Even during these hard times, student-run yearbooks and newspapers are making headlines. At this fall’s Associated Collegiate Press convention, both the Edda and The Mirror were awarded Best of Show Awards.
The Augustana Mirror published its first article Jan. 1, 1908, which covered issues relating to the importance of higher education; this issue can be found here. Since then, The Mirror has reported timely information to the students and staff of Augustana University.
Now, in the fall of 2020, the Mirror placed fifth in the Top Best of Show category for 4 year, less than weekly newspapers at the 2020 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention.
When adviser of 24 years, professor Jeffrey Miller, first heard about the award, he was elated.
“For the past decade, almost, we have been really good and we have been getting better,” Miller said. “This was, I think, overdue. This is a big deal.”
This is The Mirror’s first time placing in the Top 10 for less than weekly newspapers. The candidates for this award were not only from South Dakota but from all over the nation.
Senior Noah Wicks, this year’s Editor-in-Chief for The Mirror, found out the good news in an email from Miller that started with, “Well, sir, have a seat.”
Wicks said it was a shocking yet incredible feeling to find out that the team’s hard work had paid off.
Wicks said he believes that more stories have been written for the Mirror this semester, than he has seen in the four years he has spent writing for the newspaper. The Mirror’s email newsletter, The Mirror Compact, is sent out to students every week with updated news stories.
“We are a young team, and it is awesome to see us all growing so fast and so well, especially with so much news to cover,” Wicks said.
The Edda released its first student yearbook in 1928, which can be found here. More than 92 academic years have been photographed and made into different yearbooks.
The Edda’s 2020 yearbook placed eighth in the Top 10 Best of Show category at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention this fall.
Professor Janet Blank-Libra, Edda adviser for over 30 years, said this last academic year was a difficult, unusual year for Edda to cover due to COVID-19.
“It was not an easy thing to accomplish under the circumstances,” Blank-Libra said. “The staff figured it out, and it is unforgettable.”
This year, the Edda did not win awards in certain photography and design categories.
“Despite that, our staff was very competitive,” Blank-Libra said.
When the academic year moved online last semester, Chloe VanGerpen, former Editor-in-Chief, had to quickly figure out how to lead a team in completing a yearbook.
“I was pretty heartbroken at first,” VanGerpen said. “One of the hardest things was figuring out how to fill the pages and still represent people at Augustana when no one was actually here.”
One of the many adjustments to the yearbook included the graduation section, which is normally filled with graduation portraits. Since there was no graduation ceremony, the Edda had the seniors of 2020 submit photos and turned the graduation section into a senior section.
“Even though it was really hard, there are a lot of things with this yearbook that haven’t been done before,” said VanGerpen.
According to VanGerpen, these challenges have shown not only the Edda staff but Augustana as a whole what can be accomplished when things turn unexpected.
“It would have been really easy for last year’s staff to say, ‘We’re done. We are going home. Let›s just make the yearbook shorter,’” said VanGerpen. “But we didn’t do that, and because of that, we got noticed as one of the best yearbooks in the nation.”