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Flyer News Wins National Awards

The Catholic Press Association has named Flyer News, the University of Dayton’s student-run newspaper, “Best University Student Publication” in a nationwide contest.

Three Flyer News staffers also received individual awards for excellence in sports writing, page design and photography.

"When the mission is clear, solid content that educates and illuminates is the result," said J. Frazier Smith, Flyer News adviser and Department of Communication adjunct professor. "The recognition Flyer News received this spring is confirmation of that ideal.”

Judges for the Chicago-based Catholic Press Association applauded the Flyer News’ “quality pieces that shed light on issues of importance to today's collegiate audiences and society as a whole.” In determining the publication winner, judges assess the depth of reporting, writing of both news and opinion columns, use of photos and graphics, and overall design.

Students winning the award were:

  • Griffin Quinn, media production and English junior
  • Kaitlin Gawkins, May graduate in biology
  • Sean Newhouse, political science and journalism senior
  • Chey Ward, English senior
  • Melody Conrad, journalism senior
  • Mary McLoughlin, English and Human Rights Studies senior
  • Connor Hanson, May graduate in exercise science
  • Christian Cubacub, computer engineering junior
  • Mary Guida, May graduate in art education
  • Olivia Pettigrew, graphic design senior

Hanson, a Flyer News staffer for four years, also won first place in the “Single Story Sports” category for his Sept. 17, 2018, profile of Flyer football safety David Leisring. Hanson wrote about how Leisring, who graduated in May with a finance degree, was making an impact on and off the field. Judges noted the story’s engaging opening, its depth and strong quotes.

“You have a lot of power as a journalist publishing pieces, so it’s important to look into all aspects of a piece before writing it,” Hanson said. “That way you can write a piece that best showcases the person or team that you are covering.”

Hanson, who is heading to the University of Georgia in August for a master’s degree in kinesiology, credited his success to his editors, who made sure “my words all made sense,” and learning through the Flyer News experience “to take pride in your work.”

Quinn, print editor, won third place for his compelling front page design for the Dec. 4, 2018, issue that included an interview with University administration and a student art sale to raise money for charity. Judges said the page was “lively and content-filled, with unique use of color and a wide variety of information.” The judges also said Quinn guided readers to the most important news of the day through creative and effective use of design elements.

“I believe that this issue stood out to the judges because it veers away from the standard newspaper cover page in many ways while still featuring leads to a selection of articles throughout our four sections,” Quinn said. “Ultimately, I aim for each individual Flyer News print edition to stand out in its own way, not only to capture the attention of readers, but also to serve as a token of their times here at UD — something that my peers and I could look back upon in remembrance.”

The winning design was Quinn’s first issue as print editor-in-chief. He said the paper’s previous editor, Peter Kolb, trained him well, and he took time to study design on his own.

“I have grown to love the work of George Lois, an advertising legend of the 1960s and the mind behind countless innovative covers of Esquire,” Quinn said.

Cubacub, digital media director, was awarded a third place prize for his digital format photo, “Police Break Up 2018 University of Dayton St. Patrick's Day Celebration,” published on March 23, 2018. Judges noted the photo’s “unique perspective and composition” that “immediately draw the eye into the image.” The judges also applauded how the photo elements told the story “in an unexpected way.”

Carol Arnold, Catholic Press Association project coordinator, said the Student and Alumni Awards program was created in 2016 to introduce Catholic press opportunities to students and to provide them with professional feedback on what they have done well and where they might improve. The general excellence award for best publication was given for the first time this year. The association was founded in 1911.

“We want to encourage journalism, which is near and dear to our mission,” Arnold said. “We want to encourage and support the next generation of Catholic press journalists.”

Flyer News’ adviser also noted the importance of encouraging young journalists.

“Perhaps what has most gladdened my heart is that the good work of my students is continuing to attract more and more of their fellow students,” Smith said. “We regularly have 15 to 20 students who write for Flyer News, both for print as well as the website. We're seeing more and more students who want to get involved with our social media component, and we're seeing more and more students remain with Flyer News after joining as freshmen.”

Smith believes that bridge will keep Flyer News operations strong and vibrant. The 2018-19 Flyer News completed its fourth year practicing multi-platform journalism and expanded its social media presence beyond Twitter and Facebook to also include Instagram.

"I pray also that the recognition from the national Catholic Press Association and others will keep Flyer News staffers confident in the faith that people still do read newspapers and news-oriented websites when those venues present good, usable content," Smith said.

Competitors this year included publications at Loyola University in New Orleans, DePaul University in Chicago and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The association declined to disclose how many student publications entered the contest.

- Annette Taylor

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