For the second straight year, The Spectator won nine awards at the Georgia College Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
It ties the second most awards the paper has ever received, and was the third highest total in the state.
“They’re well-earned,” Gabe Burns, editor-in-chief, said. “I couldn’t be more proud of what this staff has accomplished, and each one of them makes me a better editor-in-chief. The respect our in-state peers showed us speaks volumes about our program and the advisers’ reputations. This is the strongest group we’ve had at VSU, and all of our journalists are prepared to change others’ lives for the better.”
The staff collectively won a first-place for Best Campus Community Service – Editorial and third-place for General Advertising Excellence, Best Newspaper Website and Best Editorial/Editorial Series.
Individually, Mayah Cantave, graduated managing editor, won first in Best News Article (Objective Reporting). Reporter Ryan Sulski finished second in the same category. Gabe Burns, editor-in-chief, earned third-place for Best Feature Story. Juston Lewis, assistant sports editor, and Darien Harris, multimedia editor, won third-place in Best Sports Story and Best Photograph – News, respectively.
“That we won awards in a plethora of categories attests to the strength of this staff,” Dr. Pat Miller, Spectator adviser and VSU journalism professor, said. “We often play David to Goliaths. But this staff is concerned about much more than awards. These journalists are determined to make sure the Spectator does what it is supposed to do—to act as the uncensored voice for VSU students.”
Adviser Dr. Ted Geltner agreed.
“The accolades earned by the Spectator staff in Macon were well-deserved,” Geltner said. “The students who run this news organization put in long, late hours covering the news here at VSU, and I’m always amazed by the quality of work they are able to produce. They do this university a tremendous service.”
Dr. Geltner and fellow adviser Cindy Montgomery joined 10 students at the GCPA conference in Mercer Feb. 10-11. Over 20 Georgia universities were represented. Each student attended multiple seminars and networked with highly regarded journalists and editors in the state, including Atlanta-Journal Constitution political insider Greg Bluestein and Valdosta Daily Times editor Jim Zachary.
Burns, Sports Editor Kyle Dawson and Circulation Manager Veronica You presented on digital reporting Feb. 10. Managing Editor Julia Rodriquez was elected Georgia Student Press Association president. Lewis and Features Editor Kelsey Dickerson will serve on the board of directors.
Kahlil Slader, graphic artist; Seth Willard, photo editor; Tyra Mills, social media editor; and Michaela Leung, entertainment editor also attended.