Murray State students, faculty win awards from Kentucky Press Association

MURRAY, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2018) — Students and faculty from Murray State University won more than 30 awards from the 149th annual Kentucky Press Association (KPA) Convention, held Jan. 25–26 in Lexington, during an awards banquet that recognized the top collegiate and professional entries in reporting, photography, design and advertising categories.

Students with The Murray State News, the University’s weekly student newspaper, won 33 awards overall — 13 more than the year prior — for work published October 2016 through September 2017.

“Murray State has an elite group of collegiate journalists and many of them choose to work for The Murray State News,” said Dr. Stephanie Anderson, adviser to The Murray State News and assistant professor of journalism and mass communications. “They are able to gain experience beginning as freshmen working on an award-winning college newspaper. By the time they graduate, these student journalists have the knowledge, skills and experience to compete for the top journalism jobs in the country.”

Award winners from The Murray State News include the following students:

Best General News Story (First Place): Collin Morris of Lewisport
Best General News Story (Second Place): Katlyn Mackie of Hopkinsville
Best Features Story (Third Place): Sydni Anderson of Indian Mound, Tennessee
Best Column (First Place): Gisselle Hernandez of Orange Walk, Belize
Best Sports Feature Story (Second Place): Blake Sandlin of Calvert City
Best Ongoing Coverage (First Place): Staff
Best Business/Agriculture Story (Second Place): Sabra Jackson of Frankfort, Indiana
Best Use of Social Media (First Place): Staff
Creative Use of Multimedia (Third Place): Ashley Traylor of Helena, Alabama
Best Features News Picture (Second Place): Jenny Rohl of O’Fallon, Illinois
Best Sports Picture Essay (First Place): Chalice Keith of Glen Allen, Missouri
Best Special Section (Second Place): Staff
Best Sports Section (Second Place): Staff
Best Lifestyle Page (First Place): Emily Williams of Paducah and Gisselle Hernandez
Best Lifestyle Page (Second Place): Gisselle Hernandez
Best Editorial Page (Third Place): Hallie Beard of Taylorsville and Tyler Anderson of Bowling Green
Best Front Page (Third Place): Staff
Best Headline (Second Place): Connor Jaschen of Hopkinsville
General Excellence Award in News (Second Place): Staff
Best Clothing Store Advertisement (First and Second Place): Austin Gordon of Benton
Best Entertainment/Dining Advertisement (Third Place): Austin Gordon
Best Special Sections (Second Place): Staff
Best Holiday Greeting Ads and General/Miscellaneous (First and Second Place): Austin Gordon
Best Special Events Advertisement (Second Place): Austin Gordon
Best Creative Use of the Newspaper/Newspaper Promotion (First and Second Place): Austin Gordon
Best Online/Digital Ad (First Place): Austin Gordon
General Excellence Award in Advertising (Second Place): Staff

Gordon also won three certificates of merit in addition to the awards listed above.

Meanwhile, Dr. Duane Bolin, professor of history, and Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, were recognized for their writing and reporting.

Bolin, a veteran newspaper columnist, won second place in the Best Column category for his “Home and Away” pieces published in Frankfort’s Kentucky Gazette. In his columns, Bolin writes about teaching, learning, reading, writing and history as well as his travels, family and faith.

A long-time education journalist, Shemberger captured second and third places in the Best Enterprise/Analytical Story category for her aggressive education reporting with the Todd County Standard, a weekly newspaper in Elkton that took the top General Excellence honor among small weeklies. As a former full-time reporter and a current freelance journalist, Shemberger has covered the education news beat for various news outlets for more than 20 years and has received many KPA reporting and page design awards throughout her career. A freelancer since 2006, she continues to write as an education journalist.

In addition to attending the awards ceremony, Shemberger presented an invited session titled “3. 2. 1. Live on Facebook” to journalists at the convention. She was invited by KPA administrators to present the session on Facebook Live after earning a Facebook for Journalists Certificate in 2017 through the Poynter Institute for Journalism and the Facebook Journalism Project. Shemberger now incorporates Facebook Live in her reporting projects and class lessons, requiring students in her journalism courses to pursue the certification. In her talk at KPA, Shemberger guided reporters on best practices when broadcasting via Facebook Live, an increasingly important and popular tool for journalists of all media platforms.

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism, was also invited to lead a session titled “Live from Your Palm” about how newspapers can use video apps to create engaging social media content from a smartphone. Wright was later recognized at the convention for completing a two-year term on the KPA Board of Directors as a journalism education representative.

In addition to Shemberger and Wright’s presentations, Anderson was invited to present a session on her dissertation topic: trauma journalism. Three Murray State students — Ashley Traylor, Blake Sandlin and Emily Williams — assisted with the presentation, sharing recent personal experiences on covering time-sensitive and emotional stories. Looking ahead, Anderson plans to present another session on trauma journalism in April at the Broadcast Education Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas.

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