The Battler Columns, the student-run newspaper of Alderson-Broaddus College, recently won a first-place award in the 2009-2010 American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) annual contest. In addition, Assistant Editor Jessica Hartman also won an individual award for "Outstanding Photograph."
The awards, following a first-place with Special Merit award in 2008-2009, were given to a young staff. Editor-In-Chief Mykala McNair said, "When I was told about the award, I was very proud of the newspaper staff. Both the assistant editor and I were in a learning process, so I was delighted in the great job we did to earn this prestigious award."
McNair is a sophomore elementary education major from Kingwood.
Hartman, a freshman English (literature and professional writing) major and journalism minor, from Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, won the "Outstanding Photograph" award for her photo, "RecycleMania." The photo accompanied a story written by Hartman in the November 2009 edition of the newspaper about recycling efforts of the college toward reducing plastics and other waste materials on campus.
"The photo was taken of the tons of recyclable materials collected. I thought it would be great to get a picture of this to document the enormous amount of recyclables we (the college) managed to collect. Also, I believe there was a contest that involved guessing the number of plastic bottles in the compressed recyclables, and I simply felt the photo was a good representation of the RecycleMania event," Hartman said.
ASPA hosts a contest for more than 2,000 high school and college newspapers around the country each year. There are also ASPA annual contests for magazines and yearbooks as well. Application materials for the contest ask schools to send two editions of their newspaper from the previous year. The two editions are judged for layout/design, variety of coverage and other evaluative criteria. Each school may also apply for individual awards such as Best Photograph, Best Front Page and Best News Feature, among others. "We have won layout and design awards each year since we have entered the contest back in 2005, however, this is the first time that one of the staff (Hartman) won an individual award," Dr. Jim Wilkie, faculty editor and adviser to the newspaper, said.
The Battler Columns is a full-service newspaper run by students and a faculty editor. The newspaper takes ad copy, letters to the editor and press releases. Most articles are written by A-B College students, but faculty, staff and community members also contribute content and photos.
Any student, staff or faculty member can join the Columns staff. Work study positions, performance scholarships or class credit are available.
"I love being a part of a team and the newspaper is exactly that. I have made some great friends through working at the newspaper," McNair said.
Hartman added, "I love working with The Battler Columns because there is a positive atmosphere and wonderful people involved in the organization. It's definitely one of my favorite things about A-B College."