March 14, 2019

Spectator Wins Five Awards at State Newspaper Contest

Pictured, from left to right, are Juston Lewis, Prince Robinson, Josh Miller, Jazmine Perkins, Robert Davison, Kaitlyn Baich, Jacorey Moon, Leah Morton, Gerald Thomas, Payton Fletcher, and Bryce Ethridge.

VALDOSTA — The Spectator, Valdosta State University’s independent student newspaper, won five awards at the Georgia College Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest, which took place in February at the Georgia Press Institute in Athens. 

"The staff of the Spectator works extremely hard to cover the news at VSU seven days a week, so it's great to see them get some major recognition for their efforts,” said Dr. Ted Geltner, faculty adviser. “What they do is an important part of our university, and receiving honors like this gives them the motivation to serve the public and the VSU community."

The Spectator earned first place for Best Website and third place for both Best Editorial or Editorial Series and Most Improved.

The staff also brought home two individual awards:

  • Payton Fletcher, campus life editor, won first place for Best Review. Fletcher is a journalism major from Fitzgerald, Georgia, who expects to graduate in Spring 2021.
  • Robert Davison, special projects editor, won first place for Best Column. Davison is a journalism major from Quitman, Georgia, who expects to graduate in May.

“(These awards mean) we’re doing our jobs,” said Juston Lewis, editor-in-chief. “To be a digital publication and to (win against) top schools such as UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, and Georgia State means we are excelling.”

Four Spectator members were also elected to the Georgia College Press Association board. Lewis, a mass media major from Decatur, Georgia, who expects to graduate in Fall 2019, was elected president, while Sports Editor Prince Robinson Jr., a mass media major from Douglasville, Georgia, who expects to graduate in Spring 2021, was elected vice-president. Fletcher and Engagement Editor Gerald Thomas, a mass media major from Savannah, Georgia, who expects to graduate in Spring 2020, were elected as four-year board members.

While at the Georgia Press Institute, Spectator staff members networked with fellow student journalists and took part in panels and discussions led by professional journalists from across the state.

Contact Dr. Ted Geltner at to learn more.

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