The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

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Golden Leaf Awards recognizes communication department’s hard work

The Wayne State Mass Communications Department hosted the Golden Leaf Awards Ceremony on March 23 in Peterson.  

Wayne State Students entered their work between 36 categories that range from news writing to radio production. Seven other schools entered the competition, and members of Peru State College, Bethel College, Concordia University, University of Nebraska-Kearny and Chadron State all attended the awards ceremony. Along with the contest, Wayne State also hosted multiple guests from the media industry to speak to students and answer questions about working in media.  

“It’s a way to celebrate journalism and media,” professor Liz Viall said. “I think that students really need that kind of recognition. Sometimes we get mired in the day to day you know, and it’s nice for them to realize that somebody is looking at their work and deciding it has merit.” 

Viall’s newspaper students took home some hardware from the awards ceremony with multiple top-three finishes in six different categories. Lurye Baxa was awarded first place in Best Newspaper Front Page and third place in Best Arts and Entertainment Story. Maddie Genoways received awards for second place in Best Column and third place in Best House Ad.  

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Other newspaper students who placed were Jayde Teutsch who was awarded third place for Best Editorial and Zaynab Kouatli who received third place for Best Column. 

“That’s part of the satisfaction,” Viall said. “The fact that I can find students that are interested in journalism and who also learn to thrive in journalism. Seeing them rewarded for that, that’s why I teach.” 

On the television side of the mass communication department, professor Pat Janssen also saw his students awarded for their work.  

“A lot of our students have great experience in radio, film, and newspaper and you know, a lot of them haven’t really gotten a chance to do a lot of the broadcast TV kind of stuff,” Janssen said. “I want people to be unafraid of making mistakes and just make stuff and it’ll either be better than you think, or it will make it better. That’s the point of being here, and I think both of those things happened with many of the things submitted for class. They were all pleasantly surprised and hopefully it’s a shot of confidence. 

At the awards ceremony, Wayne State students filled the top three spots of the Best Video News Story category with Becca Arkfeld placing first, Nathan Blizzard in second and Grant Ferrell in third. Along with second place in Best Video News Story, Blizzard placed first in Best Video Public Service Announcement. Gage Dawson took another first place award for Wayne State in the Best Video Sports Story category. 

Professor Sean Ahern’s radio students also received multiple awards from Golden Leaf in different categories.  

“You know, I want you to make content that is going to garner attention, hopefully positive attention, but attention no less,” Ahern said. “That is going to highlight issues in your community and show what Wayne State students are capable of. And yes, awards are nice. But it’s not the end, all be all. So, my students who want awards, I’m proud of them. But I also said there are ways we can get better.” 

Radio students took home some first-place awards with Sara McKenna placing first in Best Audio Public Service Announcement in addition to Nate Bope and Andrew Reiss for Best Audio Sports Play-By-Play Announcing. In Best Audio Promotional Announcement, Bope, Tucker Ashburn and Quin Otto placed third, and Ethan Bohnert, Travis Boock and Otto took home second place. Grant Ferrell’s radio work was awarded third place in both the Best Audio Feature Story category and Best Public Service Announcement category. Jasmine Snyder placed third in the Best Social Media Presence category. 

“I think Sarah McKenna winning her consent PSA number one award in the Public Service Announcement category was a highlight because I was sitting at the table with her and when her name was called your jaw just dropped,” Ahern said. “That was cool to see… It’s nice to win awards, right? But it’s not the end all be all. You have to think, ‘Okay, I won that award. What can I do next?’ I think that’s what’s important about it.” 

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