Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Feather earns Digital News Silver Crown

Andrew Rurik

Students and advisers from across the nation gathered at Columbia University for the 95th annual Columbia Scholastic Press Association spring journalism convention, March 20-22.

After a week of waiting and nearly a full year of school, students, advisers and chaperones convened in the Alfred Lerner Hall for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s (CSPA) award convocation, March 22. The final day of attending sessions at the CSPA’s 95th Spring Convention ended, and the famed award ceremony began.

The room bubbled with young journalists, eager to hear the name of their paper and city, followed by the award they would receive. A silent question hung in the air: will we take home a Silver or Gold Crown?

This year, The Feather Online won a Silver Crown, along with 17 other Digital News Crown winners. Over 1,100 schools qualified for the competition overall. 

Since 2010, The Feather has earned eight Gold Crowns and two Silver Crowns.

I think today, people are overly pessimistic about the future of journalism. They make the mistake of confusing the decline in print newspapers and magazines with a loss of journalism, and I don’t think they’re the same at all… I think journalism is thriving. And actually, I think it has a better future than people imagine for it. — Edmund J. Sullivan, CSPA Executive Director

According to the CSPA website, the Crown awards honor top student publications chosen from CSPA’s members. Crowns are selected for overall excellence in a head-to-head comparison. Student publishing in news, magazine, yearbook or digital (online) formats are all-eligible. During Crown consideration, publications are judged on their excellence as shown by their design, photography, concept, coverage and writing.

Founded in 1925, the CSPA is ran and owned by Columbia University. The Association works to unite student editors and faculty advisers from public, private and church-related schools and colleges throughout the USA who produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media.

Edmund J. Sullivan was named Executive Director of the CSPA in 1981 and has since led the organization. Sullivan has noticed a recent resurgency in student journalism and credits students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for their work.

In the following tweet, Alexander Rurik links to a podcast with CSPA director Edmund Sullivan.

“I think after the whole Parkland situation, Stoneman Douglas students rediscovered the value of a student newspaper or student broadcast,” Sullivan said. “If it is done well, it could really say something distinctive. And they could be heard not only by their own peers, but by people outside of the scope, and that’s a great thing. I think we were we were beginning to lose sight of that.

“Print newspapers are dying as a medium of journalism,” Sullivan continued. “But journalism is not done. That’s another thing that Parkland showed is that journalism is advocacy for change. I think this convention helps equip students in that avenue.”

One of the oldest high school and college partnerships in the US, the CSPA works with high school students and teachers to improve their student publications. Conferences, workshops, contests, critiques and award programs are held throughout the year to help show students their strengths and weaknesses and how to improve them.

Feather editor-in-chief Kamryn Schultz, ’19, explains what the convention means to her.

Andrew Rurik

The Feather Online was awarded with a Digital News Silver Crown. Since 2010, The Feather has eight Gold and two Silver Crowns.

“I think the CSPA convention is a really cool place to see not only how other news and media outlets function and prosper, but it’s also teaches you basic skills and new techniques,” Schultz said. “I love going to the sessions and meeting new people because everyone has a different story, it just takes a little courage and a small introduction to get to know someone else’s journey. Although I wasn’t able to go this year, I am proud of the work we have done and I am super excited to attend the NSPA convention and show people how we work as an online newspaper.”

The Convention features guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds and careers. The sessions offered Wednesday through Friday aim to teach students skills for their schools newspapers, yearbooks or magazines, as well as for photography and videography.

“I think today, people are overly pessimistic about the future of journalism,” Sullivan said. “They make the mistake of confusing the decline in print newspapers and magazines with a loss of journalism, and I don’t think they’re the same at all. Print is slowly dying more rapidly now than it was years ago and now it has really lost out because of the rise of social media.

“I think journalism is actually thriving,” Sullivan continued. “And actually, I think it has a better future than people imagine for it.”

Congratuations to The Feather staff for their accomplishments and to the other awarded student publications!

The video below is a recap of this years CSPA Spring Convention at Columbia University:

CSPA // Convention from Andrew Rurik on Vimeo.

Students and advisers from The Feather will travel to Anaheim, CA, to attend and teach at the NSPA spring convention, April 25-28. Check back in mid-April to follow along.

For last year’s article about the CSPA Convention, check out The Feather takes NYC 2018: CSPA Convention recap.

For more articles, read Join the Discussion: 95th Annual CSPA Spring Convention and Recap of FC Auction 2019.

Alexander Rurik can be reached via Twitter @alexrurik23, email and Instagram.

Below is a slideshow that includes images from Rurik’s time in NY attending the 95th annual CSPA Spring Convention at Columbia University.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

Your voice is important to us. Share your opinion in the comment box located beneath the Related Posts section.