Gatepost wins six journalism awards

The Gatepost won six awards in The Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence collegiate journalism contest March 24.

The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism. The Gatepost won in the Region 1 category, which is comprised of the New England and Mid-Atlantic States, and the awards recognized material published during the 2019 academic year.

The Society of Professional Journalists’, founded in 1909, is “the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.”

The Gatepost’s 2018-19 Editor-in-Chief Bailey Morrison and fall 2019 Editor-in-Chief Nadira Wicaksana earned a finalist award for General News Writing for small schools (under 10,000 students) for their piece, “Hate Crime Reported on Campus.” Morrison also won a finalist award for “FSU alumna’s journey to empowerment through fashion” in the Feature Writing category for small schools.

Thomas Maye, fall 2019 opinions editor, won the General Column Writing Award for small schools.

Maye said, “I think it’s pretty validating because everyone on The Gatepost works really hard and it’s amazing to see my efforts and the paper’s efforts be recognized by a larger institution.”

When asked why he is interested in op/ed, Maye said, “I have a lot of opinions and it gives me an outlet to voice them. My topics tend to be personal and vulnerable. I think it’s good to speak about mental health and learning disorders because it can help other people know others are going through the same thing and understand what you are going through.”

He discussed his experience on the award-winning student newspaper, and those who have influenced him.

“Of course, Desmond. He pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself more. Previous intelligent people on The Gatepost, like Lizzy [Stocks], were great to learn alongside. It’s helpful when trying to figure out your own voice,” said Maye.

Maye’s column will be entered into the SPJ’s national Mark of Excellence contest with award winners from around the country. Winners will be announced in May. 

Lizzy Stocks, 2018-19 opinions editor, won one of two finalist awards in General Column Writing for small schools – the third year in a row she has won a Mark of Excellence Award in this category. 

Stocks said, “I felt very fulfilled when I found out. I got a sweet text message from Desmond at work and it made my day 10 times better.

“I have always been an opinionated person, so it didn’t surprise me when I started writing opinion articles for the paper. When it comes to opinion writing, write about something meaningful to you. It’s incredibly important to report accurately and write with integrity,” she added.

The Gatepost Editorial Board was a finalist for Editorial Writing for the 2019 calendar year.

The primary authors of the submitted editorials were former and current editorial board members Bailey Morrison, Jillian Poland, Corey McFeeley, Lizzy Stocks, Cara McCarthy, Ashley Wall, and Nadira Wicasksana. 

Vassar College won first place in the category and Harvard University was the other finalist.

Hannah Coco, a junior, won a finalist award in the General News Photography contest for small schools.

Her photo of the Henry Whittemore Library 50th anniversary ribbon-cutting ceremony appeared on the front page of the Oct. 25, 2019 issue.

In a tweet to The Gatepost, President F. Javier Cevallos said, “Congratulations to The Gatepost on winning six Mark of Excellence Awards in Region 1 from The Society of Professional Journalists. Every year your outstanding journalism makes us proud!”

Members of the English Department also congratulated The Gatepost.

English professor Kristen Abbott Bennett said, “That’s a testament to our amazing students, as well as Desmond’s and Liz’s guidance and leadership! Many congratulations to you all!”

Desmond McCarthy, chair of the English Department and Gatepost advisor, said he is proud of The Gatepost team. 

“Year after year, The Gatepost receives multiple SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards, which is remarkable given that we have a small journalism program staffed by only two professors and that, except for scholarships, everyone on our newspaper staff is serving in an unpaid position.

“The Gatepost has a very strong sense of community and mission as well as a fierce commitment to a tradition of excellence.

“I’m so glad they are able to see their work recognized alongside that of their peers at Ivy-League universities and other renowned institutions,” McCarthy said.

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