The Vantage student newspaper wins All-Kansas award in Kansas Collegiate Journalism

Apr 13, 2017

On April 8 and 9, members of The Vantage, the student newspaper of Newman University, attended the annual Kansas Collegiate Media conference at the Drury Plaza Hotel in downtown Wichita. Approximately 200 student writers from colleges across Kansas gathered and witnessed the Vantage newspaper receive the 2017 All-Kansas award in Kansas Collegiate Journalism as well as 17 individual awards.

The All-Kansas award is given to the newspaper in each category that earns top marks from judges for its overall publication. The judges in the four-year private school newspaper competition critiqued three consecutive issues of The Vantage among other papers from four-year private schools and awarded rankings. The Vantage received the highest number of points.

The conference featured breakout sessions, a luncheon, a keynote address, individual awards and winners of the Jackie Engel and All-Kansas awards. Student writers were given the option to attend breakout sessions of their choosing, which included talks about accessing public records, feature writing and photography among other topics.

Each publication competed against other newspapers by category: Journalist of the Year, two-year Newspaper, four-year Public Newspaper, four-year Private Newspaper and Yearbook/Magazine. Some of the categories for individual awards included column writing, headline writing, sports feature writing and page design.

Editor-in-Chief Delaney Hiegert earned third place in an on-site copy editing competition, where she was up against students from all four-year colleges in Kansas.

Staff members of the Vantage submitted their best work to compete in the four-year Private Newspaper Division and racked up the following awards:

  • All-Kansas in Kansas Collegiate Journalism (Golden plaque)
  • Silver Medalist Award
  • First place in sports photography – Hank Griggs
  • First place in headline writing – Wesley Williams
  • Second place in column writing – Kati Bush
  • Second place in headline writing – Wesley Williams
  • Third place in column writing – Delaney Hiegert
  • Third place in illustration – Mark Foster
  • Third place in copy editing contest – Delaney Hiegert
  • Third place in feature writing – Gabriella Rizzi
  • Third place in front page design – Lauren Rust
  • Third place in news writing – Jacob Hobbie and Lauren Rust
  • Honorable Mention in column writing – Lauren Spencer
  • Honorable mention in front page design – Delaney Hiegert
  • Honorable mention in news writing – Delaney Hiegert
  • Honorable mention in news writing – Delaney Hiegert
  • Honorable mention in sports features – Jacob Hamerle

“I am blessed to be a part of a staff that is willing to get its feet dirty and share the stories that need to be told,” said News Editor Lauren Rust. “Even among the other newspapers at the conference, the ones who were willing to step out and get the stories were the ones that prevailed.”

Denise Neil is the newspaper advisor at Newman and a journalist and columnist at The Wichita Eagle. She attended the conference alongside her students, presented in a breakout session entitled “Writing Reviews,” coordinated the four-year Public category and announced the winners.

“We didn’t receive as many individual awards, but we got the overall All-Kansas award,” Neil said. “We now have a plaque and bragging rights, which makes me proud because the last time we won this award was at least 15 years ago.”

Editor-in-Chief Delaney Hiegert has been an editor for The Vantage for three years, this year being her first as editor-in-chief. Hiegert said she is most excited that the newspaper received the All-Kansas award because it shows how much progress has been made.

“This award recognizes our newspaper and its entire staff — not one individual story or layout, but as a whole,” Hiegert said. “It makes all of the things we do in a week worth it. We work day in and day out, and this award shows we have improved enough to be the best four-year private newspaper in the state of Kansas.”

Sports Editor Taylor Mannis said there were several new writers who joined the staff at the beginning of the year who had never written for a school newspaper before.

“We had to get everyone up to speed so they could write efficiently and well,” Mannis said. “Receiving All-Kansas proved how much of a turnaround we had. We put a huge amount of effort into our work in order to do really well, and it pays off, whether it gets recognized here or elsewhere.”

Neil added, “It just reaffirms that The Vantage is staffed with good young journalists who are committed to telling the truth despite the resistance they are getting. Good journalists are needed now more than ever.”