The Tower is recognized as a top college newspaper

The Tower staff placed second in general excellence from the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association for their work on the November 2016 issue, pictured above, and September 2016 print edition.

Published April 23, 2017

The Tower, Kean University’s independent student news organization, has been recognized as a top college newspaper in New Jersey for a competition among four-year public and private colleges. Five Tower staffers were also given individual awards in critical writing, online video and website project categories.

The New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA) awarded The Tower second place for 2016-17 in the category of general excellence for best college newspaper. Rutgers University’s The Daily Targum received the first place award and third place went to Seton Hall’s The Setonian.

Professional journalists judge the annual NJCPA contest.

The coveted general excellence award is based on an overall look at the coverage, writing quality, copy editing, style usage and layout in the newspaper. Judges also take local appeal, effectiveness and readability into account, according to NJCPA contest rules.

This is the second consecutive year that The Tower placed second for General Excellence for best college newspaper. The Tower editor in 2016 was Rebecca Panico and this semester it is Rose Marie Kitchen. Both are communication/journalism majors who graduate in May.

MORE: The Tower wins news awards for print, video and web

The Tower is a requirement in the academic concentration of communication/journalism in the School of Communication, Media & Journalism. Professor Pat Winters Lauro, who oversees the journalism option, and Professor Lois DeSocio, an adjunct professor, serve as faculty advisers.

In individual awards, Panico — former editor-in-chief and current web developer/engagement editor — won two multimedia awards. Panico won second place in the category of best web project for her piece, “Listen: TV turns into poetry with readings from ‘Rabbit Ears,’” which was about a campus event created by Dr. Susanna Rich, an English professor.

For best online video, Panico won second place for her video titled “The Tower visits Yale Daily News to discuss diversity in journalism.” The video highlighted Panico’s trip in January to an invitation-only event sponsored annually by Yale Daily News. It was the first time any Kean student was invited to the event.

Kean won again in the best online video category with a third place award going to David Long, a senior majoring in communication/media, and Elijah Tarik Powell, a sophomore majoring in sociology, for their piece called “College Hour Episode 2: Shawn Crysis,” which explored the music of Kean student Shawn Lawson.

In the arts & entertainment/critical writing category, Joshua Rosario, a sophomore majoring in communication/journalism, received the third place award for his article headlined “Everybody’s dead in the gallery” about an exhibit at Kean curated by former student John Hurtado.

Additionally, Panico was recognized as a finalist in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards for feature writing. The recognized article documented how Be the Change, a charitable group founded by Dr. Norma Bowe, rewarded two men who notified authorities of a bomb they found near the Broad Street train station in Elizabeth.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is the oldest journalism organization in the nation. SPJ’s Region 1 is comprised of seven eastern states and includes universities such as Yale and Columbia.

The Tower staff accepted their awards at the annual NJCPA Conference and Awards luncheon on April 8 in Cranbury. Panico, meanwhile, headed to the SPJ Region 1 Conference at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan on the same day.

Support for the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association comes from the New Jersey Press Foundation, the philanthropic arm of New Jersey Press Association.

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