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Augustana Observer wins 15 awards, breaks record

April  26, 2013

Back row from left, Jim Dyer, assistant professor and former Observer advisor, Shylee Garrett, Hannah Johnson, editor-in-chief Lynn Reinacher, Kyle Soyer, Jack Cullen, Ryan Lulofs and former Observer editor-in-chief Jake Misener; front row from left, Lauren Graziano, Alicia Oken and Rachel Warmke.

Student journalists at Augustana College are piling up the accolades, taking a school-record 15 awards this year from the Illinois College Press Association, a feat that will be celebrated during the Fourth Estate Awards Banquet from noon-2 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the College Center (3750 7th Ave.).

Staff members of the Augustana Observer, the college’s student newspaper, were recognized for journalistic excellence in news, features, sports, columns and multimedia reporting.

“I think what fascinates me is the ability to tell people about things that would otherwise go unnoticed,” said Observer editor Lynn Reinacher, a senior who won a first-place award for her story about military veterans making the transition to college life.

Observer staff won 14 awards in its division (non-daily newspapers with a circulation under 4,000) and also a first-place award in the open division, which includes 33 student-run newspapers from larger colleges and universities in Illinois.

The keynote speaker at the banquet will be award-winning photojournalist Mark Hirsch. He has taken photographs for numerous media organizations including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal. Hirsch also has taught photojournalism and design courses at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Clarke University.

Observer staff have won multiple awards the past several years, including 14 each of the past two years.

Individual and group awards:

Lynn Reinacher won first place in the Feature Story category for her piece “Shellshocked,” which detailed the difficult transitions of several soldiers after returning from the Middle East and entering college. Reinacher also won second place in the News Story category.

Emalee Daisy, who graduated last spring, won two first place awards with her story, “The Fighter,” which detailed the struggle of Alberto Quiros, a wrestler who escaped the gang-ridden, hardscrabble streets of Chicago to attend Augustana and eventually competed in the NCAA Division III Championships. The article won first place in Sports Feature Story, and the accompanying audio slideshow won first place in Multimedia Reporting in the Open Category.

Senior Jack Cullen won first place in Sports News Story for his in-depth investigation of concussions in football. -more- Junior Katie Kot won first place in Column Writing for her perspective on students who are fined for tampering with their heating and air conditioning units.

Senior Jake Misener took second place in Sports News Story for his investigative piece on the rising number of athletes who are failing academically. Misener was editor of the newspaper during fall and winter terms.

Junior Kyle Soyer won second place in Sports Photo for his shot of an Augustana diver, second place in Feature Story for his article on Pagans on campus, and honorable mention in Column Writing for a piece on Centennial Hall’s acoustic dissonance.

Senior Ryan Lulofs won third place in Headline Writing, and Rachel Warmke, who graduated last spring, and senior Lauren Graziano won third place for Feature Page Design.

Pat Manser, who graduated last spring, won third place in Sports Feature Story for his narrative piece on a track star’s struggle to escape Romania’s dictatorship.

Observer staff won honorable mention in the News Story category for an article about Augustana College President Steve Bahls, and they placed second in Front Page Layout for three consecutive issues in late September and early October.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833