The Crusader News staff made their mark at the Kansas College Media Conference, earning a total of 24 awards at the annual contest for student media. The staff competed in a variety of categories for media, even entering some contests that found them placing higher than some four-year universities.
On Sunday, April 8 and Monday, April 9, the staff traveled to Wichita to participate in the annual conference with all the state’s college journalists. The competition included journalists from private universities, public universities and two-year colleges. Crusader won two awards as a team for their publications, crusadernews.com and The Crusader, a newspaper published in the spring of 2017.
Crusader staff members also earned 22 individual awards in photography, writing, social media and digital journalism. The contest included only projects that had been published in the year 2017.
The biggest win of the weekend was a silver medal in the Overall website division. SCCC was the only community college to receive an award. Crusader was edged out for the top spot by the University of Kansas.
Crusader News reporter, Michelle Mattich, sophomore English major, was excited by how well the staff did at competition.
“When I found out that KU only beat us by five points, I was like ‘Woah, we’re just thaaaaat good,” Mattich said, then laughed at her small bragging. “The truth is that we didn’t even realize we beat other four year schools until much later. Then we got really excited.”
Crusader advisor Sue Sprenkle added that for only being a community college, the staff did some great things in the all-colleges competitions.
“We’re one of the smallest community colleges in the state and we competed against all of the four year schools — public and private. We got the second highest score for our website, Crusader News,” Sprenkle said. “We also represented well in the two-year college category where we showcased skills in photography, writing and page design.”
The conference also consisted of different breakout sessions where students could go and learn new journalism skills each day. Student journalists could attend workshops related to social media, media laws and ethics, writing different stories and even photography.
Crusader photographers, Yesenia Soto, Rubi Gallegos and Angel Meza attended a Photo Shoot-Out where they were assigned to take photos, edit, write cutlines and then turn it in within six hours of the assignment. Their work was reviewed by professional photojournalists.
Soto and Gallegos agreed that the competition was fun because they had the chance to “learn from others.”
“I liked how seeing how other people took pictures and what they came up with,” Soto said.
Not only did Crusader earn multiple awards and learn new journalism techniques, but they also enjoyed some staff bonding time at an Escape Room.
The Escape Room was a hour long escape mission called, “Licastro’s Lair.” Crusader had to solve many different mind tricks to get out, and escaped with just 40 seconds left. It was a chance to work as a team and bond.
The Crusader staff escaped an hour-long escape room with just forty seconds left to spare. Even with all the adrenaline rushing to beat the clock to escape the Crusader staff enjoyed this experience.
“My favorite part of the trip was the escape house because it was my first time at something like that. The adrenaline rush and the mind challenge of solving all the puzzles to escape as a group was really cool,” Mattich said.
The conference was a chance for Crusader to not only learn new skills but to reinforce the ones they’ve been learning all year long. Sprenkle said her favorite part was hearing students share what they learned at the workshops.
“I especially enjoyed it when Crusader came out and said it was a review or something we had touched on in class,” Sprenkle said. “It was an affirmation of, ‘hey we are learning the right things.’ I think it gave them a confidence boost.”
Crusader 2017 (Spring ’17 and Fall ’17) awards:
Overall online: (against all colleges and universities in the state)