The Collegian staff was honored at the South Carolina Press Association annual conference and award ceremony held at The Marriott in downtown Columbia on Saturday, April 6.
The Collegian staff competed against colleges and universities with undergraduate enrollment of under 5,000 and in the Collegiate Open Division (all colleges and universities in the state). Some of the universities and colleges in the SCPA include the University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, Francis Marion University, Furman University, North Greenville University and Wofford College.
Both individual staff members as well as the collective staff were recognized in various categories of writing, design and photography. Ian Dyke, former editor of The Collegian in the spring of 2018, won second place with an editorial he wrote, “Refugees prove hope is a human need.” Dyke is now a student teacher at Riverside High School in Greer.
Christina Laird, one of the current editors of The Collegian, won first place in Arts and Entertainment with her article, “TD Market offers fun, enriching weekend experience.” Laird was a staff writer in the fall of 2018 and is now one of The Collegian’s two editors, along with Seth Johnson.
The Collegian staff also won a few general awards, including second place in student government beat coverage and first place in page one design. Additionally, The Collegian staff was honored with second place in the category of General Excellence, which recognizes all aspects of the publication.
Besides the award ceremony, collegiate journalists from around the state had the opportunity to attend the SCPA conference. Eight of The Collegian staff attended the all-day educational sessions along with several hundred other journalists.
Panelists, mainly journalists from around the state, gave tips on how to engage better with readers on social media, talked about how to impact others with journalism and discussed legal, First Amendment and other government issues related to journalism.
Collegiate journalists also broke out into roundtable discussions based on various topics including writing, editing and photography and design. Students discussed tips and tricks they use on their campuses and talked about how to improve their newspapers with the resources they have.
Sophomore graphic design major and designer for The Collegian Benjamin Clemons said he learned a lot from the roundtable discussion with fellow designers and photographers from other collegiate newspapers. “I learned that, to have good design, you just have to open your eyes more than anyone else,” Clemons said.
Charles Billiu, senior journalism and mass communcation major and photographer for The Collegian, said he learned a new perspective on working with what resources and people are available. “Your work is as good as you choose to make it,” Billiu said. “You can’t let outside influences determine the quality you put into it.”
Billiu said every collegiate newspaper has the same struggles of filling the paper with content each week. The key, he said, is doing the best you can with the gifts you’ve been given.