Every week, Trinitonian staff members work tirelessly to bring you engaging and informative stories. Sometimes, members of the professional press reward that work with local, state, or national recognition. This year, 14 staff members and the editorial board won various awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, and Trinity’s own office of Student Involvement.
The Society of Professional Journalists, an organization that has represented U.S. journalists since 1909, considers student journalists for its “Mark of Excellence” awards based on region and school size. The Trinitonian’s work competed with other “Small” college media outlets — those that serve schools with less than 10,000 enrolled students — in Texas and Oklahoma.
Three of our staff members — Kathleen Creedon, Daniel Conrad and Elise Hester — were each award finalists. Creedon and Conrad were recognized in the “General News Reporting” category for their reporting on how the university handles student activity fee paid to students on Federal Work-Study
“The premise of the story was that the university was getting refunded for Federal Work-Study wages that, in groups like the Trinitonian, is funded by the student activity fee. So the money [refunded] wasn’t going back into the student activity fee,” Creedon said. “It was cool to see my name on paper, especially because it’s one of the stories I’m most proud of. I think it shows in the work, and I think that’s why it was nominated.”
Conrad says the story demonstrated how the Trinitonian is able to keep students informed.
“I think this story is one of those that highlights the importance of student journalism. It’s the sort of thing that’s so beyond anybody’s cognition,” Conrad said. “No one would notice how the university moves money around for student organizations unless you are literally the person in charge of submitting and filing that financial information.”
Another Trinitonian staffer, opinion columnist Gabriel Levine, won a Mark of Excellence Award for three of his pieces: “Talking politics with the deplorables” as well as “Absorbing experience, modern distraction” and “Balancing rationality and empathy.” He was awarded first-place out of all other opinion columnists at small schools in the region, which puts him in the running for national recognition.
Levine believes that his two years as an opinion columnist helped him become a better thinker.
“The nice thing about being an opinion columnist is that it obliges me to really think about whatever I read on the news, see on Twitter, talk about with friends, hear in class. It obliges me to really think about those things, to the extent that I have thoughts that I think are worth putting down on paper and for other people to consume,” Levine said. “So I actually have to have something to say.”
Allison Wolff was a finalist for taking an especially strong photograph of a frisbee play in “A look into Turbulence, Trinity’s club ultimate frisbee team.”
“The hardest part about taking photos is probably waiting for the moment to happen, so you have stay there for a long time and wait. Not every play is at dramatic as the one I got, so it’s really about capturing that moment,” Wolff said.
Additionally, 13 Trinitonian editors, illustrators, photographers and writers — as well as the editorial board — won 20 individual awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association for categories such as graphics, sports feature stories, photography, illustration, sports column, headline writing, general news and breaking news.
The Trinitonian was also awarded a LeeRoy Award for University Student Organization of the year by Student Involvement. Jeremy Allen, assistant director for Fraternity & Sorority Life and Coates University Center, spoke about the criteria the committee had for the nominees.
“We wanted to see this all-encompassing, high-achieving organization. I think the Trinitonian really stood out just for the weekly publication that’s released, covering a wide array of topics on campus and in the community,” Allen said. “The way they’ve been able to cover a lot of different stories with impartiality — but also with respect and full transparency — really stood out.”
As this school year nears its end, the Trinitonian is not only reflecting on past achievements, but also looking forward to the 2018–2019 year.
Next year’s executive staff includes Julia Weis as Editor-in-Chief, Kathleen Creedon as Executive Print Editor and Jordan Bruce as Executive Digital Editor. The staff hopes to continue the success that the Trinitonian has shown this year and start their own new proposals to improve the paper. These proposals will focus on online content, including an events calendar that provides information on activities happening on campus.
“We’re working on making the paper more efficiently, so that we’re putting out more online content more frequently as we move towards an era of more digital and multimedia journalism,” Weis said. “I think our role is to inform the community about things that happen on campus and to provide discussion for campus events. I really see us as a record of history that you can go back to and look at everything that’s been going on on campus.”