The Vidette captured first place for overall General Excellence Saturday in statewide competition among campus newspapers from throughout Illinois.

The general excellence recognition was one of a record 29 different awards captured by the Illinois State University newspaper in the annual Illinois College Press Association contest. Twenty-seven schools competed in the contest this year, and in most categories The Vidette competed against other large school newspapers. In the general excellence category, which recognizes achievement in all aspects of the newspaper, The Daily Illini at the University of Illinois finished second and The Daily Northwestern at Northwestern University finished third.

General excellence is based on three separate editions of the newspaper, two on dates required by judges and one at the discretion of local editors.

In addition to the coveted general excellence awards, The Vidette won three other first-place awards, 13 second-place awards, four third-place awards and nine honorable mentions.

Judging was done by a total of 42 professional journalists from across the county. The contest periods spanned the spring 2019 semester and the fall 2019 semester. Becky Fletcher was editor in chief in the spring and current editor in chief Jonathan Barlas was editor last fall.

The Vidette General Manager John Plevka said he was “absolutely bursting with pride” over The Vidette’s performance in the ICPA.

“There is some outstanding student journalism being performed across the state of Illinois and for The Vidette to be recognized as being among the best is a greatly deserved salute to the hard efforts by these outstanding Illinois State students,” Plevka said. “For the newspaper to be honored in all phases of the business – news, sports, features, opinion and headline writing along with design, photography, multimedia, social media and podcasting is especially gratifying.”

Barlas echoed Plevka’s pride.

General excellence

“This win isn’t just about the work we’ve done over the past year, it’s about the people who put in that work, time and effort into creating a culture that means more than words can describe,” Barlas, a senior public relations major in the School of Communication said. “I couldn’t be prouder of us, our GM John Plevka and the organization as a whole. Best in the state has a nice ring to it, very happy we did this not as a team, but as a family. Without the staff, we wouldn’t have been able to do this. Give all credit to them.”

The Vidette’s previous record at IPCA is 27 total awards in 2017. The only other time The Vidette captured the general excellence award was in 2017.

There were 985 assorted entries from student journalists in this year’s IPCA contest. The awards were presented at the annual, two-day ICPA conference in Chicago.

Other first place awards for The Vidette went to:

Barlas for Front Page Design, three successive front pages published on Oct. 1, 8 and 15 and featured cover photographs by Photo Editor Jennifer Haiden and a graphic illustration by Art Director Flynn Geraghty, respectively.

News Editor Grace Barbic Feature Page Design which focused on a film about Ted Bundy

Former Vidette Photographer Jeffery Smudde for Sports Photo from an Illinois State vs. Bradley game.

Second place awards for The Vidette went to:

News Editor Lizzie Seils for News Story: ‘Fake diversity has got to go’ -- Discrimination march takes over Quad Monday

Seils for Headline Writing: Students sound off on late-night false fire alarms. After multiple popcorn problems, NFD and EHS give tips for preventing alarms

Barbic for Column Writing: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’

Features Editor Andrea Ricker for Features Page Design.

Barlas for Features Writing: ‘I don’t have a favorite’ -- Normal’s Jared O’Brien brings term ‘super fan’ to new heights

Photo Editor Ali Rasper and Barlas for Multimedia Reporting for coverage of 2019 Lollapalooza

Barlas and Vidette Editorial Board for Opinion Pages

Rasper for Feature Photo: Gamma Phi Circus celebrates 90th anniversary

Smudde for Photo Essay: Sunday night house fire on Irving Street in Normal

Vidette Staff for Entertainment Supplement: 2019 Best of Blo-No Guide.

Vidette columnist Andrew Dougherty for Editorial Writing: BHC rally: Issue facts and figure

Third Place awards went to:

Barlas for Sports Page Design

Former Sports Editor Kade Heather for Sports Feature Story: Cleanup on Aeilts No. 27 -- Illinois State cleanup hitter Joe Aeilts thrives with position change, leads Redbirds offensively

Former Advertising Production Manager Darius Davis and current Ad Production Manager Arnie Lack for Best Full-Page Advertisement design for a Meredith’s Properties ad.

Haiden for live ICPA Photo Competition conducted on Friday: Engaged at the Bean.

Honorable Mentions went to:

Former Sports Editor Blaine Lewallen for Sports Column: Should Muller be in hot seat?

Lewallen, Barlas and current Sports Editors Jake Fogal for Best Podcast: MVC Weekly

Vidette Staff for Multimedia Reporting: BHC rally: 'fake diversity has got to go'

Fletcher for Headline Writing: We survived! Record cold snap paralyses central Illinois, but February begins anew

Smudde for Spot News Photograph: Sunday night house fire on Irving Street in Normal

Vidette photographer Kacey Nichols for General News Photograph: We Survived!

Vidette Photo Staff for Photo Essay: Catching Cold: Vidette photographers brave the elements to capture chilling moments from Polar Vortex

Geraghty for Editorial Cartoon: Illinois, stop doing the bare minimum

Haiden for Sports Photo: Volleyball loses to UNI in four sets

The awards were presented at a Saturday afternoon luncheon at the DoubleTree Miracle Mile in Chicago as the finale of the annual two-day conference. Award-winning investigative television and print journalist Carol Marin was the keynote speaker on Friday. Other noted journalists presented at the conference on a wide range of topics.


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