INDIANAPOLIS—The Iowa State Daily, the independent student newspaper of Iowa State University, has won the top award of Best All-Around Student Newspaper in the national finals of the Society of Professional Journalists 2015 Mark of Excellence Awards, beating finalists The Daily Mississippian (Univ. of Mississippi) and the Daily Bruin (UCLA).
"Being recognized by SPJ as the nation’s Best All-Around Student Newspaper is a remarkable accomplishment," says Lawrence Cunningham, general manager and publisher of the Daily. "Like many media companies, we are in the middle of a transition period and this award speaks to the significant effort by our student and professional staff members to demand excellence as we continue to evolve our business model."
Former Editor Stephen Koenigsfeld’s March 6, 2015 issue and Danielle Ferguson’s Oct. 9, 2015 and Dec. 4, 2015 editions were submitted for the honor. Koenigsfeld and Ferguson are now both graduates of the Greenlee School — he works on the staff of the Marshalltown Times-Republican and she reports for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Incoming Daily Editor Emily Barske’s “Our Way of Life” was a national finalist in the feature writing category.
This isn’t the first time the Daily has been named the best student newspaper in the country; in 2007 the Daily also claimed the national title.
Cunningham and ISD Editorial Adviser Mark Witherspoon both praised the Daily’s student and professional staffs for their dedication to providing a high-quality publication to the ISU community.
"We have been an excellent newspaper, at least in the eyes of SPJ, for 10 years now," says ISD Editorial Adviser Mark Witherspoon. "I think excellent newspapers evolve with the times, and I think we’ve done a good job of doing that, especially in the last few years."
“This type of recognition reinforces the value of an education at Iowa State University and the work faculty and staff at the Greenlee School are doing to prepare our students for success in the ever-changing professional media landscape," Cunningham says.
Michael Bugeja, Greenlee School director, praised the students who dedicate their time and energy to keeping the ISU campus and town informed. He also praised Witherspoon and Cunningham for the counsel and support of reporters, designers, advertisers and editors.
“The Greenlee School respects the independent status of the Daily,” he said, adding, “but as most of the staff are our majors, or who have taken classes at the Greenlee School, we delight in their national awards.”
Bugeja also credited the Greenlee faculty and staff for their support of the newspaper in class and advising sessions.