The Penn Earns Two First-Place Keystone Awards

Posted on 3/31/2017 4:32:57 PM

In the days leading up to spring break, the editorial staff of the Penn proved that staff size isn’t always everything.

Matched against other in-state student newspapers at much larger institutions such as Temple, Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn earned a pair of first-place awards in the 2017 Student Keystone Press Awards in Division I, a category which includes four-year colleges and universities with enrollments of 10,000 or more.

In the category of Ongoing News Coverage, the Penn garnered a first-place award for its coverage of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties strike in October. The Penn’s continued coverage began in the weeks leading up to the strike, during it, and after APSCUF reached an agreement with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Specifically, the judges made the decision based on five examples of the Penn’s coverage:

  • The September 13 article “APSCUF authorizes vote to strike” by the Penn staff;
  • The September 30 editorial “Let’s strike up a conversation: Appreciate your education—your professors are fighting for it” by the Penn editorial board;
  • The October 7 article “APSCUF members rally outside PASSHE meeting” by news editor Alexandria Mansfield, a junior from Wellsboro;
  • The October 21 article “Students stand with faculty through first strike” by Mansfield;
  • And the October 25 article “Strike ends with tentative agreement between APSCUF, PASSHE bargaining parties” by Mansfield.

In the Editorial category, the Penn’s editor-in-chief, Samantha Barnhart, a senior from Butler, received the first-place award for three of her editorials:

  • “Our choice: We’re with her” from Nov. 8;
  • “Change to report policy yields lack of transparency” from Oct. 14; 
  • And “PASSHE: Stand up for free press” from June 19. 

The Keystone awards were the first for the Penn’s staff since 2014. The annual competition is sponsored and presented by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

Barnhart and Mansfield, along with copy editor Chris Hayes, a junior from Pittsburgh, will represent the Penn next week at a luncheon during the America East Media Business and Technology Conference on Wednesday, April 12, at the Hershey Lodge.