Journalism students, faculty member at FHSU win awards at KPC conference

HAYS, KS -- Twenty Fort Hays State University journalism and public relations students and a journalism faculty member received awards at the annual Kansas Professional Communicators Conference May 7 in Wichita.

Kathryn Mayes, Abilene senior, was FHSU's winner of a $500 scholarship. KPC each year awards four $500 scholarships to outstanding seniors planning a career in the mass media, one each to a student from Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, Wichita State University and FHSU.

Megan Smith, Ellsworth senior, took three individual first-place awards and shared a first-place group award. Smith, who is the communications director for United Way of Ellis County, took first in Web site editing for a non-profit organization and first for annual report, both in the professional division, and first in feature writing in the collegiate division for a story published last fall in the University Leader student newspaper.

Smith also shared first-place honors with the rest of a team in her Principles of Public Relations class. Two teams of FHSU students designed materials for Irene's Teas of Lindsborg as part of a service learning project in the spring of 2004. One FHSU team took first and the other second in the collegiate category of public relations for profit organizations.

In addition to Smith, others on the first-place team were Dane Hernandez, Moscow alum; Kelsey Kennedy, Myrtle Point, Ore., senior; Kelley Kuhlmann, Dodge City graduate student; Alison Medley, Grainfield special student; and Amy Tiemeyer, Cheney senior.

Jennie Straight, assistant professor of communication studies and instructor of the class, said Irene Nielson, owner of Irene's Teas, actually used components of both teams' materials.

The second-place team was comprised of Christina Davidson, Claflin graduate student; Jacque McKenna, Jennings senior; Anne Smith, Dodge City alum; Andrea Peck, Kiowa graduate student; and Kylee Colson, Medicine Lodge senior.

Eight news reporting students were honored in the collegiate division for articles published in the Hays Daily News in the spring of 2004. They are: Greg Tammen, McPherson junior, first, news writing; Jessica Smart, Abilene senior, second, news writing; Darcy Hamilton, former FHSU student, second, feature writing; Matthew Carver, Minneapolis senior, third, news writing; David Manning, former FHSU student, third, feature writing; Kala Bolen, Pratt junior, honorable mention, news writing; Natalie Blair, Oakley junior, honorable mention, news writing; and Eric Brown, Brewster senior, honorable mention, feature writing.

Linn Ann Huntington, associate professor of Communication Studies and instructor of the news reporting class, received two awards. Huntington received honorable mention for columns and honorable mention for a single press release. All of these were published in the Hays Daily News.

According to Gail Parsons, KPC contest chair, judging was done by journalism faculty at Buffalo (NY) State University. Smith and Tammen, as individual first-place winners, will go on to compete on the national level.

" I am very proud of our students' achievements," said Huntington. "One of our goals in the journalism program at FHSU is to give our students the opportunity to have their work published while they are still in school.

" Service learning has long been an important component of our program. One of our most recent efforts in this regard is a partnership with the Hays Daily News. As of the fall of 2003, news reporting students submit stories to the HDN editors, who then consider the stories for publication. I appreciate the newspaper's willingness to work with our students and give them this opportunity. I especially appreciate Executive Editor Pat Lowry's efforts to meet with my students and answer their questions.

" I think it speaks well of our journalism and public relations students and the quality of their work, when they go up against students from several other colleges and universities in the state, to come home with this many awards."

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