'Columbia Chronicle' Wins 20 Awards at Illinois College Press Association Award Ceremony

group of students showing their award certificatesThe "Columbia Chronicle" award-winning staff
"The Columbia Chronicle” team brings home 20 awards from the Illinois College Press Association, including first-place honors for general excellence, editorials, podcasts, and photojournalism.

On February 17, the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) presented 20 awards to the The Columbia Chronicle at its annual ceremony in Chicago. This included first place awards for general excellence in print and web as well as in categories for podcasts, editorials, and photography. “Chronicle” photojournalist Rasheed Ayoola, a sophomore Film and Television major, competed with 42 others and won first place in the 2024 ICPA Ron Wiginton Chicago Photo Contest.

Overall, Columbia won eight first place awards, three second place awards, seven third place awards, and two honorable mentions for schools with 3,000 to 6,999 students. 

“I feel so fortunate to get to teach and advise this student newspaper dynasty, and that’s what the Chronicle has become in the state,” says Jackie Spinner, faculty advisor for the “Chronicle” and a professor in Communication. “The students dominated the general excellence categories for mid-size schools. 

The awards recognized the "Chronicle’s" work from Spring 2023 through Fall 2023. During that time, Olivia Cohen served as editor-in-chief, with Ruth Johnson serving that leadership role during the summer.


From left to right: Leah Love, deputy editor; Ruth Johnson, summer editor-in-chief, and Olivia Cohen, editor-in-chief

“We don't do the work we do for the awards, but it is extremely rewarding to our staff to be recognized,” Cohen says. “Our staff is a journalism powerhouse, and I am grateful that the ICPA selection committee has recognized that.”

Spinner believes that the “Chronicle” staff proved on campus how valuable credible journalism is to the Columbia community. And she was particularly impressed by the photojournalism students.

“We have one of two majors in the state. It is a small program, but it has become a real powerhouse,” she says. “The photojournalists swept the photo contest and several of the big award categories. Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John H. White taught most of these students. They are part of his legacy, too.”

For Cohen, the experience at the “Chronicle” has been invaluable. 

“Working for the “Chronicle,” which is essentially a journalism learning lab, has equipped me with strong reporting skills that will help me post-graduation.  

Congratulations to the "Chronicle" staff for their outstanding work!

Below is the "Chronicle’s " full list of  ICPA awards:

 First Place

General Excellence, PrintStaff
General Excellence, WebStaff
Ron Wiginton Chicago Photo ContestRasheed Ayoola
EditorialEditorial Board
Podcast, NewsCosme Cruz and John McGowan
Podcast, Culture and EntertainmentCosme Cruz and John McGowan
Photo EssaySam Tucker
Feature PhotoSam Tucker

Second Place

News StoryOlivia Cohen
Sports StoryIzzie Rutledge
Ron Wiginton Chicago Photo ContestKaelah Serrano

Third Place

Feature StoryRuth Johnson
General News PhotoKaelah Serrano
Graphic IllustrationRuth Johnson
Feature Page DesignStaff
Opinion PageStaff
Front Page LayoutStaff
ColumnJustice Lewis

 Honorable Mention

In-Depth ReportingMaya Swan-Sullivan and Ruth Johnson
Editorial CartoonAlex Suarez



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