For years, the Iowa State Daily has been innovating and transforming the ways it delivers the news to Iowa State University students and the Ames community. This past spring, the hard work paid off: The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a national organization dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior, named the Daily the “Best Student All-Around Newspaper.”
In judging, SPJ looks at content, coverage, design and online material from specific issue dates chosen by the organization. The Daily beat out newspapers like the UCLA Daily Bruin and the University of Mississippi’s Daily Mississippian.
Danielle Ferguson served as the Daily’s editor-in-chief for the issues awarded and, following her May 2016 graduation, now works as a breaking news reporter at the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader. Ferguson credits the national recognition for motivating the newspaper’s current staff.
“[The Daily staff have] been given a really good base to keep trying and feel confident,” Ferguson said.
This isn’t the first time the Daily has been named the best student newspaper in the country; in 2007 the Daily also claimed the national title.
ISD Editorial Adviser Mark Witherspoon praised both the Daily’s student and professional staffs for their dedication to providing a high-quality publication to the ISU community.
“We have been an excellent newspaper, at least in the eyes of SPJ, for 10 years now,” said Witherspoon. “I think excellent newspapers evolve with the times, and I think we’ve done a good job of doing that, especially in the last few years.”
This year’s Editor-in-Chief Emily Barske was also named as a national finalist in the feature writing category for her piece “Our Way of Life,” a piece on coaches’ wives from the Daily’s annual Hoops publication.
By Alyssa Klahsen