Cedars Serves at Annual Newspaper Convention

Student newspaper wins top state award; attendees learn and share about industry trends

By Josh Stevens

On Feb. 6, the Ohio News Media Association recognized the best Ohio weekly newspapers and collegiate newspapers with the Hooper Newspapers of the Year and Frank E. Deaner Awards.

Cedars, which served as the student news bureau, took home the prize for best student newspaper at the Division B level for schools under 10,000 in enrollment.

Stories from Cedars placed first and second in in-depth reporting and third in Arts and Entertainment. Cedars placed second in design, third in photojournalism, third in headline writing, second in best multimedia package and third in best website to accumulate enough points to win the Deaner Award for the eighth straight year The newspaper of the year awards were presented at the luncheon session.

According to the Ohio News Media Association’s website, the 2020 ONMA convention was going to be the “best in years,” with great sessions and great ideas throughout the two-day conference.

“I love the ONMA Convention,” said Jason Sanford, manager of communication and content for the conference, “because you get to speak to the amazing people who create Ohio’s newspapers.”

The ONMA was established in 1933, when two groups of publishers, the Buckeye Press Association and the Associated Ohio Dailies, banded together to share trade information and sell advertising. Over the years, ONMA has grown to represent much of Ohio’s daily newspapers and other publications.

The motto for this year’s convention was “Keeping the Vision 20/20,” which corresponds with the newspaper industry’s ability to thrive and grow in the new decade. Owners, managers and reporters listened to presentations about maintaining a good staff and avoiding fake news.

Speakers {left to right} Jim Bebbington, Amelia Robinson, Tim Wolf and Jessica Grause answer questions on reporting tragedies in the news, particularly the shooting in Dayton. [Photo by Carrie Bergan]

The convention then conducted a series of sessions regarding certain aspects of the news media. Highlights included the “Dayton Strong” panel, which discussed how to cover a tragedy like the Dayton mass shooting, and the “Ohio Politics 2020” discussion, featuring Larry Obhof, president of the Ohio Senate, and David Pepper, the Democratic Party chair.

Thursday’s opening luncheon session also heard from one of the ONMA’s sponsors, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), where Stephen White talked about new initiatives the science and learning facility is undertaking. Throughout the weekend, Cedarville journalism students and members of Cedars provided coverage for the event as the student news bureau. They wrote several articles and produced a digital publication that was emailed to ONMA members.

“It was a great opportunity to interact with others in a similar position as myself while being given the chance to create a news bulletin for them,” said Cedars photography editor and design director Carrie Bergan.

The convention also provided networking opportunities for students and those already in the journalism field. Students from Wright State University, Ohio University and other Ohio colleges attended a breakout session where they could meet with potential future employers, be mentored and learn.

Other networking opportunities were provided to those attending the convention. Tables lined the hallways at the hotel and finger foods were provided at the end of the first day, as members of the ONMA publications chatted about media, news and everything in between. An after-hours convention was also held at BRU Burger just a short drive away. A portrait photographer was present on Thursday to take professional headshots. Contests and raffles gave away prizes.

“Some of these newspapers are big, some small, but all are invested in representing and being a part of their local communities,” Sanford said. “That focus on community comes through in what our member papers do each and every day, and our convention really showcases this fact.”

Josh Stevens is a senior journalism major and an Arts & Entertainment writer for Cedars. He enjoys communicating via Spongebob quotes and listening to music your grandparents probably enjoy.

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