lessons. I wouldn't be where I am without everyone's dedication and encouragement," Thomson said. "My accomplishments, in fact, everyone's accomplishments, are linked to the quality of our team. We all learn from each other and succeed because of each member's individual contributions."
The Eagle's Lifestyles Editor Sara Labor, junior of Hot Springs, S.D., took first place in Review writing and first place in Headline Writing. Advertising Director Kristina Harter, senior of Colorado Springs, Colo., captured first and second in Advertisement Design.
Photo Editor Ashley Swanson, junior of Byron, took second place, behind Thomson's first, in the Feature Photograph category, and she earned an honorable mention in the News Photograph category.
Reporter Hannah Clark, junior of Littleton, Colo., took third place in Feature Writing, while photographer Jennifer Parker, freshman of Arvada, Colo., captured third in the Sports Photograph, and an honorable mention in the Feature photograph categories respectively.
Robert Jordan, sophomore of Harrison, earned an honorable mention in the Opinion Writing category.
"I am incredibly pleased with the variety of winners," Thomson said. "There have been years when two or three staff members carried the overall win. But this year, the wins were much more evenly divided among the staff, which is a tribute to everyone's talent and dedication."