NIC student newspaper staff wins multiple national, regional awards

Several students who contribute to North Idaho College’s The Sentinel newspaper have been honored in both regional and national competitions recently.

The Sentinel and its staff won “Best in Show” for two-year school newspapers at the Associated Collegiate Press’s 29th annual spring convention in San Francisco. The Sentinel website finished seventh.

The Sentinel also won the College Media Association’s Apple Award for Best Newspaper for two-year school newspapers with an enrollment of fewer than 7,500 students.

“The Sentinel staff works hard to put out a quality product. Most people don’t realize how much time and effort it takes to be a journalist, and the winning entries exemplify the qualities that modern audiences expect from the news industry,” said Geoff Carr, NIC journalism instructor and Sentinel advisor.

In addition, The Sentinel and its staff won 15 total Mark of Excellence awards from the Region 10 (Montana, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho) Society of Professional Journalists competition. Mark of Excellence awards indicate that the person or organization placed in the top three for the region in that particular category. The overall winner of the Region 10 Mark of Excellence awards for each category will be announced at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 Journalism Convention in Spokane on April 13. All first-place winners advance to the national competition held in the fall.

The Sentinel staff won two Mark of Excellence awards for Best Affiliated Website and Best All-Around Non Daily Newspaper.

Gabe Green, of Vancouver, Wash., won three Mark of Excellence awards for Breaking News, Feature Photography and Sports Photography.

Kaye Thornbrugh, of Hayden, won two Mark of Excellence awards – both in Feature Writing.

Sara Munds, of Hauser, won two Mark of Excellence awards for Feature Writing and Photo Illustration.

Tala Wood, of Sandpoint, won a Mark of Excellence award for General News Reporting.

Christina Villagomez, of Hayden, won a Mark of Excellence award for General News Reporting.

Eric Rivera, of Spokane Valley, won three Mark of Excellence awards: one for Sports Column Writing and two for Sports Writing.

Benaiah Cheevers, of Coeur d’Alene, won a Mark of Excellence award for Sports Writing.

In addition, The Sentinel and staff were honored by the national Press Patriot Awards recently. The Patriot Awards is a national-level, two-year college media competition.

The Sentinel and staff won third place for Best News Publication.

Green won two first-place awards in Portrait Photography and Sports Photography.

Thornbrugh won a second-place award in Feature Reporting.

Rivera won a second-place award in Sports Reporting.

Cheevers won a third-place award in Sports Reporting.

Munds won a third-place award in Artistic Merit.

Sentinel staff members Devin Heilman, of Coeur d’Alene, Thornbrugh and Munds won a third-place award for Layout and Design.

“It’s fortunate that we have a supportive administration that allows our staff the freedom to conduct themselves like a professional news organization and learn from their experiences. I am honored this program has continued the tradition of excellence established by my predecessor Nils Rosdahl,” Carr said.

Pictured in the newsroom are current Sentinel staff members and award winners, from left: Christina Villagomez, news editor and co-webmaster; Gabe Green, photo editor; Benaiah Cheevers, assistant sports editor; and Kaye Thornbrugh, managing editor.

For More Information
NIC Journalism Instructor and Sentinel Advisor Geoff Carr, (208) 769-3276 or

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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