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Student Newspaper Receives Awards

Student Newspaper Receives Awards

Award-winning photo by Matt Kelley '13, editor-in-chief of the Clarion, of Mitch Hallstrom '14 making a one-handed catch in a football playoff game from November.

The Clarion, Bethel University’s student newspaper, recently received five awards from the Advisers of Christian Collegiate Media (ACCM). The organization’s first annual awards program was held in May in conjunction with the annual “Awards of Excellence” competition run by the Evangelical Press Association that evaluates overall excellence in student publications.

“It's so easy to get consumed by the day-to-day tasks and deadlines, so it's great getting affirmation about the final product,” says Matt Kelley, editor-in-chief of the Clarion during the 2012-13 academic year. The Clarion took first-place honors in five of the eight categories representing different aspects of publishing excellence.

  • “Best Editorial” honors went to the article “The Freshman Woes of Dating” by Greta Sowles ’14, which the judge called “a surprising twist on the predictable.”
  • “Best Personality Feature” honors went to the article “Key football coach receives kidney transplant” by Jenny Hudalla ’14, which the judge praised as “compelling.”
  • The first place award for “Best Reporting” went to “Destination: Argentina” by Sowles, which the judge called a “fun story and a nice read.”
  • The first place award for “Photo feature” went to “Royal Re-Do” by Drea Chalmers ’13, Shara Leininger ’13, and Kelley, The judge praised the layout for making the photos “relatable and understandable.”
  • The first place award for the single photo category went to Kelley’s photo “Mitch Hallstrom one-handed catch,” which the judge praised for “nice peak action.”

“The ACCM awards are wonderful, especially with the breadth of categories we were able to win,” says Kelley. “In order to win those five awards, we needed excellent reporting, writing, photography, design, and copy editing. Only a few names are officially recognized on the awards, but I think they speak to the talent and cooperation of our entire staff.”

In addition to the ACCM awards, the Clarionreceived awards from the Evangelical Press Association (EPA) for the same photos recognized by ACCM. The EPA awards were a great honor because the Clarion was not competing against other college newspapers, but against Christian publications, notes Phyllis Alsdurf, faculty advisor to the Clarion.

“I think these awards taught us the value of boots-on-the-ground journalism,” says Kelley. The award for the Royal Re-Do photo feature told the story of a dramatic Homecoming football game against the Concordia College Cobbers. “As for the Royal Re-Do spread, we never could have told that story without having photos from both Drea (Chalmers) and me,” says Kelley. “And Shara (Leininger) was fantastic about condensing a complex story into a clear layout. Originally, we had planned to have a different story in our centerfold, but after that game against the Cobbers, it was clear we had a new focus, even with our deadline fast approaching. The football team provided these incredible and memorable moments, but we never would have been able to capture them without being present and willing to improvise.”