Journalism Students Compete With Industry Professionals – And Win

Missouri Press Association Logo
Dugan Arnett
Dugan Arnett
Bente Birkeland
Bente Birkeland
Angela Busch
Angela Busch
Stephanie DeMello
Stephanie DeMello
Shane Epping
Shane Epping
Aaron Eisenhauer
Aaron Eisenhauer
Leah Lohse
Leah Lohse
Cristian Lupsa
Cristian Lupsa
Dusty Luthy
Dusty Luthy
Emem Offong
Emem Offong
Jennifer Price
Jennifer Price
Erin Richards
Erin Richards

Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 26, 2006) — Winning 36 awards is an achievement in any industry competition, especially in journalism. But when student writers, designers and photographers for a community daily – competing against professionals – win 36 awards, achievement takes on a whole new meaning.

The Columbia Missourian reached that level Sept. 16 when it brought home 36 awards from the Missouri Press Association‘s Annual Better Newspaper Contest. The Missourian, a community daily that also serves as the working lab for Missouri School of Journalism students, gives journalism majors the opportunity to work as real writers, designers and photographers under the direction of professional editors.

The Missourian garnered 13 first-place finishes in a variety of categories, including content, design, photography, and beat reports such as religion, sports, rural life, and business. A first-place award in the General Excellence category highlighted the Missourian’s performance, which also included several second place, third place and honorable mention awards. In 2005, the Missourian won 27 awards.

The number and diversity of awards attests to the success of the Missourian’s unique organization, says its executive editor for innovation, Tom Warhover.

“It validates the Missouri Method. We publish a real newspaper, and our students compete against other real newspapers. That produces the next generation of fine professionals,” Warhover said.

More than 250 students work for the Missourian each semester and receive one-on-one mentoring from approximately 15 professional editors.

“The strength of the students’ performance resides in the strength of our editing professors,” Warhover said. “We’ve got just a class above in terms of our editors at the Missourian these days. I’m proud of each and every one of them for the work they’ve done in helping their students attain these heights.”

One of those editors, Assistant Professor Katherine Reed, mentored student winners working for the Missourian and for Adelante, the Missourian’s regional Spanish/English bilingual newsmagazine. Reed was serving as editor of Adelante when two of the award-winning stories were published.

“When we’re working on stories, we’re thinking about quality, not awards. But this is gratifying, because not only do the students’ stories get published, but they also are honored by this statewide association,” Reed said. “It is really encouraging to know that what we consider quality journalism is also seen that way by people in the industry.”

Reed said she is especially proud of the first-place award in investigative reporting won by seniors Dusty Luthy and Jennifer Price. The story examined the cause of death of MU football player Aaron O’Neal in the summer of 2005.

“That was a story that was overlooked by the other media, and it has had an impact on the NCAA changing its recommendations for identifying and handling athletes with sickle-cell traits. That’s a life-or-death kind of story, and it’s an incredible thrill for us to be a part of that.”

Missouri journalism students of all emphases enter and win many professional and academic contests each year. Students have won more than 75 awards this year alone from such institutions as the Hearst Journalism AwardsEdward R. Murrow Broadcast AwardsDow Jones ScholarshipsMid-America EmmysScripps Howard Top 10, Inland Press Awards, Overseas Press Club Scholarships, Page Society Competition, American Copy Editors SocietyPublic Radio News Directors, Inc.Association for Education in Journalism and Mass CommunicationPictures of the Year International,Society for News DesignInstitute for International Public Policy and many more.

Columbia Missourian Awards
MPA Better Newspaper Contest 2006

    • 1st, Best News Content, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Newspaper Design, Design Team, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Photo Package, Class 1
    • 1st, General Excellence, Class 2
    • 1st, Best Feature Photograph: Aaron Eisenhauer, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Story About Religion: Cristian Lupsa
    • 1st, Best Investigative Reporting: Dusty Luthy, Jennifer Price, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Sports Feature Story: Dugan Arnett, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Feature Story: Erin Richards, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Business Story: Jacob Luecke, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Rural Life/Agriculture Story: Stephen Nellis, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Sports News Story or Package, Class 1
    • 1st, Best Sports Page, Will Hall and Brandt Merritt, Class 1
    • 2nd, Best Photo Illustration: Aaron Eisenhauer, Class 1
    • 2nd, Best Sports Feature Story: Angela Busch, Class 1
    • 2nd, Best Business Story: Jack Beeson and Adam Wisneski, for Adelante, Class 1
    • 2nd, Best Feature Story: Shane Epping, Class 1
    • 2nd, Best Editorial Page, Class 1
    • 2nd, Best Special Section, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best Front Page, Elizabeth BairdAndrew Zahler and Stacy King, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best Business Story: Abraham Mahshie, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best Story About Education: Amber Wilson, for Adelante, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best Feature Story: Dugan Arnett, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best Rural Life/Agriculture Story: Jonathan Rivoli, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best Story About Religion: Leah Lohse
    • 3rd, Best Sports Feature Story: Sam McDowell, Class 1
    • 3rd, Best News Story: Stephanie DeMello, Jennifer Price, Class 1
    • Honorable Mention, Best Ad Idea or Promotions for the Newspaper
    • Honorable Mention, Best Rural Life/Agriculture Story: Abraham Mahshie, Class 1
    • Honorable Mention, Best Story About the Outdoors: Bente Birkeland, Catherine Rentz Pernot
    • Honorable Mention, Best Story About History: Brenden Clawson
    • Honorable Mention, Best Information Graphics: Darren Breen
    • Honorable Mention, Best Business Story: Emem Offong, Class 1
    • Honorable Mention, Best Coverage of Young People
    • Honorable Mention, Best Page Design: Alex Yalen
    • Honorable Mention, Best Special Section, Class 1

Updated: August 15, 2019

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