By Kristin Kirtz
MSUM students earned 88 awards from five different competitions during the 2013 awards season. They were honored for excellence in a variety of specialties, including online and print journalism, TV news reporting and photography, multimedia projects, photojournalism and documentary journalism.
MSUM won nearly 25 percent of the awards at this year’s Society of Professional Journalists’ student competition. Three students are honored nationally. In the Best Independent Online Student Publication category, the Writing for the Web class took first place for their “Doing it Downtown” publication, where students developed multimedia packages about downtown Fargo and Moorhead.
“Horizonlines.org,” a student-produced online magazine received second place for their 2012 issue, “To Be Different,” where students photographed and interviewed people who have unique stories including a lesbian couple, a Special Olympics competitor and an extreme-couponer.Deneen Gilmour, professor for Writing for the Web, explained why she thinks “Doing it Downtown” did so well.“I think the amount of social media and apps we used to promote (the publication) helped because that’s how online communication happens today. It’s about incorporating what people use now,” Gilmour said. “At this school we do real-world projects and try to be up to date.”In line with the modern approach to journalism, senior Lane Zyvoloski, was a national winner for her “Being Queen: Life in Drag” multimedia package in SPJ’s Online Feature Reporting category. Jasmine Maki, a senior and editor of the university’s student award-winning newspaper, “The Advocate,” attributes student success to the environment at MSUM. “I think the small class size and the caring professors really help our students get the most out of their education. If it wasn't for one-on-one writing coaching with Deneen, I don't think I would have improved my writing as much,” Maki said. “Our students also have plenty of opportunities to get hands-on experience, whether it’s through Campus news, The Advocate, Flypaper, Horizonlines.org or the online journalism publications. That real-world experience really makes a difference.” With all the hands-on opportunities Bryce Haugen, a staff writer for “The Advocate,” excelled in the competition and was named a national finalist in SPJ’s Breaking News Reporting category for his story “Sanford gives $2 million to Dragon Athletics.” Kaitlyn Teske, one of the “Horizonlines.org” photo editors also was a national winner in SPJ’s Feature Photography category for her photo story “Kaffestua: Sunburg Man Serves Authentic Norwegian Food.”
Student success went far beyond the SPJ competition. MSUM’s “Campus News” won a Crystal Pillar award at the 2013 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Upper Midwest Regional Student Production Awards. The award honored every member of the “Campus News” staff for their work on the April 28, 2012 newscast. “Campus News” was the only newscast honored with a Crystal Pillar out of six nominees from five different schools. “Campus News” advisor, Aaron Quanbeck, was happy for his students’ success. “I’m always pleased when we are recognized,” Quanbeck said. “My goal is to have every student leave this program with a high-quality portfolio to help them step into a new job with a strong understanding of everything they will need to know.”
Photojournalism students were also recognized at the Minnesota News Photographers Association. Senior Jesse Trelstad won seven of the nine awards presented to MSUM at the MNPA ceremony.“It’s a nice feeling that my hard work paid off and the judges could see that in my work,” Trelstad said. “We had some really tough competition against the University of Minnesota and we still took first and third in the spot news category, which is a category they usually dominate.”Trelstad credits his professors and is thankful for their dedication to students. “The professors’ critiques can be tough, but it makes your work better,” Trelstad said. “MSUM has a great program for longer documentary projects and when you get a chance to work on those it helps your daily work tremendously.”