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The Spectator staff wins second overall at the GCPA awards presentation.

Spectator wins prestigious journalism awards

The Spectator brought home seven awards from the recent Georgia College Press Association journalism contest, including a second place in overall general excellence, the highest honor the group has received in recent memory.

The University of Georgia was the only school to finish higher in the general excellence category among colleges with over 10,000 students.

The Spectator staff traveled to Athens, Georgia on April 7, to attend the GCPA 2023 Georgia Press Institute, the Southeast’s premiere training event for collegiate print journalists.

The event occurred at the University of Georgia, and 11 other schools were represented. The staff competed against schools such as UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Mercer.

“This is what happens when you bring together the right combination of training, talent, and dedication,” said Gregory Brown, journalism professor and Spectator advisor. “Few people realize how much time and effort staff members put in each week to hold the campus accountable and to highlight its many, many accomplishments. This is what the Spectator staff does for you.”

The staff attended an all-day conference that began with different panels led by field professionals. The conference ended with an awards presentation where The Spectator earned multiple awards.

Sports editor Austin Bruce won second place for Best Column for a story called “Keeping the Faith in Coach Jackson,” about VSU’s first year head football coach.

“To win an award for the second year in a row in a general category with a sports column that is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written gives me something to be proud of as a writer,” Bruce said. “Last year’s award for my feature story boosted my confidence; this year’s award reaffirmed my belief that I’m a good sports writer.”

Graphic designer Gavin Ponder won second place for Layout and Design Excellence.

“I was flabbergasted,” Ponder said. “I was surprised that I won second place for my cover.”

Newsletter Editor Bailey Wilson won the third place for Best Photo Essay.

“I was honestly shocked,” Wilson said. “I forgot that I submitted a story. “I heard my name get called, and I said, ‘Oh my god, I won. Oh my god, that one?’”

Editor-in-Chief Madison Gruber was proud of how the staff performed.

“I think we did pretty good this year,” Gruber said. “Having won second place in general excellence for the first time, I feel like we made Spectator history.”

The staff placed second for Best Campus Community Service: Editorial, and second place for Best Campus Community Service: News. The Spectator also took third for Best Editorial or Editorial Series.

Spectator Adviser Ted Geltner said he was happy to see the staff recognized statewide.

“The Spectator is a small operation compared to some of the schools we are competing against,” he said. “To be honored among such steep competition shows how hard VSU’s journalism students work and how truly talented they are.”

Written by Jenna Arnold, Staff Reporter. Photo Courtesy of Gregory Brown, Spectator Adviser. 


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