Iowa State Daily Media Group wins 2018 CSPA Collegiate Gold Crown

CATEGORIES: News, Students
photo of Daily newsroom with logo in foreground and students in background
The Iowa State Daily Media Group won a 2018 Gold Crown from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Photo by Emily Blobaum

AMES, Iowa – The Columbia Scholastic Press Association has named the Iowa State Daily one of two student news organizations to receive a 2018 Collegiate Gold Crown in its News – Hybrid category for work published during the 2016-17 academic year.

CSPA announced its top awards for collegiate publications at the 2018 College Media Convention on Thursday, March 8, 2018, in New York City. Indiana University’s Indiana Daily Student also received a Gold Crown in the same category.

This year, a total of 1,100 newspapers, magazines and yearbooks and digital publications issued during the 2016-2017 academic year were eligible for judging in the Crown Awards Program, according to a press release. CSPA issued only 12 Collegiate Golds and 28 Silver Crowns in six categories.

Entries are reviewed by panels of judges (former advisers to student media and experienced professionals) and are evaluated on their excellence as shown by their design, photography, concept, coverage and writing, according to CSPA’s awards criteria.

In the hybrid category, judges also evaluate how news organizations’ online content complements print editions.

The Feb. 21, 2017, edition of the Iowa State Daily.
The Feb. 21, 2017, edition of the Iowa State Daily.

One of the papers judges evaluated was the Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, edition, which focused on the aftermath and provided analysis of an early-morning shooting that took place in Campustown.

"We really just are trying to think of how we can make sure that whatever people see in print is relevant to them because we know people read print at different times, as opposed to digital, which they can read right as it happens. So, it’s kind of thinking about what people would want to know about it at that point," said Daily Editor-in-Chief Emily Barske, senior in journalism and mass communication and marketing, who also led the paper during the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Iowa State Daily has a rich history of success in CSPA’s competition for overall excellence. According to CSPA’s online records, the Daily has received either a Gold or Silver Crown every year since at least 2003. However, in recent years, the student news organization hadn’t brought home gold since 2015.

Mark Witherspoon, who has served as editorial adviser of the Iowa State Daily since 1999, estimates approximately 75 percent of Iowa State Daily staffers are students in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, with others studying in the College of Design, the College of Business, Department of Political Science or elsewhere on campus.

"These are people that amaze me every day of the year with the quality of work they do," Witherspoon said.

A collaborative relationship between the Greenlee School and the Iowa State Daily gives students an opportunity to practice what they learn. Students in the intermediate reporting and writing classes cover beats for the news organization, and many Greenlee faculty members provide training to Daily staffers every semester.

While the Greenlee School provides foundational skills, the Daily provides valuable real-world work experience to help prepare students for internships and ensure they are successful upon graduation, said Angela Powers, Greenlee School director.

"The Daily is a first-class professional media organization where our students can cut their teeth on jobs such as reporting, editing, layout, design, as well as advertising and promotional campaigns. They become absolute professionals working in this environment," Powers said.

CSPA is an international organization that is operated by Columbia University and provides awards and critiques to college and high school media. The Associated Collegiate Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the College Media Association also annually evaluate collegiate work.

Earlier this year, five Daily journalists were honored with individual Gold Circle awards from CSPA.