Sunday, April 22, 2007

Judges' comments for small newspapers

Below are the judges comments for the winners of the Golden Leaf print awards.
Best Overall Newspaper
First: Staff, The Doane Owl, Doane College.
>>>>> The judge said: “The paper is the clear cut winner for its overall excellence. From news, to features, to editorials, the paper does a good job of covering it all. Inside pages have clear packages and the photography and design are of high quality. An excellent paper.”
Second: Staff, The Collegian, Hastings College.
>>>>> The judge said: “A solid job of covering tough stories coupled with some solid design makes this a worthy competitor. I was impressed with the solid attempts at special inside pages and the design elements they incorporated. Some solid photos added to the mix as well.”
Third: Staff, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College.
>>>>> The judge said: “Some solid issues. The year-end is nice, but a bit self-indulgent in spots, including the editorial page. The covers demonstrate some solid news judgment and some nice design, especially for a half-tab, which can be difficult to design. Nice work.”

Special Section/Issue
First: Eagle Staff, Chadron State College, “A Season to Remember”
>>>>> The judge said: “This section was a colorful, in-depth look at the football team’s exploits, with well-framed and shot photography throughout the section. The pictures, captions and text worked well together to give a hard-hitting reliving of a special moment in time on the gridiron.”
Second: Danny Nicklin, The Collegian, Hastings College, “Politically Correct”
>>>>> The judge said: “This special section gave excellent insight into students’ political activities before the election. It has a clever title and graphics that give a feel for electioneering, along with the bonus of including election results as well. It’s a great glimpse into the behind-the-scene process for elections.”
Third: Staff, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “How Do I Vote Next Tuesday?”
>>>>> The judge said: “This section provides a detailed guide to voters, timely information delivered right before election day. It’s the type of non-biased information that would help anyone get both sides to each proposition before they go in to vote. A real aid to democracy in the region.”

Advertisement Design
First: Natalie Swanda, The Sower, Concordia University, “Vicki’s.
>>>>> The judge said: “The ad is well balanced and tells me a lot. The font selections were nice and the approach to the overall design was very clean. Nice job.”
Second: Michelle Frohlich, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Riley’s In House.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Nice use of an image to convey meaning. Clear ad. Point taken.”

Hard News/Spot News Story
First: Jamie Helgren, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Soccer coach arrested for third DUI.”
>>>>> The judge said: “This was a tough pick in a very competitive category. The thing that pushes this one above the rest is the reporting. The writer managed to get the soccer coach who had just been arrested to talk on the record. The writer also got players, administrators and others to add meaningful information to the story. The one thing that almost cost it the top spot was the use of “for” in both the headline and the lead. That word indicates that he’s guilty, which needs to be determined in a court of law. “on suspicion of” or “was charged with” or “police said” are all acceptable alternatives to what could be a libelous statement. However, the excellence in the rest of the piece was overwhelming so it takes the prize.”
Second: Scott Steele, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Press box profanity.”
>>>>> The judge said: “A great read on something that likely created a great deal of buzz on campus. This story is very well written, recounting events without devolving into too much chronology and integrating sources who all have something important to add to the story. The time element in the lead could have been fresher, which does limit the story a bit, but the overall piece was great to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Third: Zach Gunzelman, The Sower, Concordia University, Nebraska, “Police arrest student for trespassing in women’s locker room.
>>>>> The judge said: “In drawing from the police report, the writer culls some amusing details about this arrest that help make it a winning entry. The lead is a bit buried here and I wish the writer had gotten back to the issue of the arrestee being a student athlete, but the story has its merits and is just an overall good bit of journalism.”

Editorial Cartoon
First: Kate Gehrig, Doane College, The Doane Owl
>>>>> The judge said: “Very simple message told in bold strokes and with precision. Leaves no doubt about the feelings the student has for the way administration is destroying school traditions.”
Second: Scott Steele, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “WSC Porcelain Deck Project” and “Jabba the Falwell”
>>>>> The judge said: “First cartoon shows administrators giving poor reasoning for a boondoggle project on campus. Very clearly shows a disconnect between their reasoning and reality. Second one takes on Jerry Falwell in a surreal, humorous way.”
Third: Amy Kucera, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “I think the airlines” and “Presidential Window Shopping”
>>>>> The judge said: “First cartoon spoofs the way airlines do racial profiling in security. The cartoon is direct and makes a strong statement. The second one illustrates the way Bush ignores the loss of life going on in Iraq.”

Investigative/In-Depth Story
First: Rhea Landholm, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Better safe than sorry?”
>>>>> The judge said: “The piece best typifies what an in-depth story should be: well researched, well sourced and on a topic of great interest to the audience. In reviewing the perils and pitfalls of Face Book, the writer did an outstanding job of helping the reader take a second look at an otherwise ordinary part of college life.”
Second: Danny Nicklin, The Collegian, Hastings College, “Cameras cause safety concerns.”
>>>>> The judge said: “This story sheds some light on a frightening problem on this campus. While students are led to believe that the cameras the school has provided will protect them from theft, the writer reports how that belief is clearly a myth. Nice job in rooting out the story and the narrative opening with the student who was victimized really makes this a complete story.”
Third: Elizabeth Peters, The Reveille, Nebraska Wesleyan University, “Concern for student safety.”
>>>>> The judge said: “A solid story that does a good job of rounding up a series of incidents into a larger report. The writer does a nice job of explaining what has happened, what is currently happening and what will happen next. The information at the end of the story on how to contact the safety department would have been better as a break-out box, but the rest works well.”

First: Staff, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Feb 9 and others.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Strong stands that are well articulated. The writing is crisp and strong. Some research augments the opinions well.”
Second: Staff, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Sept. 28 and others.”
>>>>> The judge said: “The financial transparency editorial was the best of the bunch and exemplified what an editorial should be: well thought out, clear, on a topic of interest and with a strong call to action.”
Third: Kori Buchholz, The Reveille, Nebraska Wesleyan University, “Editorial.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Smartly written editorials about issues that clearly mattered to the campus. Nice job.”

First: Jonna Huseman, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Putting women in their place” and others
>>>>> The judge said: “Smart takes on life. An original voice that speaks to issues with courage. Bravo. ”
Second: Jessica Luebbe, The Sower, Concordia University, “Pass the time by doing things you love” and others
>>>>> The judge said: “Honest commentary on life from the front. Should be must reading for everyone who is not there. ”
Third: Melanie Kirk, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “ ‘Makeover’ shows attitude flaws” and others
>>>>> The judge said: “Thoughtful sensibilities brought to bear. Insight found where others get caught up in entertainment. ”

Sports Column
First: John Thayer, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Simple Solution” and others
>>>>> The judge said: “Columns speak with authority on a range of subjects. The last paragraph is consistently worth waiting for. ”
Second: Nick Benes, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “False buzz? I think not” and others
>>>>> The judge said: “Opinions are supported by evidence, analysis leavened with common sense. Clever juxtapositioning of church and sports, two altars that call. ”
Third: Kim Bloch, The Midland, Midland Lutheran College, “Pressure: an athlete’s worst enemy” and others
>>>>> The judge said: “Impressive, comical show of original reporting in taking a long snap. Insightful personal touch in writing about the Mannings (careful with possessives like Mannings’) ”

Sports Game Story
First: Sara Mettlen, The Doane Owl, “Doane dominates home track invite”
>>>>> The judge said: “Story begins with a strong lede, and also makes good use of quotes from the coach and other competitors. Fine job of summarizing the main events from a large track meet.”
Second: Erin Leick, The Doane Owl, “Tigers can’t hold on to opener”
>>>>> The judge said: “Well-organized article that captures the several problems plaguing a woeful football team. Whether intentional or not, this article manages to convey what the overall ethos of the team is at the time of the loss.”
Third: Mike O’Brien, The Wayne Stater, “Lopers swallowed in sea of black”
>>>>> The judge said: “Nice lede and solid synopsis of the match. As a rule of thumb, don’t just abbreviate the names of every college (e.g., UNO, UNK). To an outside reader, it is impossible to know what you are referring to. ”

Two-Page Spread Layout Design
First: Megan Arrington, The Collegian, Hastings College, “Holiday Special"
>>>>> The judge said: “Eye-catching page; good dominant element with appropriate proportions overall. Clean typography.”
Second: Daniel Binkard, Eagle, Chadron State College, “Spotted Tail fire leaves C-Hill blackened.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Traditional but clean layout; well-organized page.”
Third: JoAnna Reiter, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “The Secret Lives We Lead.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Pleasing layout with good typography; more consistent space between elements would have improved the package.”

First: Rick Prusa, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “’Covenant’ worth the wait”
>>>>> The judge said: “Excellent detail to pull the reader in, and the use of exposition helps give background without giving the film away.”
Second: Katie Segrist, The Reveille, Nebraska Wesleyan University, “The Herb-meister”
>>>>> The judge said: “Great background on the artist. The introduction could have been shorter.”
Third: Lucas Graff, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Comedian goes half and half”
>>>>> The judge said: “Nice lede, and good job keeping yourself out of the article. ”

Sports Feature Story
First: “Pranks: A thing of the past” Joanna Reiter, The Doane Owl
>>>>> The judge said: “ Great topic and it was covered comprehensively. The writer pushes past the event of the football game and covers the stuff under the surface, exactly what a feature should do.”
Second: “All American” Nick Benes, The Wayne Stater
>>>>> The judge said: “The lead sets up the tension of the moment quite well and the rest of the story fills in the gaps. ”
Third: Just Kickin’ it, Amy Applegarth, The Doane Owl
>>>>> The judge said: “The story flows really well and doesn’t drag. While it might not be a traditional sports story, it relates kickboxing to students who might not have had an interest otherwise.”

News Photo
First: Casey Mills, The Collegian, “Building Engulfed in Flame”
>>>>> The judge said: “One of the strongest things about this is that it focuses on the firefighters, not the fire. Turning away from the obvious shot let the photographer find a sense of hopelessness, not only with in the firemen now holding the hose, but those milling about in the back.”
Second: Jonna Huseman, The Wayne Stater, “Chambers urges students to think critically”
>>>>> The judge said: “This photo succeeds based on the strength of the subject. Usually photos of people taking behind podiums are boring, but this photo carries an emotion, thanks to the speaker, that is just hidden enough to make it interesting.”
Third: Daniel Binkard, The Eagle, Dean’s green becomes battleground during ROTC
>>>>> The judge said: “Another photo with a great subject. The juxtaposition between soldiers (with guns) and a common area makes for a great image.”

Sports Photo
First: “Cats capture big win” Mike O’Brien, The Wayne Stater
>>>>> The judge said: “The out-of-focus background focuses attention on the sense of motion and energy, and the players’ faces, capturing the intensity of match.”
Second: “Knockout Punch” Megan Arrington, The Collegian
>>>>> The judge said: “The article accompanying this story discussed the ‘physical play of the game.’ The photographer has given readers a sense of that before they get to the text of the story. ”
Third: “Softball slides into region Jenn Lampila, The Doane Owl
>>>>> The judge said: “Back foot dug in, the concentration on the face, the slight blur of the lead foot, glove hand and pitching arm as the pitch is delivered all combine to create a winning photo.

Photo Essay
First: “Shaving for Shuman” Jonna Huseman, The Wayne Stater
>>>>> The judge said: “Most of the images in this series are of people getting their head shaved. Working in this fairly limited range, the photographer has managed to convey a wide range of emotions.”
Second: ”Snow Day” Staff, The Wayne Stater
>>>>> The judge said: “You don’t have to read the story to know what this is about.: people playing outside on a snow day. People at Wayne State look like they know how to make the most of a snow day, and the staff has captured the fun.
Third: “Arbor Day an original Nebraska Holiday” John “Buddha” Dellle, Chadron State College
>>>>> The judge said: “Good variety in the images, and the photos work well on the page. A photo essay on a student arborist to help mark Arbor Day is a good way to localize a story.”

Special Design or Graphics
First: Andy Dygert, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Providing the Spark”
>>>>> The judge said: “Creative idea, well executed.”
Second: Isiah May and Megan Arrington, The Collegian, Hastings College, “All Business”
>>>>> The judge said: “Photo display grabs attention well, but reversed-out body type is difficult to read.”
Third: Andy Dygert, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Eating Disorders Seminar”
>>>>> The judge said: “Although not an original idea, the execution is effective.”

Feature Story
First: Paul Fischer, The Sower, Concordia University, “Denominational differences don’t have to divide”
>>>>> The judge said: “A plethora of sources, a relatable topic and solid writing bring this entry to the front of the pack. Tips for the future: Watch the size of quotes and paraphrase more. ”
Second: Melanie Kirk, The Doane Owl, Doane College, “Richard’s Story”
>>>>> The judge said: “Another story with obvious appeal to the campus audience. A lack of quotes from the subject of the article and somewhat choppy writing prevent this story from being number one.”
Third: Lauren Smith, Eagle, Chadron State College, “In facing death, Dr. Randall Austin anticipates life”
>>>>> The judge said: “A powerful story with one major flaw: a severe lack of input from those who know him. Multiple sources and more background on the cancer would have strengthened this article.”

First: Scott Steele, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Porcelain Deck and others”
>>>>> The judge said: “A clear winner for its social commentary and its sharp wit. I liked how the artist made clear references to important issues both on and off campus.”
Second: Buddy Maixner, Doane Owl, Doane College, “Sept. 28 and Oct. 12.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Fun strips that engage the reader. A worthy comic.”

Feature Photograph
First: Jonna Huseman, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Forget Sunshine.”
>>>>> The judge said: “The detail on this shot is amazing. The shooter found a way to tell a story of a freak blizzard via this robin on what should be the first day of spring.”
Second: Savaannah Wissig, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Spaghetti Showdown.”
>>>>> The judge said: “A quirky event that yielded an even quirkier moment.”
Third: Isaiah May and Megan Arrington, The Collegian, Hastings College, “Water World.”
>>>>> The judge said: “An amazingly innovative shooting technique puts this piece in the top three. By using a standard camera and a fish tank, these shooters got an interesting image in an uncommon way.”

Front Page Layout Design
First: Tosha Rae Long, Doane Owl, Doane College, “April 27 and Nov. 2.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Nice packaging, good use of the strip for big news and a solid job of making it all work together on the page.”
Second: Isaiah May, Collegian, Hastings College, “April 6 and May 4.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Nice use of layering and images to make the page come together.”
Third: Jonna Huseman, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “GOP 3 and Year End.”
>>>>> The judge said: “Two solid pages that worked well in telling big stories.”

First: Staff, Doane Owl, Doane College, “ANGEL may just be Heaven sent and others.”
>>>>> The judge said: “The plays on words are meaningful to the core of the stories and don’t distract from the overall storytelling. The best of the bunch is about the students’ silence speaking volumes. In all, it was the best group of headlines. They were fun without being too cute.”
Second: Beth Mohlke, The ViewPoint, NECC, “Left meets right in the middle and others.”
>>>>> The judge said: “A solid set of headlines that use good elements from the stories to tell the reader what to expect. They are innovative and smart while still conveying important information.”
Third: Rhea Landholm, The Wayne Stater, Wayne State College, “Luck was a lady and others.”
>>>>> The judge said: “The “luck was a lady” headline was the best of the bunch and it fit the story perfectly. This was one of those cases where the writer got away with a smart and fun headline because the deck head conveyed a lot of information. The other heads were weaker, but still fit the themes of the stories and worked well.”

First: Cliff Switzer, The Wayne Stater, “Daycare Dilemma”
>>>>> The judge said: “Extremely well done examination of a social issue that is pertinent to the campus. Effective use of quotes from administration officials, faculty, and students who have been affected by daycare availability. In addition, the writing style is superior to all other entries.”
Second: News Staff, The Doane Owl, “Stop Day”
>>>>> The judge said: “Sophisticated treatment of an important campus issue. Nice job of giving the issue a comprehensive treatment by looking at things like liquor sales and breaking developments in Stop Day.
Third: News Staff, The Doane Owl, “Food Services”
>>>>> The judge said: “Appropriate analysis of changes in food services and the implications these have for students. A solid entry in a competitive category.”

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