The Emory & Henry College student-produced newspaper, the Whitetopper, was honored with two awards by the Virginia Press Association (VPA).
The contest was open to staff members at any student-produced college or university newspaper in the state. All entries had to be published during the 2011 calendar year, and were judged in the same category regardless of school size or how often the paper was published.
Editor and writer, junior Mark Robertson of Roanoke, Va. placed third in the feature series and continuing news category for his four part series on the founders of Emory & Henry College.The award is given for a series or group of stories on the same subject that best utilizes the elements of feature writing.
Celebrating the 175th anniversary of the founding of Emory & Henry College, Robertson’s series included four articles focusing on the individuals credited with the founding of Emory & Henry - Creed Fulton, Tobias Smyth, Alexander Findlay and William Byars.
“We challenged ourselves this year to improve the quality of the newspaper in terms of both design and professionalism,” said Robertson. “It was important for us to increase the quality of our topics, and I think these awards are a testament to that.”
“I continue to be impressed by the effort that is put into the Whitetopper each week,” said staff advisor Kyle Cutshaw.
The Whitetopper staff was also awarded a second place prize for design and layout of the front page. This award is given for overall appearance, use of headlines and their relationship to the importance of each story, and the variety and importance of news on the page.
Students receiving this award were Becky Sharkey (layout editor), Edison Russ (business manager), Justin Garrison (staff manager) and Cate Hall (news editor).
“Those Wednesday night editing sessions are something I will never forget, and I have formed some of my closest friendships while working for the Whitetopper.” said Robertson.
Robertson, who was recently elected president of the E&H Student Government Association for the upcoming academic year, will step down from his role as editor for the Whitetopper. He will continue to write for the paper, and he hopes to focus on hard news coverage.
According to its website, the VPA “champions the common interests of Virginia newspapers and the ideals of a free press in a democratic society.” The association sponsors one of the country’s largest news contests, drawing more than 5,000 entries each year.
The Whitetopper was first published in 1914 as The Weekly Bulletin, and is now one of the oldest student-produced newspapers in the South. The newspaper is published weekly during the school year.