Northern Star, student staff honored

Northern Star logoNorthern Illinois University’s independent student newspaper, the Northern Star, received numerous honors at the Illinois College Press Association’s awards luncheon Saturday, Feb. 22, in Chicago.

For the second year in a row, the newspaper claimed second place in the association’s general excellence category, after Northwestern University’s Daily Northwestern.

The Northern Star also took first and second place in the editorial category, while Editor-in-Chief Kelly Bauer and managing editor Jessi Haish took first and second place, respectively, in the feature story category. Strip cartoonist Mike Dean took second place for his work on The Punchline is Corn, and video producer Alex Koss received third place in multimedia reporting.

Bauer also received an honorable mention for front page design, and cartoonist Griffin Thorne received an honorable mention for best editorial cartoon.

“I’m incredibly proud of the entire Northern Star community,” said Bauer, citing the work of the newspaper staff, its alumni and the publication’s readers as critical to the publication’s success. “I can’t think of another college paper I’d rather be at or another group of people I’d rather work with, and we’re going to keep working hard to get the top prize next year and–more importantly–provide our readers with researched, timely, interesting news every day.”

Northern Star reporters receive extensive instruction and mentoring outside the classroom from alumni and advisors. Prominent alumni of the newspaper include, among others, Daily Herald sportswriter Barry Rozner, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown, Illinois Department of Employment Security spokesman Greg Rivara, former NIU Sports Information Director Mike Korcek, WGN-TV’s Marcus LeShock and the late Ray Gibson, who spent 32 years as a Chicago Tribune reporter.

NIU President Doug Baker often talks about the link between experiential learning and success in the classroom and in life.

“We need to prepare students to be successful in their lives and their careers, and that means more than just book learning,” he says. “Student career success is not vocational education; it’s preparing people for life and work. The Northern Star provides valuable experience not only for young reporters and photographers, but in a variety of disciplines including art and illustration, sales and marketing, political science and more.”

Shelley Hendricks has served as the Northern Star’s adviser for the past two years. She points to the experience students receive at the newspaper as a key to career success.

“Experience truly is the best teacher. At the Northern Star, students get the opportunity to do the work they read about and practice in class,” Hendricks says. “The deadlines, the public accountability, the management experience and – even some fun – all mix in the crucible that is the Northern Star.”

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