The Rider News was recently presented with several awards at the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards, held at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut, and at the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA) Awards Luncheon, held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Cranbury. Both ceremonies were on April 9.
The SPJ’s Region 1 includes college newspapers in nine different states. Other finalists in categories in which The Rider News competed included Harvard and Yale universities.
Sophomore journalism major Shanna O’Mara won first place in the sports writing category for her article titled “She’s a keeper — MAAC shutout leader Bethany-May Howard opens up.” O’Mara is the first Rider News member to win an SPJ regional category since 2009. Her piece now is entered in the nationwide competition.
Senior journalism major Thomas Albano was a finalist in sports writing, and junior journalism major Alexis Schulz was a finalist in the category of editorial writing.
Junior journalism major Thomas Regan and junior public relations major Emily Kelley were both finalists in the photo illustration category.
Five SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards is the most The Rider News has won in one year.
“It definitely speaks to how much work we all put into the newspaper each week,” said Regan, the executive editor. “Every member of our staff helped win these awards, even the individual awards. Whether it be a suggestion at the copy desk or someone helping the lead writer gather information or quotes, every member of our staff helped us win the most SPJ awards in our newspaper’s history. I’m incredibly proud of everyone.”
At the NJCPA awards, The Rider News took home first place in general excellence over competitors such as Princeton and Rutgers. The last time the newspaper won this award was in 2013.
“Winning general excellence from the New Jersey Press Association is an honor. It’s not something you win every year,” said Schulz, the managing editor. “Our Rider News team really has done an outstanding job, and the newsroom feels like a home for everyone to collaborate and share reporting and writing excellence.”
Junior journalism major Emily Klingman won second place in feature writing, and sophomore journalism major Gianluca D’Elia won third place in news writing. Senior elementary education major Courtney Taylor won second place in photography, while O’Mara won second place in sports writing for the same article on Howard.