Seward County Community College journalism instructor and Crusader adviser Anita Reed, left, joins award-winning members of the Crusader student newspaper staff  following the Kansas Collegiate Media convention in Wichita April 14-15. From left, front, editor Jose Medrano, Liberal, with his Journalist of the Year award; sports editor Sandy Alfaro; editor Tonya Loewen, Meade, holding the All-Kansas Award; staff member Fabi Peńa, Liberal; and ad manager Celestina Padilla, Tyrone, Okla.  Back, staff photographer Jakub Stepanovic, Czech Republic; staff member Julia Frey, Germany; entertainment editor Morgan Riley, Levelland, Texas; staff videographer Dawn Shouse, Liberal; staff member Giseelle Arredondo, Liberal; and news editor Matthew Adkins, Liberal. For more photos, see

The Crusader received the coveted All-Kansas Award and a Gold Medalist Award in the two-year newspaper overall division at the Kansas Collegiate Media convention April 14-15 in Wichita. The Crusader is the student newspaper of Seward County Community College/Area Technical School.

Crusader editor Jose Medrano, Liberal, was named the Kansas two-year newspaper Journalist of the Year. In addition, the first-place award for two-year online newspapers went to the staff, led by online editor Cinthia Serna of Kismet and past online editor Raul Lemus of Liberal.
The Crusader staff received 25 individual awards, including eight first-place awards, four second-place awards, seven third-place awards and six honorable mentions. The on-site copy-editing contest recognized Crusader news editor Matthew Adkins, Liberal, as the first-place winner. In a sweep of the special sections category, the Crusader staff claimed the first, second and third-place awards for issues produced in February 2013, August 2012, and May 2012.
The All-Kansas award is the top overall award available at the KCM state competition. “It is so difficult to win the All-Kansas,” said Anita Reed, journalism instructor and Crusader adviser. “It’s kind of like that gold ring on the merry-go-round — we have thought we were within reaching distance several times in the last few years, but we just haven’t been able to grab hold. This year, the Crusader staff brought home the prize, and I am so proud of them for the talent and dedication that it took to receive that recognition as an All-Kansas staff.”
The Crusader editors and staff members were also enthusiastic about winning the top award.
“Winning the All-Kansas award was amazing. It has been 12 years since the Crusader last received an All-Kansas award. I don’t like to brag much, but there were high expectations going in for our staff, and we delivered,” Medrano said.
Reed and 11 members of the Crusader staff attended the convention. Editors Jose Medrano, Liberal, and Tonya Loewen, Meade; news editor Matthew Adkins, Liberal; sports editor Sandy Alfaro, Liberal; entertainment editor Morgan Riley, Levelland, Texas; and staff writers and photographers Celestina Padilla, Tyrone, Okla.; Fabi Pena, Liberal; Dawn Shouse, Liberal; Jakub Stepanovic, Czech Republic; Giseelle Arredondo, Liberal; and Julia Frey, Germany, represented the Crusader at the convention.
The convention began April 14 with an Associated Press style editing contest, breakout sessions, publication critiques and an awards ceremony. Staff members attended more sessions the morning of April 15. The sessions were on topics such as newspaper design, editing tips and sales and marketing.
The convention ended Monday afternoon with the final awards ceremony, where the Crusader received the All-Kansas Award, Gold Medalist Award and Kansas two-year Newspaper Journalist of the Year Award, which came with a plaque and $250. The winner must be nominated by a faculty adviser and submit a portfolio of work, a resume, cover letter, and two additional letters of reference to be considered as a KJOY nominee.
“It was a great honor to win Kansas Journalist of the Year, and I couldn’t have received the award without the help of the staff that I have now. But personally, I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m prouder of winning first place in photo essays. It was a 3 a.m. energy drink filled project on a print night,” Medrano said.
That first-place photo essay award was earned by Medrano, Stepanovic, Adkins, Riley, Padilla, and Cheree Turley for Pancake Day coverage. Medrano also took first place in sports feature writing, second place in news photography, third place in column writing, front page design and infographics categories, and honorable mention in feature writing, infographics and news writing categories.
Loewen received first place in illustration, second place in infographics, third place in series writing and honorable mention in headline writing, infographics and interior page design.
Adkins received first place in copy-editing and honorable mention in infographics. “It was easier than editing an actual newspaper because I knew that there would be mistakes. The only real preparation I had was my experience editing for the Crusader,” Adkins said of his on-site copy-editing honor. “I was surprised because I was one of the first ones done with the test and I prepared less than others who didn’t even place in the contest.”
Stepanovic received first place in both illustration and sports photography and honorable mention in interior page design. Frey received a first-place award in sports column writing. Shouse received third place for multimedia storytelling. Staff member Jordan Long received second place for illustration and third place for single ad design.
Previous members of the Crusader also received awards, since the contest entries span from February 2012 through February 2013. Morgan Wills received first place for series writing and Levi Adams received third place for series writing.
“I’m so proud that all of our hard work and late nights were worth it. Not only do we get recognized on campus, but we also win national and state awards in most of the categories that we enter,” Loewen said.