Twenty award certificates were presented to MVC students at the Missouri College Media Association convention in St. Joseph on Saturday, April 14, for their work with the Delta newspaper and website.
The Delta earned the most awards for the Delta and the most first-place honors this year since it began competing in the MCMA contest four years ago. The competition involved material from Spring 2011 and the following Fall 2011.
Amit Jain, the Delta webmaster who is a Computer Science and Math major, received a first-place award for the design of the Delta Online website, in its first-year of existence. The Delta website can be seen at www.mvcdelta.com. Jain also received a second-place award in the multimedia category for a music showcase entry.
The Delta website dominated the online categories, with Paulene-Wendy Ntsame Assoumou and Toray Henry receiving a first-place multimedia award for a story about Scottish student Jamie Kelly who plays the bagpipes. It was an online entry that combined feature story, photos, audio and video. Ntsame Assoumou was recently named Delta “reporter of the year” for her diligent work in both semesters for the student newspaper and website.
A first-place award for column-writing went to Devon Wade, who served as Delta co-editor for two years before graduating in December with a Mass Communication degree. His column was about coaching a struggling youth football team. Wade also received an honorable mention award for an indepth reporting story about how students came to MVC.
A first-place award in editorial writing went to Matt Ellis for a commentary about baseball salary caps. Ellis, a Mass Communication graduate from last year, currently works at a Missouri newspaper.
A first-place award for a sports column went to Micah Petersen, an MVC graduate from last year who is currently in law school at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. The column was about the influence of money in determining college football bowl games.
Ariana Stephens, an Art major who takes photographs for the Delta, was given a third-place award for sports photography for a football photo by Ariana Stephens wins an award.
An honorable mention award went to Mass Communication student Leon Emperio for a sports page involving a soccer story and layout
Honorable mention awards also went to 2011 graduates Roger Guimont, for feature photography for an endearing portrait photo of a soapy baby; and Will Claggett, who currently works for KOMU-TV in Columbia, for an indepth reporting story about the MVC “Cares” project which provided packages to soldiers in war zones.
An honorable mention award went to Zoom photojournalism online magazine, with staff members Will Claggett, Catie Combs, Carly Eades, Leon Emperio, Roger Guimont, Toray Henry, Melinda Houttuin, and Drew Mohler receiving individual award certificates for the work on the publication.
Delta faculty adviser David L. Roberts said he was proud of the students. “The Delta staff is usually small and, in our division which includes nine schools, we are up against colleges like William Jewell where the student staff numbers around 20. So, it is a challenge every year and the Delta students have continued to do well in the competition every year,” Roberts said.
Roberts said it was also gratifying that students won top honors for the new Delta website, which is in its first year as part of the Delta newspaper project, and for multimedia work. “We are leading the way in our division concerning online news presentation,” Roberts added.
Delta reporter Paulene-Wendy Ntsame Assoumou said, “It is always thrilling to go to the convention as it gives you an acknowledgment on what you have accomplished and an outlook on areas that the student newspaper still has to conquer.” She said the convention never fails when it comes to outstanding speakers.
At MCMA convention on the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, student journalists from 27 colleges and universities from all over the state gathered for informational sessions and newspaper competition.
The keynote speaker for the banquet was Rob Curley, editor of the new-media division of the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group. He told about the newspapers early development as an online news source. He said the paper has grown tremendously in attracting online readers and also won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative work.
He noted the five “P’s” of the Internet: Passion, Practical, Playful, Personal Communication, and, jokingly, Porn. “The Internet is the most practical medium we’ve ever had,” he said. He said that the average reader on a site reads a story for only one-and-a-half minutes.
To the question of gaining online readers, Curley said a publication has to have relevance, understand the ecosystem, have the ability “not” to trust your instincts, build a sense of community, and protect the community from outside critics.
Throughout information sessions, the theme of news on websites overtaking traditional newspaper formats was present.
Amanda Wilkins, assistant manager editor/online for the Kansas City Star and KansasCity.com, talked about the digital newsroom. She said one place where newspapers aren’t making cuts is in digital areas. “We’re in the news business, not the newspaper business anymore,” she said, adding, “We’re not in the dead tree business.”
Wilkins said what works on the web is often different from what works for traditional newspapers. Updating news websites
frequently and adding more photos helps to raise viewers, she said. She also said social media, such as Twitter, are also becoming important additions for news alerts or for finding viewers.
Wilkins later looked at the Delta’s website and said she was impressed with the design and ease in navigating the site, complimenting webmaster Jain for his work.
In an informational session about warning signs when college administrators come into conflict with student newspapers, T.R. Hanrahan, a former adviser at Missouri Southern State University, told about experiences there. He suggested ways of educating an administration about freedom of the student press. Students are doing what they are supposed to be learning when they serve as a watchdog over an entity, including an educational institution, he said.
Former student editor Brennan Stebbins told about using Sunshine Law requests to gain access to university information and administration e-mails. A tenured adviser for a student newspaper in attendance commented, “I can’t imagine being an adviser without tenure.”
Other convention information sessions were about column writing, sports writing, video shooting, covering tragedy, internships, job hunting, and other topics.
The MVC Delta joined the MCMA four years ago. Since that time, 52 award certificates have been given to MVC students for their work in the Delta.