Spartan newspaper wins national award

This edition of the Castleton Spartan student newspaper took second place as best newspaper for national colleges under 3,000 students in the Apple Awards at the College Media Association conference in New York City.

The Castleton Spartan student newspaper recently received second place for best newspaper in the 1,000 to 3,000 student category for the College Media Association’s David. L Adams Apple Award. 

At the annual spring conference in New York City, the Spartan advisor and nine student staff members attended presentations from professionals in the field, explored the sights of the city, and eagerly awaited to see how the paper measured up against others around the country. 

“I think it’s pretty wild that we were recognized at that level,” said sports editor, Justin Gitto. “I know we have a good newspaper, and we put a lot of time and work into each issue, but I couldn’t have anticipated that we’d be rated that highly.”

The second place finish, for the Feb. 15, 2023 edition, marks the fifth national award the paper has won since 2017.

The news was delivered during the five-hour van ride back, with some students chatting away and others headphoned up and ready for bed. 

“The first time I heard about it was in the van when we were heading out,” said Gitto. “I had already kinda put myself in sleep mode, so it took a second to process it, then everyone else started cheering and stuff so I joined in and was like ‘this is great… what are we cheering for again?’ After a moment it sunk in, and I was stoked.” 

“It made the ride home so much more enjoyable after Lily [Managing Editor Lily Doton] checked her phone and announced we had taken second place! I think the whole staff was proud,” added advisor David Blow. 

Spartan staff commented on how winning this award makes them feel great about their work and how it influences their efforts moving forward. 

“There are a lot of times where I question the quality of what I’m doing in terms of my writing, editing, and especially designing the sports pages,” said Gitto. “Something like this gives me reassurance that maybe I’m actually doing a decent job, and I’m only getting better too. It makes me feel confident for next year knowing that all of us are on the right track, and we haven’t even reached our ceiling yet.”

For Doton, who is graduating, it might have meant even a little more. 

“It means a lot to me that the work we’ve done this year was recognized,” she said. “It’s not going to change how I do my work as an editor, because I’m just going to continue doing my best to make the Spartan as good as it can be. I hope that, going forward, that remains as everyone’s goal, regardless of awards.” 

Moving into the future, there are many ways the Castleton Spartan plans to further improve. 

One of these changes includes the recent redesign of the paper, with a completely new header, designed by Doton. She said she was “happy that it worked out.” 

Page designer Mason Parece hopes to train someone to take over their job after they graduate this semester. 

“It’s nice to know that something that is more of a hobby, I’ll still being recognized, and the work I do is helping the reporters with their stories and help it reach out to a broader landscape…I know there’s merit to what I do so I hope I can train someone to maybe take over that job.” 

“As for trying to sustain the work,” added Blow, “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, praising good student work, trying to inspire and coach and cheer them on.” 

“As an advisor, I just try to guide students and try to press them to do their best work. Maybe it’s urging them to get more sources for stories, or to try different writing or design techniques. But the credit goes to students. I don’t think people realize how much time and effort goes into putting out a paper, so these awards are just validation of that hard work.”

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