Last week amid the crazed first Monday night production of 2021, I decided to refresh the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s Keystone Media Awards webpage.
I had been doing this since mid-January but this time I saw the word “results.” My heart started racing as I downloaded and tried to print them. Our office printer — which is notoriously on the fritz — hummed and eventually spit out a few pieces of paper. I took the paper and with a highlighter in hand went into the hall adjacent the newsroom to pore over the results.
I was so excited when I saw “The Slate” listed. We won first place in the editorial category with our submission of three “The Slate Speaks” staff editorials.
The Slate Speaks: From graduates, “Ship this isn’t it”
A message from The Slate’s spring 2020 graduates about their perspective of the final months of their senior year.
The Slate Speaks: Student newspapers essential to defending campus culture
The story of how a college newspaper played an important role in aiding sexual assault survivor Rose McAvoy to get the college to hear her voice.
The Slate Speaks: Students will be affected by the chancellor’s directives
An explanation of how the state system chancellor’s “directives” to aid in saving money impacts the student experience.
These editorials each cover different subjects yet made an impact in our community.
As my eyes moved down the page, I was excited to see 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Bergmueller’s three “Your World Today” columns listed as first-place recipients in the column category.
Your World Today: Community must continue push for transparency
Your World Today: Communication, transparency vital to system redesign
Your World Today: Four changes Shippensburg University must make to protect students’ freedoms
I immediately called him and said, “I would like to be the first to congratulate you on your first-place Keystone win.”
“You’re lying,” he responded.
While he may have been in disbelief, I knew he was deserving. Afterall, I read and copy edited most, if not every column he wrote last year. A lot of Jon’s columns focused on communication, transparency and advocacy of freedom of speech — all of which are still ongoing issues. We must continue to advocate for ourselves on-campus, in the community and beyond.
I was so happy (but not surprised) to then see Multimedia Editor, Carmine Scicchitano’s name not once, but twice. Carmine won first place in both the feature photo (Glo Celebration) and news photo (Chief Lee at SU BLM Demonstration) categories. This photographer never ceases to amaze me with his work.
Carmine is a photography and videography wizard. When he first showed me the Glo Celebration photo, I knew it was going to win. The colors, the smoke and the silhouettes of college students outside dancing, temporarily free of the burdens of a pandemic brought me joy.
Carmine is always running to breaking news, and when community members gathered at the Black Lives Matter demonstration on the Academic Quad, he was there. The photo of SU Police Chief Michael Lee captured the moment in time which our community and society found.
When I told Carmine he won, he simply responded, “WOOHOOOO!”
While still on the phone with Jon, I saw News Editor Noel Miller had also won. Noel received honorable mention in the photo story category for “Voters celebrate in Washington, D.C.”
After Election Day, Noel was determined to find a way to D.C., much against my motherly instincts. She and fellow Slater Emma Tennant took the Metro into The District on the Saturday following Election Day. Little did they know, they would find themselves in the middle of the streets as multiple media outlets projected then Democratic candidate Joe Biden to win the presidency. Noel called me with excitement as she found herself covering national breaking news.
Since Noel was in the office working on her news pages, I called her into the hall to share the good news. After a few moments blankly staring at the results, Noel finally realized she won and promptly screamed, hugged me (sorry COVID protocol) before picking me up completely off the ground and spinning us both around. I hope she never loses that passion for a good story, and always remembers that sunny Saturday in Washington.
A few lines below Noel’s honor, I found my own with an honorable mention for the layout and design category. The graduation insert in the Aug. 18 edition was something I wanted to do for the spring 2020 seniors. It was a small gesture, but I wanted to do what I could for the class that lost so much.
The Slate as a whole also won first place for its website, theslateonline.com. Our entire staff works hard to keep our online presence fresh, even during summer and winter breaks.
These awards recognize a staff that has worked throughout the pandemic. Our world was turned upside down after our March 3, 2020, edition and we very easily could have thrown in the towel. But instead, we decided to keep pushing to fulfill our mission of serving the community.
The Slate staff is grateful for the support of SU officials, including our beloved Communication/Journalism Department faculty and staff members. Thank you for every copy edit and for teaching us news values, ethics and active versus passive voice.
We would especially like to thank our adviser, Michael Drager, who sees his students as the journalists they can be and for bringing an indescribably wonderful energy to the newsroom.