Student newspaper, staff members, adviser receive national recognition

December 9, 2014 — At the annual college media national convention this fall, the Midwestern State University student newspaper, The Wichitan, several members of the staff, and the adviser received national recognition.

The newspaper's website placed 10th in the on-site Best of Show for small school websites, the first time the website placed in the competition.

A special section on the drought edited by Brittany D'Alesandro and Megan Fernandez and distributed in December of 2013 received an honorable mention in advertising/editorial supplements, competing against college newspapers of all sizes.

Cartoonist Johnny Blevins received an honorable mention for his cartoon on the use of student fee dollars for homecoming, also competing against cartoonists from schools of all sizes. Entries are judged based on reader impact, community importance, artistic quality, and the originality and clarity of the message.

The Wichitan's website was a finalist for a national Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press in 2013 and a finalist for the print edition in 2004.

In addition to the awards for the newspaper, its website, and individual students, the student media adviser for The Wichitan and Campus Watch, Dr. Bradley Wilson, received Distinguished Adviser recognition as a four-year newspaper adviser. The recognition is one of the highest awards presented by the College Media Association to advisers with more than five years of experience and distinguished service. The rigorous nomination process for the award included nominations from coworkers, others in the profession, and students.

Lori Brooks, associate executive director of the College Media Association, wrote in her nomination letter, "Bradley Wilson's enthusiasm for educating college journalists is unmatched. I work with dozens and dozens of collegiate advisers, faculty, supporters, and friends, and none have the particular joie de vivre that Bradley does."

Two current students, Lauren Roberts, a graduating senior in mass communication and photography editor for The Wichitan, and Ethan Metcalf, a senior in mass communication and editor for The Wichitan, submitted material in support of Wilson's nomination for the award.

Roberts said, "The quality of my photos has increased 10-fold from the advice that I received from him. When I first started going out on assignments, he would join me if I had never been in that specific situation before and give me advice on how to approach the shot. What I liked most about how he taught was that he never took the camera away to show me how to do something. I took the shot, and if I asked a question, he answered it, and that teaching method is consistent across different media. Without his guidance, I would not have progressed as much as I have in taking photos and reporting. As an adviser, I like how he explains what is incorrect in a story and, more importantly, why. I can ask questions without holding back and it helps me and other students gain an understanding of reporting."

Metcalf, also a Dow Jones News Fund editing intern, said, "Dr. Wilson has opened my eyes to the near limitless possibilities offered by working in media, whether it be learning to take photographs as part of my spot news coverage, or how to better engage our audience through social media. Surely I never expected to learn about social media or technology from someone my parents' age, but Dr. Wilson has taught me a lot in those areas, and continues to do so. Dr. Wilson has an energy and vigor that he carries with him everywhere he goes."