Journalism staff excels, receives recognition

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

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Excellence has become the norm at Manhattan High. The journalism department upheld its end of the bargain last week, as six students came away from the Kansas Scholastic Press Association state contest with state-level awards.

“It’s always nice to have some validation outside of our own efforts,” adviser Kristy Nyp said. “It’s a little different from our day-to-day work because when we’re coming up with the story ideas, and we’re choosing who the sources are and conducting our own interviews, we have complete control over that. In this scenario, we don’t.”

Seniors Megan Klug and Elizabeth Alexander took third place in their respective on-site competitions, while senior Sonia Manly, junior Lukas Lengele and sophomores Meredith Comas and Hailey Eilert received an honorable mention for their multimedia digital submission.

“I have been a part of the journalism department for four years now and I have never placed at this competition,” Klug said, “and so I got sixth at regionals and I wasn’t really sure what to expect at state and getting third just made all of the hard work and everything worth it.”

State qualified students left early Saturday morning to travel to the University of Kansas. Once there, they were given 90 minutes to read the prompt and respond in the correct way.

“It definitely starts off with a bit of anxiety,” Alexander said, “because I’m afraid I may be taking things too far, like, ‘I won’t have time to finish this if I go too in depth, I won’t be able to finish it if I try to rush through it, it’s going to end up looking sloppy.’ [The anxiety] kind of just melts into content and calmness so to speak because you feel like you know what you’re doing.”

Since it is a competition, the competitive nature starts to come out in some students.

“It is a competition and I’m very competitive,” Klug said, “so I start realizing that I want to win. It’s also just really fun, because it’s not something that everyone is a part of, and it’s very different than other competitions with sports and whatnot.”

The Mentor and The Mentor Online also received their All-Kansas plaques at the contest, a first for The Mentor Online.

“To finally have the online get it,” Nyp said, “says that not just with our traditional media, but with our new media, we’re doing the right things. It’s a whole different kind of thing where we’re trying to put stories up in a much more timely way, so that’s kind of a new practice that even professional newspapers don’t really have down, so it’s kind of nice to know that we’re doing it in a way that is respected across the state.”

The All-Kansas designation is given to publications that consistently excel throughout the year, meeting guidelines set by KSPA.

“I’ve been around the journalism department for so long,” Klug said, “I’ve been able to see how the publication has developed and improved as a whole, and so I think the All-Kansas recognition was just the icing on the cake for showing other people that we’ve also grown and we’re still improving as each year goes by.”

Throughout their work, The Mentor staff has created a welcoming environment where all can thrive.

“The Mentor was definitely where I found a lot of wholesomeness,” Alexander said. “The Mentor is kind of just where I just kind of plopped in unexpectedly and I ended up really liking it and enjoying it and finding a place to be, so definitely being able to see a lot of not only The Mentor’s hard work, but my hard work going forth to get us an award like that means a lot to mean because it shows that my countless hours in C-107 haven’t gone to waste.”

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