The Ferris State Torch student newspaper captured second place in its division for “College Newspaper of the Year” in the 2018 Michigan Collegiate Press Association’s annual contest.
The Torch won 18 individual awards in Division 2 as well as some across all three divisions with 17 Michigan colleges entered. These awards were announced Jan. 31 at a conference in Grand Rapids.
A 16-page weekly publication, the Torch is a student-run paper that publishes every Wednesday, both on campus and online. Other schools in this division were Hillsdale, Olivet, Grand Valley State University and first-place winner Michigan State University. The Torch won back-to-back first-place finishes for Best Newspaper in 2016 and 2017.
“As a whole, the Torch produced an immense amount of great content. I think this really shows just how hard we work at the Torch to produce true journalism,” Torch Editor-in Chief Megan Lewton said.
Across all divisions, the Torch won first place in the Best Online Newspaper competition. In the judges’ comments, the Torch’s website was praised for its mixture of colors, framed pages and use of dynamic sports photos. The Torch website regularly attracts more than 12,000 page views per month and has topped 200,000 page views in past years.
“The Torch is relevant, important and responsive to the Ferris community,” Torch faculty adviser Steven Fox said. “A student newspaper provides a unique service to a campus community that cannot be matched in any other way. It truly is the voice of and for the students.”
The Torch has consistently fared well in photography, page design and writing categories in recent years. There is also a strong tradition of awards for cartoons.
“Honestly, all of the awards made me so excited, but our current cartoonist, Sam McNeil, won best cartoonist across all divisions, which is seriously awesome,” Lewton said. “Sam works so hard and it shows. It was definitely well-deserved.”
Lewton, of Memphis, Michigan, was a reporter for the Torch in 2018 and saw the work McNeil, of Woodland, Michigan, contributed, weekly. She is honored to be a part of this award-winning publication.
Contest judges described McNeil’s work as “dense with wit, wisdom and cutting observations; the clear winner in a field of worth candidates.”
As well as placing first in the Original Cartoon Editorial or Entertainment section, the Torch swept first, second and third place in the Non-Front-Page Design competition.
“The impact of the graphic helps tell the story before we even read the story,” was one of the judge’s comments. Other comments noted the Torch’s ability to balance designs with appropriate content and use of color.
Best Photographer honorable mention: Abbey Good
Editorial second place: Marley Tucker (Depression lies to you)
Editorial honorable mention: Marley Tucker (Cultures aren't punchlines)
Feature photo second place: Kaitlyn Kirchner (Pizza photo from Founders' Day)
Front page design third place: Sarah Massey (Prideful confessions)
Front page design honorable mention: Jordan Lodge (Beat the bug)
Investigative reporting second place: Angela Graf and Harley Harrison (Who's that next door?)
Multimedia reporting (open class) third place: Sid Sabo and Megan Lewton (MLK Day at Ferris State video)
News story second place: Angela Graf and Megan Lewton (Need for knowledge)
News story honorable mention: Harley Harrison (Clearing the water)
News-only photo third place: Harley Harrison (March for Our Lives)
Non-front-page design first place: Jordan Lodge (Reduce and reuse)
Non-front-page design second place: Angela Graf (Dia De Los Muertos)
Non-front-page design third place: Jordan Lodge (Devastating testimonies)
Online newspaper (open class) first place: The Torch
Original Cartoon Editorial or Entertainment first place: Sam McNeill
Sports photo first place: Keith Salowich (Hankins national championship)
Sports photo second place: Keith Salowich (Anchor-Bone Classic)