“The Youngtown Edition,” the student newspaper at County College of Morris (CCM), celebrated another year of award-winning journalism at the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA) luncheon on Saturday, April 9.
The publication once again garnered several top-level honors from the NJCPA, this year winning first place awards in Arts and Entertainment/Critical Writing, Layout and Design, and Overall Website in the 2015-16 College Newspaper Contest. The competition includes two-year colleges throughout the state. The newspaper won seven awards in last year's competition, and six the year before that.
“What I love about 'The Youngtown Edition' is, despite the fact that the staff turns over frequently as students graduate and the focus and content shifts with each new regime, the strength and quality of the work doesn't change,” said Russ Crespolini, adjunct professor at CCM and the paper's faculty advisor. “Last year we won first place for news writing and sports writing. This year we took top honors for features writing and layout and design.”
Editor-in-Chief Derek Allen, of Florham Park, said he was incredibly proud of the work the team turned in this year and was thrilled to see them recognized.
“As a paper, we have autonomy to decide what we cover and what we publish. To see our choices rewarded like this is a great honor,” said Allen after accepting the second place award for general excellence.
At the luncheon, Allen also accepted the second place award in opinion writing on behalf of Opinion Editor Sandra Riano, of Dover.
“Coming into this year we didn't have a strong opinion section. Sandra definitely changed that,” Allen said. “She took on broad topics like politics, racism and undocumented citizens and managed to make them relatable to the campus community. Her stories always had people talking.”
Emily Betz, of Long Valley, was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment/Critical Writing for her treatise on an honor killing documentary.
“Emily is a student in one of my speech classes and is incredibly passionate and expressive when she is trying to get her point across,” Crespolini said. “It is rare to see that kind of energy translate to the written word, but Emily certainly pulled it off. And the judges obviously saw that.”
The design duo of Drew Notarnicola, of Hackettstown, and Frank Eaton, of Rockaway, picked up top prize for Layout and Design.
“Those guys literally are the best,” Allen said. “We wouldn’t have been able to get the paper out at all without them. They single-handedly take the photos, the ads and copy and lay it out. They deserve all the awards we could possibly give them, honestly.”
Managing Editor Beth Peter, of Long Valley, who will ascend to editor-in-chief in the fall after Allen graduates, picked up a pair of prizes for her web work. The first place award attributed to Peter was for overall website and she also earned a second place prize for the social media work she does for the “Youngtown” in the category of special projects.
“I'm proud to have won,” Peter said. “I put a lot of work into the projects I earned awards for and seeing that effort recognized feels really good.”
Peter already has her sights set on repeating the success of this year and adding to it next year.
“We have room for growth and I am hoping we get more talented people on campus to come help us keep the streak alive,” Peter said.
For his part, Crespolini agreed.
“The paper is solely a student production. We are always looking for designers, photographers, writers and editors. If you want to get involved, we will find a place for you. It looks great on your resume, you learn a lot and we have a good time,” Crespolini said. “Anyone interested at all should drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Photo: Staff members of “The Youngtown Edition,” from left, Editor-in-Chief Derek Allen, of Florham Park; Managing Editor Beth Peter, of Long Valley; Emily Betz, of Long Valley; Frank Eaton, of Rockaway; and adviser Russ Crespolini display the six awards given to the publication at the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association.