Albion College student newspaper earns recognition in Michigan Press Association contest

March 28, 2023

The Pleiad staff with Interim President Joe Calvaruso.

By Ward Mullens

The staff of Albion College’s student newspaper, The Pleiad, won six awards at the recent 2022 Michigan Press Association College Better Newspaper Contest.

“I am so proud of them,” said Krista Quesenberry, assistant professor of English and adviser for the student newspaper. “The students work hard every day and for the Michigan Press Association to recognize their hard work means a lot.”

The Pleiad, competing in Division 2 for weekly college newspapers, beat out schools such as Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, to receive first-place recognition for best writer, best column, review or blog; and best sports news/feature.

“What I loved the most was that our students won two of three scoring positions for best writing. That was a portfolio and judged on their range of work,” Quesenberry said.

Juan G. Rodriguez, a junior from Murchison, Texas majoring in English and political science, was named best writer in Division 2 for the body of his work. Students in this category had to submit at least 12 entries for judging. Sam Semerau, ’22, received the third-place award in the same category.

“It’s very validating,” said Rodriguez. “There are people out there that see the work and they recognize what we are doing.”

Liam Rappleye, a sophomore from Grand Haven and editor-in-chief of The Pleiad, received first place honors for best column, review or blog for his work, “Oxford: Mourning from a Distance.” The piece was related to the Oxford High School shooting.

“It was really rewarding because Juan and I were two of only four staff members who stuck it out and came back last year,” said Rappleye. “It’s a nice payoff and an important payoff and a reminder of why student publications are so important.”

Kenna Childress, ’23, received the first place award in the sports news/feature category for her story about the NCAA recent rule change on student athletes profiting from their name, image and likeness.

Patrick Smoker, ’22, received third place for his feature photo work while Irene Corona Avila, ’22, and Semerau received an honorable mention for front page design.

The Pleiad is an institution at Albion College,” said Cathy Cole, chair of the College’s Student Media Board. “That current students and recent alumni won awards speaks volumes to the quality of the program and how far it has come under Dr. Quesenberry’s leadership. These students, who have all the rights and responsibilities of professional journalists, are truly deserving of this honor, as is their advisor. I know I speak for the entire Student Media Board when I say ‘Congratulations, well done and thank you for all the hard work!’”

“It is more important than ever to recognize and encourage good, impactful journalism,” said Joanne Williams, associate professor of journalism and mass communication at Olivet College and MCPA president.

Members of the Colorado Press Association reviewed 579 entries submitted by 16 Michigan college newspapers for the contest.

The Pleiad began in 1883 and is currently published online three times a week with a print edition published three times a semester.