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b2ap3_thumbnail_monogram.jpgWaynesburg University’s student newspaper, the Yellow Jacket, was recently recognized with five awards from two preeminent professional journalism organizations.

The student-run paper was named a finalist for two top regional awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and was awarded three statewide awards for individual excellence in reporting from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA).

Selected as a finalist for the Region 4 Mark of Excellence Award for Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper by SPJ for the second consecutive year, the Yellow Jacket will learn how it placed in its region later in March at a conference at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. First place regional winners will move on to the national SPJ competition.

"These two consecutive awards show great progress not just at the paper, but in our own development as journalists," said Nick Farrell, senior communication major and executive editor of the Yellow Jacket. "I have no doubt that those staff members who choose to continue careers in journalism after college will continue the success we started here."

Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of communication and co-advisor for the Yellow Jacket at Waynesburg University, said that the Best All-Around category "is basically a best-in-show award that takes into account the entire paper and is judged regardless of school."

"Last year's winner, for example, has an enrollment of 28,000, and we were right there behind them with only 1,500," Szuminsky said. "For us to be one of the three finalists for this award means we've got one of the three best non-daily student newspapers in a four-state region for back-to-back years – that's pretty impressive for a small school such as this."

SPJ also named the Yellow Jacket a finalist in the Best In-Depth Reporting (Small School) category for the coverage of Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee’s inauguration last spring.

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.

Additionally, PNA recognized the Yellow Jacket with three Student Keystone Press Awards in Division II, the category for four-year colleges and universities with enrollment under 10,000 students within the commonwealth.

The Yellow Jacket’s PNA awards include first place in the category "Ongoing News Coverage" for the series "Administration overhauls academic calendar" by Farrell, John Lydic, Jacob Meyer and Kimmi Baston; first place in the "Feature Story" category for "Nursing a life of stress" by Rebecca Burcham; and an honorable mention for sports story "Jacket football writes history with a tale of two kicks" by Farrell.

"It's hard to overstate how proud I am of these student journalists," Szuminsky said. "To win two first place awards and an honorable mention in such diverse categories speaks to the depth and breadth of the coverage of the Yellow Jacket that the students put out each and every week. They pour so much of their time and talent into the newspaper that it's incredibly gratifying to see them recognized for their work at a state-wide level."

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

"As editor, few things have been more gratifying than these awards," Farrell said. "They're a reminder of how important good journalism is in our society and how much my classmates and I have grown through our instruction at Waynesburg. I hope that future writers at the Yellow Jacket continue to evolve with the paper, not for the sake of awards, but for the betterment of our campus community."

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Waynesburg University will host its sixth annual Sports Announcing Camp Monday, June 15, through Friday, June 19, 2015, on the campus of Waynesburg University. The camp is hosted by Lanny Frattare, assistant professor of communication at Waynesburg University and former voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

The purpose of the camp is to afford high school students the opportunity to learn alongside well-known professionals in the field. The camp will include various workshops throughout the week, where students will be given the opportunity to work hands-on in the field with past and present professionals in the sports announcing industry. 

“The sports announcing camp gives young individuals an opportunity to learn the basics of sports broadcasting,” said Frattare. “It has helped many decide if their interest in the field is strong enough to justify it as a major in college. Those of us who conduct the camp are proud to showcase the Waynesburg University campus and broadcasting program to perspective students.”

Camp teachers and mentors include:

•Lanny Frattare is known as one of the most recognizable personalities and voices in Pittsburgh and major league baseball. He spent 33 years as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates broadcast team, before joining the Waynesburg University teaching staff. His stay with the Pirates is the longest of any play-by-play announcer in team history.

•John Steigerwald, now an internet talk show host at www.tribweb.com and a Sunday columnist for the Observer-Reporter, served as a sports anchor with WTAE-TV from 1978 to 1985. He also worked for KDKA-TV as a sports anchor until 2007. His books, “Just Watch the Game” and “Just Watch the Game (Again),” have received great reviews and give a look into his 40-year history in Pittsburgh sports media.

•Paul Steigerwald has recently entered his eighth season as the play-by-play announcer for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Root Sports. He spent six seasons as the radio voice of the Penguins and the previous 14 seasons as the color commentator on Penguins TV and radio broadcasts. Steigerwald has worked in the industry since 1979 when his career started with the Johnstown Red Wings.

•Bill Hillgrove serves as the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers football and basketball. Following his lengthy tenure as WTAE sports director, he remains its Steeler Insider. His distinguished career earned him the National Football Foundation's 2007 Chris Schenkel Award. 

According to Frattare, the campers will be given the chance to announce a Washington Wild Things baseball game, conduct radio and television interviews, take part in "talk radio" segments, read a public service announcement and read radio and television sports reports.

“The camp, in my opinion, offers the perfect balance of broadcast theory, practical experience and fun,” said Frattare. “As the former voice of the Pirates, I am inspired each year by the number of young people who have the dream of becoming sports announcers.”

For more information or to register, visit Waynesburg.edu/sportsannouncingcamp. Space is limited and participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_headshot.jpgJordan Mitrik, a junior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa., recently won the Bob O’Gara Student Scholarship from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He accepted the award at the 2015 PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards Thursday, Jan. 29. 

This is the first time that a Waynesburg student has received the award, which is given annually to one outstanding public relations student in the Pittsburgh region. Mitrik met all of the scholarship requirements including high standards of achievement in academics, involvement in extracurricular activities, evidence of personal character, leadership and citizenship and demonstrated knowledge of and interest in the profession and practice of public relations. 

“I am truly honored to represent western Pennsylvania and the participating PRSSA Chapters as the scholarship recipient,” Mitrik said. “When people mention big names in the Pittsburgh public relations market, Bob O'Gara's name is always in the mix. He is a true advocate for students and a leader in the industry. He is a role model to me and I could not be more humbled to receive this type of recognition.”

Mitrik serves as the vice president of Waynesburg’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter and as the director of Waynesburg University’s public relations student-run firm, Red Brick Communications. He works in the Office of University Relations as a student writer and as a recruiter for the University’s Department of Communication. 

In addition to his public relations responsibilities, Mitrik is president and captain of Waynesburg University's Men's Club Volleyball team, is a Leadership Scholar and is a member of Lambda Pi Eta,Waynesburg’s communication honor society. 

During his acceptance speech, Mitrik thanked God, his family, the Renaissance Awards Committee and Waynesburg University for his success. 

“It took determination, motivation and lots of coffee to bring me here today,” said Mitrik. “During moments of doubt, God was always involved. He placed me at Waynesburg University to experience these things and to bring me to this moment.” 

Eight members of the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter traveled to the event to volunteer and network. The annual ceremony celebrates the brightest stars and best work in Pittsburgh’s public relations community. 

The students arrived before the event began and assisted with set up, schedule review and prep work. During the ceremony, students managed the registration table, communicating with more than 150 public relations practitioners from the Pittsburgh area. Members were also responsible for handing out the awards to the winners. 

This is the third consecutive year the Waynesburg Chapter sent members to work the event after establishing a close connection with its parent Chapter, PRSA Pittsburgh.  

Chartered in 2010, the award-winning Waynesburg University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America strives to prepare members for their future profession through experience, opportunity and achievement.

Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Seven students from the Waynesburg University’s Department of Communication will spend part of their Christmas breaking working with Trans World Radio (TWR), an international broadcast ministry on the Caribbean island of Bonaire. The students will spend Friday, Jan. 2, through Sunday, Jan. 11, assisting TWR in creating production schedules, radio lines, videos and promotional materials. 

Beth Merry, instructor of communication at the University; Chad Sherman, assistant professor of communication; Jacquelyn Core, University provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Karen Younger, assistant professor of history, will lead the team of students.

The purpose of our trip is to help carry out the mission of the University by giving our students a chance to serve God and TWR, while using the skills that that they have learned at Waynesburg,” Merry said. “They will have a chance to do international broadcasting, film and edit videos, help the missionaries with their prayer letters, write scripts, take photographs and a variety of other projects that enable them to use their specialized skills.” 

Students participating in the trip include:

•April Bellizio, junior journalism major from Monmouth, N.J. (South Brunswick High School)

•Taylor Bombalski, senior public relations major from Freeport, Pa. (Freeport Area Senior High School)

•Anthony Conn, junior electronic media major from West Sunbury, Pa. (Moniteau Junior-Senior High School)

•Kyle Dawson, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Plum Senior High School)

•Stephen Haynes, senior electronic media from Smithton, Pa. (Yough Senior High School)

•Ronald Leisie, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information major from Ellwood City, Pa. (Lincoln High School)

•Anne McGlaughlin, sophomore public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Brentwood Middle-High School)

•Jordan Mitrik, junior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (North Catholic High School)

•Abby Pittinaro, junior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Carlynton Junior-Senior High School)

•Mitchell Ross, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information from Blairsville, Pa. (Bible Baptist Christian School)

•Chelsey Withers, sophomore public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (North Hills High School)

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Monogram Small.jpgThe first annual John C. Knox Writing Contest was held Sat., Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m. on the campus of Waynesburg University under the director of Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of Communication at Waynesburg University. The contest was free and open to high school students in grades 10 to 12 within the tri-state area interested in writing or journalism. The Observer Publishing Company sponsored this event. Cash prizes were awarded to the winners.

Following registration, students were welcomed and given instructions, followed by an hour-long news conference with Lanny Frattare, former Pittsburgh Pirates announcer and assistant professor of communication at Waynesburg University. The students then had a two-hour session to write a feature article based on that information. 

The students’ articles were judged by local newspaper journalists and editors from the Observer-Reporter as well as members of Waynesburg University's Department of Communication and the University's student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. 

The winners are as follows:

•First-place winner: Joseph Wilkinson of Pittsburgh, senior at Mt. Lebanon High School

•Second-place winner: Alex McCann of Freedom, senior at Eden Christian Academy

•Third-place winner: Katie Siple of Spring Grove, senior at York Catholic High School

The winners showed praiseworthy examples of a journalistic feature article. The first-place winner received $500 and his article will be published in the award-winning Waynesburg University student newspaper, the Yellow Jacket. Second-place received $300 and third-place, $200. All participants were awarded a t-shirt.

“It was a very tough task to choose the winners,” said Szuminsky. “The quality of work these students produced is very impressive. It was encouraging to see so many young people committed to journalism and quality writing. We hope all the participants continue this commitment throughout their high school career and into college and beyond.”

Next year’s John C. Knox Writing Contest will be held in Fall 2015. 

For more information, contact Brandon Szuminsky at 724-852-3427 or email bszumins@waynesburg.edu.

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