February 23, 2016
Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist
The Spectator Wins Record Number of Georgia College Press Association Awards
|Pictured, from left to right, are Kayla Stroud, web editor and a junior English major from Leesburg; Zenobia Harris, copy editor and a senior mass media major from Macon; Tyra Mills, social media editor and a junior mass media major from Columbus; Mayah Cantave, College Life editor and a senior journalism major from Lawrenceville; Tatyana Phelps; Kenzie Kesselring, opinions editor and a junior journalism major from Newnan; John Preer, former editor-in-chief and a senior journalism major from Atlanta; Jordan Barela, editor-in-chief and a senior mass media major from Tifton; and Gabe Burns, sports editor and a senior journalism major from Valdosta.
VALDOSTA – The Spectator, Valdosta State University’s independent student newspaper, earned nine awards from the Georgia College Press Association 2015 Better Newspaper Contest.
Dr. Ted Geltner, editorial adviser and associate professor in the Department of English, said this was The Spectator’s best performance in more than a decade.
“The Spectator competes in this contest annually, going up against the largest student newspapers in Georgia, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Southern University,” he said. “Considering the competition, these awards are a tremendous honor for the staff of The Spectator. They put their heart and soul into The Spectator and are extremely dedicated journalists. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They deserve this recognition, and it will motivate them even more to report the news to the VSU community.”
The Spectator staff won first place for Best Website and the Improvement Award, second for Best Campus Community Service-Editorial Excellence, and third for General Photography Excellence and Best Campus Community Service-Features. Julia Rodriquez, assistant opinions editor and a sophomore English major from Fort Plain, N.Y., won third place for Best Review. Shane Thomas, former staff writer and a December 2015 graduate from Valdosta, won third place for Best Sports Story. Jordan Barela, editor-in-chief and a senior mass media major from Tifton, won third place for Best Editorial or Editorial Series. John Preer, former editor-in-chief and a senior journalism major from Atlanta, Tatyana Phelps, managing editor and a senior journalism major from Athens, and Barela won third place for Best News Article Based on Investigative Reporting.
Kyle Dawson, photo editor and a senior mass media major from Vada, and Rodriquez were appointed to the Georgia College Press Association’s Board of Directors.
Twelve students traveled with Geltner and Dr. Pat Miller, senior adviser and professor in the Department of English, to Athens Feb. 12-13 to attend the Georgia Press Institute. They attended sessions ranging from ethics and photojournalism to the Georgia Open Records Act and the Georgia Open Meetings Act.
Students interacted with staffs from across the state, as well as professionals like Jim Zachary, managing editor of The Valdosta Daily Times, and Susan Catron, executive editor of the Savannah Morning News.
Barela said that The Spectator staff began preparing for the 2015 Better Newspaper Contest a year ago when they upgraded the format of the newspaper’s website and print edition. Additional improvements are underway as they implement new ideas and suggestions received during one-on-one critiques and visits with exhibitors at the Georgia Press Institute.
“Because of the new format, we are able to produce a more modern newspaper,” he said. “The new format allows us to head in more creative directions. Most of the other college newspapers that attended have the same modified size or variation of the size and format like we do … we also placed more emphasis on our website. In the past, we treated our website as the place where stories that didn’t make it into the print edition would go. Now, the website can stand alone from the print edition while the two still remain cohesive to one another.”
Attending the Georgia College Press Association event were Geltner; Miller; Kayla Stroud, web editor and a junior English major from Leesburg; Zenobia Harris, copy editor and a senior mass media major from Macon; Tyra Mills, social media editor and a junior mass media major from Columbus; Mayah Cantave, College Life editor and a senior journalism major from Lawrenceville; Tatyana Phelps; Kenzie Kesselring, opinions editor and a junior journalism major from Newnan; John Preer; Jordan Barela; Gabe Burns, sports editor and a senior journalism major from Valdosta; Julia Rodriquez; Kyle Dawson; and Meaghan Bitters, assistant advertising editor and a senior journalism major from Alpharetta.
Contact Dr. Ted Geltner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (229) 333-7343 for more information.
On the Web:
Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.
Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.
The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:
Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.
Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.
Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.
Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.