Yippee-Ki-ICPA!

The Oscars weren’t the most important awards in my life recently. A week ago, the Illinois Collegiate Press Association (ICPA) held its annual convention at the Chicago City Centre Hotel. A contingent of Stentor editors (myself included) went down on both Friday and Saturday to meet our peers and see others’ work. The experience was capped off by an awards ceremony.

The Friday half of the convention consisted of a series of workshops and a keynote address. Our group arrived for the latter half of the page-design session, squeezing into the back of the packed room to hear some editors from the Chicago Tribune talk about fonts. Now, this may sound boring, and to many it is, but I have a rather geeky interest in the subject. My plans last night were blown when I couldn’t check out Helvetica, a documentary about typefaces and society, because it was check out at the library. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear how the professionals lay out pages and see some of their best examples.

Our second workshop of the day was a panel discussion about how to maintain integrity at the college-press level. Luckily, we at the Stentor don’t have this problem due to the kickbacks we receive from the administration. I kid, I kid. I didn’t really learn anything new here, but it was interesting to have some different perspectives from a public affairs writer, an editor, and a Sun-Times columnist on how to juggle objectivity with being a college student. An example of this is criticizing a school play or knocking one’s home athletic team; it’s hard to say negative comments about one’s peers, especially if they’re justified.

The keynote presentation of the evening was a panel discussion by the staff of the Northern Star, Northern Illinois’ newspaper, about how they handled coverage of the tragic events that took place on their campus. What an inspiring story to emerge from horrible circumstances! We heard about how the staff came together and published an issue in the middle of a chaotic incident and a chaotic office (they had to work with the fire alarm going off for half an hour). Each member, from the advisor taking pictures to the Features Editor writing a news story, jumped in and contributed to the issue.

Our posse returned Saturday afternoon to attend the awards luncheon. This was the first time I had ever attended the ICPA awards ceremony. It was also the first time for our advisor as well, who was nice enough to drive us downtown after our meeting with the Board of Trustees (talk about an exciting Saturday morning). It turns out that the trip was worth it – The Stentor won more first place distinctions than ever before. The paper took first for Features Page Design, Sports Column Writing, and Headline Writing. We also took second for Sports Photography.

I’m especially proud of the Headline Writing Award because it was my headlines that won. I take a rather perverse pleasure in coming up with headlines; it’s the most visual way I can display my rather cheesy sense of humor. You may have noticed some of them at the top of these columns, however, the Lake Forester changes some of them. For example, the article about my feelings regarding a certain kind of precipitation ran with the headline, “I used to like snow. Now, I’m tired of it,” which was not my creation. I preferred “Don’t let it snow, don’t let it snow, don’t let it snow.”

This column’s particular headline was shared by a recent Stentor editorial. I hope you enjoy it. If it’s not clever, then it’s been changed and you are not experiencing my ICPA award-winning work.

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