Kansas Collegiate Media announced its annual award winners April 9 bestowing 14 awards upon the Newman University student newspaper, The Vantage.
The paper received the overall publication award — deemed the All-Kansas Award — in the division of Private Four-Year Newspapers.
“We entered three issues from last semester for consideration for this award,” says Madeline Alvarez, editor-in-chief of The Vantage. “One of the issues was a four-page paper, which we put out when my staff was stressed and needed a break from putting together the regular eight-page paper. The judges made the most comments on this shorter issue, saying that the scope of the paper was wide for the brevity of the issue. I feel proud that the tough decision we made for that week’s issue was worth it.”
Individual student reporters also earned recognition, including:
- Honorable Mention for Breaking News
- Honorable Mention for Column Writing
- Two Honorable Mentions for Feature Photography
- Second Place and an Honorable Mention for Feature Writing
- Second Place and Third Place for Front Page Design
- Honorable Mention for Review Writing
- First Place and Third Place for Sports News/Game Writing
- Second Place for Spot News/Event Writing
- Second Place and Third Place for Headline Writing.
“I am very proud of my staff members for all the hard work they have done this year, and I am so happy to see my editors and writers get the recognition they deserve,” says Alvarez.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made our jobs as journalists harder in some ways, especially when not much was happening on campus and there were weeks when we weren’t sure if there would be enough news to cover in the paper. There were also times last semester when our staff was so small that some of us had to write multiple stories a week, and it was extremely stressful. It’s so rewarding to see that our hard work has paid off.”
Denise Neil, faculty adviser for The Vantage and an adjunct journalism instructor, gave a lot of credit to Alvarez for leading the paper’s staff through challenging times.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the staff,” she said. “They’ve managed to continue forward with putting out the paper every week and finding stories important to the Newman community throughout the pandemic, and they deserve this recognition.”
Neil believes The Vantage staff is made up of a collection of smart, witty students who are good with words and great communicators.
“(The Vantage newsroom) is a fun place to be, and it’s also exciting to be in the know about what’s happening at Newman,” she said. “I’ve passed on to my students many of the things I’ve learned working as a professional journalist at The Wichita Eagle for the last 23 years, including the importance of accuracy and good writing. They’ve all grown so much during their time on the Vantage, and many of them could have successful journalism careers if they wanted to.”
Alvarez, who hopes to one day work as an editor for a literary magazine, aims to combine the skills she’s learned as an editor at The Vantage with her love for literature and believes her experiences on the paper will lead her and her fellow reporters to success.
“I started off on The Vantage as a shy freshman who had never written a news article before,” she said. “Being involved with The Vantage is what really helped me break out of my shell and grow in confidence.”
In regard to the Kansas Collegiate Awards, Alvarez gives a special shout-out to The Vantage staff.
“Vantage editors, writers and photographers; thank you so much for your hard work and dedication. This year has been tough and The Vantage could not have continued without every staff member’s contributions.”
Neil mentioned that The Vantage is always looking for more students to join the newsroom and perhaps become next year’s award winners. Anyone interested can email her at [email protected].