The Illinois Community College Journalism Association held its Spring Conference and Award Ceremony at Lewis and Clark Community College April 6 and 7. Community college journalism students from across the state of Illinois gathered to hear from experts and receive accolades.
“One of the things that most community colleges have in common is that we take seriously the word ‘community’ in our name and our sense of place,” L&C President Dale Chapman said in his opening speech. “We could not live in a more important time to have journalism majors and editors of papers than right now.”
Members of The Bridge staff collectively won 18 awards. The Bridge won Second Place in General Excellence category and took home First and Second Place in the Advertising category.
“This newspaper made the #1 and #2 slots in this contest a really tough choice,” contest judges commented in their notes. “A strong second-place showing. Great use of art, particularly on covers. Lots of good photos and bold headlines. Placement of photos should not be in midst of story text. It is hard to find much ‘wrong’ here. A good overall paper and asset to the campus.”
Karen Hancock, the Bridge Layout Editor, won First Place for Front Page Design and first place for Page Design. Previous Associate Editor Darick Earney and Hancock, each won first place for their headline, “Blackboard Erases Portal.”
“The Bridge takes some chances (in a good way), but the basics are solid and reflect good planning, which is the essence of good design. Always a clearly dominant visual, never a doubt what’s the top story,” the contest judges remarked.
Editor-in-Chief Helen Paige Jarden, won second place in the News Column category and another second place in the News Story category. She also took home first place for her staff editorial on the wage gap.
“I’m extremely honored to have received these awards. There were so many talented and wonderful journalists I was competing with that when they called my name, I honestly was a little surprised,” Jarden stated.
Photographer Krystie Morrison, won second place for her staff editorial about living with epilepsy and an Honorable Mention in the photography category. Ad Manager Callie Logan won an Honorable Mention for her editorial on mental health.
Cartoonist, Writer and Graphic Designer Shelby Wallace, won first place for editorial cartoon, “Don’t be a Doug.” Graphic Designer Shelby Clayton, won first and third place in the Graphics category. And, former Staff Writer Alex Meissner, won first place in the Sports News category.
The Closing Keynote Speaker Stephen Potter, an actor, host and producer for KWMU-FM, spoke about his life experiences. The audience responded with several laughs.
Potter said, “I really didn’t discover that I was a journalist until yesterday (April 6) and that’s not a joke.”
Potter was a staff announcer/news anchor at KMOX in St. Louis for two years and then moved to St. Louis Public Radio where he became the host of the arts and culture program Cityscape.
He has interviewed some of the most successful actors, authors, artists and other creative types from across the country and beyond, including Kathleen Turner, Robert Duvall, Maria Shriver, Angelina Jolie, Ridley Pearson, and Dave Barry.
Potter has been in film since 1998 and has also served as host/producer for City Corner, a TV public affairs program produced by the City of St. Louis, since 2001. He also wrote a column, City Scene, for The Telegraph for more than a year and plans to pick it back up soon.
The Opening Keynote Speaker Todd Smith, a former reporter and current author, covered everything from his experience being a reporter and how he has transitioned from journalism to novel writing.
“I guess I’ve always had an interest in writing,” Smith said. “I began my career in journalism as a newspaper carrier for the Quincy Herald Whig, which meant I got to look at the newspaper everyday.”
Smith has been a journalist and writer for nearly 30 years. He wrote for his school newspapers while getting his Bachelor’s degree at Central Missouri State University and Master’s degree from the University of Kansas.
After graduation, he worked for the Coffeyville Journal and the Skiatook Journal first as a reporter, and then also as an editor. Smith returned to Missouri and became a staff writer for the Suburban Journals.
While there, he was covering the Kirkwood City Council on Feb. 7, 2008, when he was shot by Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton. After the shooting, Smith transitioned from just field reporting to being the Suburban Journals On-line Editor.
Today, Smith is a full-time father, but remains a writer as well. He is currently working on getting his book, “Murder, Romance and Two Shootings,” published and looking to pursue a career as an author.
Conference Workshops & Lectures
Students chose from a list of lectures to attend based on their position with the college’s newspaper or what interested them before the luncheon and awards ceremony.
Luke Jumper, Assistant Professor at L&C, held a Virtual Reality Demo in the Trimpe ATC. Dan Winningham, a reporter at South County Publications lectured on “Community Journalism: Covering Sports and Other Events.”
Lisa Eisenhauer, a News Writer and Editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, lectured on “Getting the Scoop: Tips & Tricks for an Effective Interview.”
Nathan Grimm, the Managing Editor at The Telegraph, lectured on “Tips and Tricks for Increasing Digital Traffic.” L&C Media Specialist Paige Allen lectured on “Real World Photojournalism.”
Jan Dona, Editorial Coordinator for Macoupin County Enquirer Democrat and Coal Country Times, lectured on “Government Beat Reporting: Turning Meetings into Articles & Editorials.”
Eric McRoy, Vice President of AdVantage News, facilitated a lecture entitled “Get in Their Head: The Brain Science of Producing Effective Advertising.” Elizabeth Donald, Reporter for Belleville News Democrat, lectured twice, first on “Practical Ethics: How to Apply Ethical Principles in Breakneck Daily Journalism,” and then “New Skills for a New Millennium: What You Need to Know in Order to Land a Job in Journalism in the 21st Century.”
Ashley Lisenby, Breaking News Reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, lectured on “Procuring Effective Sources.” Fred Pollard, Managing Editor for the AdVantage News, presented a lecture entitled “Manuscripts, Memes and Manson: Freditorials & the Differences between Entertainment Blogging & Entertainment Reporting.”
Bridge Advisor Louise Jett was elected president of the ICCJA during the conference.
“I have to thank all the advisors, experts, staff, students and everyone else who help to make this an amazing opportunity for students to connect with experts,” Jett said. “I am looking forward to collaborating with the ICCJA as we continue to strengthen this important resource for Illinois community college journalism students. I am also extremely proud of the talented Bridge staff on their much deserved recognition.”
For more information on ICCJA, contact Jett at firstname.lastname@example.org.