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b2ap3_thumbnail_6-13-YJ-national-award.jpgWaynesburg University’s student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, recently won the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) 2016 Mark of Excellence Award for In-Depth Reporting, Small School Division. The award represents the newspaper’s first national-level win.

“Winning a national award for this series, which was the work of four students over the course of an entire calendar year, not only is incredible for these students and is validation of their incredible talent, but is also a reminder to the rest of The Yellow Jacket and other students in the department that hard work really does pay off,” said Dr. Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of communication and faculty advisor for The Yellow Jacket.

Waynesburg University was only one of two Pennsylvania universities to earn a national award in any of the newspaper categories.

The entry was a five-story series on the heroin epidemic written by Kimmi Baston, Anthony Conn, Teghan Simonton and Mattie Winowitch, and it was one of four first-place region awards received by The Yellow Jack in April, all of which were sent on to be judged nationally against the 11 other SPJ regions.

“Any time our students’ work is recognized is exciting, but to be judged the very best in the entire country is phenomenal,” said Szuminsky. “It’s hard to put too fine a point on this, but these four students wrote a series of articles that beat out every student journalist at every college and university with 10,000 students or fewer.”

All national winners and finalists will be recognized at the SPJ’s 2017 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Anaheim, California, in September.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724-852-7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_4-5-YJ-Award.jpgWaynesburg University’s student-run newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, has been named the Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper across four states, which is unprecedented in the University’s history. While the newspaper has been named a finalist for the award in the past, this year, the newspaper was named the first-place winner for the first time.

“This is, without a doubt, the biggest recognition in the newspaper’s nearly 130-year history,” said Dr. Brandon Szuminsky, faculty advisor for the Yellow Jacket and instructor of communication.

To earn first place, the Yellow Jacket overtook finalist newspapers at Central Michigan University and Kent State University, which have an undergraduate population of approximately 20,000 and 40,000 students, respectively.

The award is one of a series of Mark of Excellence awards, recognizing the best in student journalism, given by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). SPJ is a national, prestigious organization of professional and student journalists. Waynesburg’s SPJ region, Region 4, includes Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and part of Pennsylvania. The Yellow Jacket is therefore up against a large number of accomplished college newspapers for the Best All-Around award.

“It’s an unbelievable honor,” said Kimmi Baston, executive editor of the Yellow Jacket. “To be named, effectively, the best newspaper in the region above schools that are 20 or 30 times larger than us is true validation for the hours and hours of hard work the staff puts in.”

The Yellow Jacket received this honor when several members of the staff attended the regional SPJ conference in Detroit, Michigan, on March 31 and April 1. At the Mark of Excellence Award Ceremony, the staff also received nine group and individual awards, including their first-ever recognition for a photo illustration. In writing categories, which are divided into small and large schools, the staff swept both finalist spots and the winning spot in two different categories, General News and Sports Writing, and earned first place in In-Depth Reporting.

“This was an incredible weekend of firsts for The Yellow Jacket,” said Dr. Szuminsky. “We’ve had success in the past at SPJ but we’ve never had so many first-place awards. And to sweep all three awards in two of the categories – and key categories, like general news and sports writing – speaks volumes about the quality of student work being done at Waynesburg.”

All four of the staff’s first-place entries will now move on to the national Mark of Excellence competition and be judged against the first-place winners from the rest of the country’s regions.

Staff group and individual awards include:

  • Finalist, Breaking News Reporting (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “Thomas More women’s basketball team stripped of 2014-15 title” by senior Jacob Meyer
  • Finalist, General News Reporting (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “Incoming freshmen still largely unaware of housing policy” by senior Jacob Meyer
  • Finalist, General News Reporting (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “Shanksville: Stories are shared and respects are paid at Flight 93 Memorial” by junior Shon Meade
  • Winner, General News Reporting (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “Ongoing drug issues addressed throughout community” by graduate Anthony Conn and sophomores Teghan Simonton and Mattie Winowitch
  • Winner, In-Depth Reporting (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “Ongoing drug issues addressed throughout community” by graduate Anthony Conn, senior Kimmi Baston and sophomores Teghan Simonton and Mattie Winowitch
  • Finalist, Sports Writing (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “Thomas More women’s basketball team stripped of 2014-15 title” by senior Jacob Meyer
  • Finalist, Sports Writing (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “The journey of the 2016 Women’s Cross Country team” by senior Jacob Meyer and sophomore Luke Goodling
  • Winner, Sports Writing (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “D-III sports about more than professional aspirations, students say” by senior Kimmi Baston
  • Finalist, Photo Illustration (Small: 1-9,999 Students): “’I Do’ doesn’t have to wait” by junior Shon Meade

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724-852-7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

 

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The Yellow Jacket newspaper, a student-run news publication at Waynesburg University, recently earned a record number of awards from two prestigious journalism organizations. For the year 2016, The Yellow Jacket has accrued 16 awards, breaking the previous year’s record of nine awards. 

Between staff, group and individual awards, the newspaper was named as a finalist for 11 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a national organization of journalism professionals. The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) awarded the Yellow Jacket a total of five awards, announcing one first place award, one second place award, and three honorable mentions for Waynesburg.

The SPJ Mark of Excellence competition assesses college newspapers by dividing entrants into small schools (1-9,999 students) and large schools (10,000+ students) for some categories. Seven Yellow Jacket staff members were named finalists among small schools in categories including General News, In-Depth Reporting, Sports Writing, Feature Writing and others for a total of 10 awards.

The Yellow Jacket was also named a finalist for the Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper award, which assesses all non-daily newspapers regardless of school size.

“Any time a student wins an award from SPJ, it’s a reminder that the curriculum and program we have for journalism students at Waynesburg is really preparing students for the real world,” said Dr. Brandon Szuminsky, faculty advisor for the Yellow Jacket and instructor of communication. “To win such prestigious awards only further reinforces that students are getting a great education and still enjoying all the benefits of a small-school setting.”

The finalists for these Mark of Excellence awards were selected from among entrants across SPJ Region 4, which includes Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. A group of students will travel to the SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference in Detroit, Michigan, at the end of March to learn how the newspaper placed. First-place winners in each category will move on to the national SPJ competition.

“We set a record last year with five SPJ awards, two of them being first place,” said Kimmi Baston, executive editor of the Yellow Jacket. “Even before finding out our placement, to have surpassed our record by so much is such an amazing accomplishment for the entire Yellow Jacket staff.”

SPJ presents the Mark of Excellence Awards annually, honoring the best in student journalism. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism. Waynesburg University’s previous record number of Mark of Excellence Awards was five.

In addition to collecting 11 awards from SPJ, the Yellow Jacket received five Student Keystone Press awards from the PNA in Division II, which includes four-year colleges and universities with enrollment under 10,000.

In the General News category, senior Jacob Meyer earned second place for his story “Thomas More women’s basketball stripped of 2014-15 title.” Senior Kyle Dawson earned first place in the Sports Story category for his story “From fringe to spotlight.”

The Yellow Jacket earned honorable mentions in General News (“Dreams will live on” by senior Kimmi Baston), Ongoing News Coverage (“Community addresses ongoing drug use and overdose problem” by senior Kimmi Baston, sophomores Teghan Simoton and Mattie Winowitch and 2016 graduate Anthony Conn) and Sports Story (“NCAA sanctions baseball team for practice violations” by Kimmi Baston). 

“We’re being compared to schools with great journalism programs all across the state, and we’re more than measuring up,” said Baston. “I’m incredibly proud of the individuals whose hard work and countless hours earned them this recognition.”

The Student Keystone Press Awards contest recognizes high school and college journalism that provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers.

“Winning awards like these is great for resumes and bragging rights, but more importantly they’re a testament to the high quality education that students can get in the Department of Communication,” said Szuminsky. “We believe we’re doing what we say we will when it comes to providing students with real benefits, and this is outside validation and support for that idea.” 

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_3-8-Sports-Announcing-Camp_20170308-163558_1.jpgThe Waynesburg University Department of Communication is offering a Sports Announcing and Sports Journalism Camp this summer from Monday, June 12, through Friday, June 16. 

The camp, which is open to current sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school, is hosted by Lanny Frattare, former voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates and current assistant professor of communication at the University. The deadline to register for the camp is April 28, or until all spaces are filled.

“The primary purpose of the camp is to give aspiring broadcasters and journalists a more in-depth look at those fields,” said Dave Floyd, senior associate director of admissions. “It serves as an opportunity for these students to understand what it takes to succeed, so they can better decide whether or not to pursue those fields as a major in college and/or as a career path. We hope campers are able to accomplish this throughout the week, and we also hope they are able to have a whole lot of fun in the process.”

Now in its eighth year, the annual camp offers high school students interested in sports broadcasting or writing the chance to get hands-on experience in the field and to learn from seasoned professionals. In addition to Frattare, participants will hear from Pittsburgh sports announcers and journalists including Bill Hillgrove, voice of the Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh; Mark Kaboly, reporter for DKPittsburghSports.com; John Steigerwald, former WTAE and KDKA sports anchor; and Paul Steigerwald, voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Attendees will spend the week on Waynesburg’s campus participating in informational and practical sessions about a variety of sports broadcasting and journalism skills. Then, they’ll travel to a local baseball game to try their hand at journalistic and play-by-play game coverage. Camp leaders will also offer athletic activities and other games each day.

Campers are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee for the week is $500, which includes housing, meals and camp materials. A $100 deposit is due by April 28 to reserve a spot. To register, visit waynesburg.edu/sportsannouncingcamp or call 724-852-3373.  

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The Waynesburg University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) was recognized as the Chapter of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pittsburgh chapter. Waynesburg was the first-ever recipient of the award, which was presented at the PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards on Jan. 26. 

According to junior Maura Fenske, president of Waynesburg PRSSA, the chapter earned the award in part because of its efforts to build a strong relationship with PRSA Pittsburgh, its parent chapter. The award is also a reflection of the chapter’s continued efforts to expand professional development and commitment to excellence in public relations.

Last year, Waynesburg PRSSA achieved Star Chapter status for the fourth consecutive year and earned National Affiliation from PRSSA National, in addition to hosting a regional conference at the University. Each of these accomplishments has built the chapter’s portfolio and led to their recognition by their parent chapter.

Both Fenske and Richard Krause, chair of the Department of Communication and advisor to the PRSSA chapter, said the award is an honor and a significant achievement for the chapter, which was formed only seven years ago.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Tagged in: communication news
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