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The Simpsonian named News Media Organization of the Year


Simpson College’s student-run media outlet, The Simpsonian, earned 2018 News Media Organization of the Year honors from the Iowa College Media Association at is annual convention Thursday, Feb. 7 in Des Moines.

It is the second year in a row The Simpsonian took home the association’s top news media honor.

Simpson students won 22 awards—including 12 first-place nods—in various media categories including writing, design, photography and social media. The contest included entries from private colleges across Iowa, including Buena Vista, Drake, Grand View, Loras and Wartburg.

The entries are judged by professional journalists. This year’s panel consisted of members of the Indiana Press Association.

“I tell students all the time that journalism is not a contest,” said Mark Siebert, director of Simpson Student Media and an assistant professor of multimedia communication. “It’s simply telling your audience what is happening in their world. But it is nice when your work is recognized as some of the best in the state.”

Among the multiple winners were Jayde Vogeler ’18, Laura Wiersema ’18, Alex Kirkpatrick ’18, Austin Hronich ’19, Randy Paulson ’19, Zoe Seiler ’19 and Gunnar Davis ’20. 

Paulson is the editor-in-chief this semester while Wiersema held the position in 2017-18.

“I saw the achievement as culmination of all the hard work the staff has done this past year and our willingness to cover difficult issues,” Paulson said. “If we had only covered the feel-good stories last year, I don’t think we would have deserved the award.”

Wiersma—now a marketing communications writer at The Stelter Company—also cites the staff’s resolve as the reason for winning the award.

“I think it’s a testament to the standard the staff holds themselves to,” she said. “Sometimes working on the newspaper can be a really thankless job, especially when you’re covering not-so-flattering topics for those involved. Receiving the award is a nice reminder that what you’re doing doing matters and the hard work you put in doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Siebert said he was happy to see students recognized in all areas of media: writing, photography, design and online. 

“Communication graduates today need to be able to do a little bit of everything, so our department makes sure our graduates are truly multimedia journalists.”
Simpson individual winners:
1st Place
Coby Berg — Best News Photograph
Jayde Vogeler — Best Sports Photograph
Staff — Best Multimedia Slide Show
Alex Kirkpatrick — Best News Story
Emily Carey, Austin Hronich, Alex Kirkpatrick, Randy Paulson — Best Investigative Story
Matt Lash — Best Sports Story
Gunnar Davis — Best Sports Feature
Staff — Best Editorial
Staff — Best Online Edition
Laura Wiersema — Best Interactive Content
Alex Kirkpatrick — Best Online Video
Staff — Best Use of Social Media
2nd Place
Zoe Seiler — Best Investigative Story
Stock Chenault — Best Sports Feature
Staff — Best Headline Writing
Jayde Vogeler — Best Magazine Cover (ID Magazine)
3rd Place
Austin Hronich — Best Feature Photo
Zoe Seiler — Best Feature Story
Jayde Vogeler — Best Print Design (ID Magazine)
Honorable Mention
Gunnar Davis — Best Opinion Writing
Staff — Best Page 1
Alex Kirkpatrick — Best Online Design

*Photo submitted by Douglas Wells