CHADRON – Chadron State College Communication and Social Sciences Instructor Michael Kennedy and the staff of CSC’s student newspaper “The Eagle” will find out this weekend if the publication can extend a six-year streak of recognition as the best student newspaper in the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association (NCMA).
Kennedy and nine staff members of “The Eagle” will leave Friday for Concordia University in Seward to attend the annual NCMA conference, which includes presentation of the organization’s Golden Leaf Awards for excellence in news media.
“The Eagle” has won the Golden Leaf Award for Best Overall Excellence among the NCMA member college newspapers every year since 2011 and placed second in the category in 2009 and 2010, Kennedy said.
Overall excellence is a sweepstakes award in the Golden Leaf competition that includes 19 separate categories covering aspects of writing, design, layout, and photography.
The newspaper contest is judged by media and photography professionals from South Dakota, Wyoming, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas, Kennedy said. Golden Leaf Awards are also given to digital and broadcast media. The online component of “The Eagle,” csceagle.com, has won overall excellence awards in three of the last four years.
“The Eagle” has placed highly in the visual categories of the contest since 2010, when a redesign placed more emphasis on visual appearance and introduced use of a large front-page photo and a center spread feature, said Kennedy, who has been the adviser to the student-run newspaper since the 2008-09 school year. An increased focus on writing quality in 2011 led to improvements in those categories as well, he said.
Jordyn Hulinsky, editor of “The Eagle” since 2015, credits the newspaper staff for winning the top awards.
“It wasn’t me. It’s a team effort,” she said. “I’m just in charge of putting people in the right places. They do the work.”
Hulinsky, who will graduate in May, is looking toward a career in journalism and said she already has a job opportunity at a newspaper in Nebraska. Although many newspapers are struggling with declining circulation and advertising revenue, Hulinsky said she is optimistic about the future of journalism.
“I think newspapers will continue, especially in small towns in Nebraska,” she said. “People want to see their names in the paper.”
“The Eagle” has been the college newspaper since about 1920, just nine years after Chadron Normal was founded as a teacher training college. A comprehensive list of awards the paper has won over the years hasn’t been compiled, but the walls of the staff room on the second floor of Old Admin are covered with Golden Leaf Award plaques and other honor certificates. The paper is funded by the college, student fees and advertising revenue.
Kennedy is executive director of the NCMA. The organization’s current membership includes Chadron State,Wayne State, Peru State, Concordia University Nebraska, Doane University, Hastings College, and Nebraska Wesleyan University.