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Home News The Sower Reaps Journalism Awards at NCMA Conference

The Sower adviser Ellen Beck delivers the keynote address at the conference luncheon on April 8. Photo by Carolina VonKampen.


by Benjamin Middendorf


The Sower garnered 10 awards at the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association Golden Leaf Awards banquet, hosted at Concordia on April 8.

The awards were presented in the three different divisions of Digital Medium, Newspaper and Best in Overall Excellence, and were judged by various journalism professionals and academics.

The Sower received first place awards in the categories of Digital Breaking News Story for “Five Freshmen Concordia Football Players Involved in Rollover Crash” by junior Benjamin Middendorf and sophomore Abigail Wisniewski, Digital Feature Story for “A History of Hauntings at Concordia” by freshman Dana Simpkin and Digital Design for a Free Movie Night Instagram post designed by senior Carolina VonKampen.

Second place awards were given to The Sower for Digital Medium: Community Collaboration for the 2016 #SowerSpringBreak crowdsourcing project, a News Photograph by Kim Sleeper and Digital Medium: Best in Overall Excellence.

A third place award was given in Digital Feature Story for “Professor Don Robson Redefines Drawing IV Course” by senior Jordyn Sturms, and honorable mentions were given in the categories of Newspaper Sports reporting for “From High School Football Kicker to Concordia Women’s Soccer Player” by Sturms, Digital Feature Story for “Winter Floor Wars Challenges Floors to Unite” by Middendorf, and Overall Layout and Design.

“Journalism is a profession that is vital for society to function, and is more important than ever,” Assistant Professor of Journalism and Political Science and Director of Concordia’s Journalism-Public Relations Program Tobin Beck wrote in a note to the conference attendees. “Many of the great journalists of tomorrow are the college journalists of today.”

The banquet wrapped up two days of the NCMA 2017 Spring Conference, which was hosted by the Concordia journalism program.

Students and advisers were present from six different Nebraskan college newspapers, including Concordia, Chadron State College, Doane University, Hastings College, Peru State College and Wayne State College.

The attendees of the conference were treated to a reception on the evening of April 7 and a morning of talks and socializing on April 8.

Four different speakers from the field of journalism offered their personal and professional stories and advice to the conference attendees.

Dee Ann Divis, who has worked for over two decades in covering the aerospace industry and satellite technology, offered advice on thriving in the challenging Washington, D.C. media culture and on building professional experience.

Mark Lagerkvist, an investigative journalist who has won over 60 journalism awards, including three Emmy awards, spoke on adapting to changing media platforms.

Weekend anchor for CBS Radio Tom Foty spoke on his 40 years of experience with various news and radio networks and on the future of radio broadcast news.

Sower adviser Ellen Beck was the keynote speaker for the luncheon, where she offered snippets from her long career as a journalist and advice on how to balance work and family life.

“Let’s keep working to keep the country and world informed with accurate reports that give people the news they need, and to defend the press freedoms that enable us to provide those reports,” Tobin Beck wrote.


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