By Mason Poepperling
About two weeks ago, The Hutchinson Collegian attended the Kansas Collegiate Media convention at the Drury Broadview Hotel in Wichita.
Activities at the convention included contests, speakers, and – the highlight of the convention – an awards ceremony that acknowledged the achievements of many different newspapers and magazines from across the state.
Of these awards, the most prestigious is the Journalist of the Year award. This award recognizes the talents of the best college journalists in the state, and this year’s Two-Year College winner went to The Collegian’s Editor In Chief Brooke Greene.
Greene is a Hutchinson native who has a journalism degree from Hutchinson Community College already, and is now studying police science.
“That was a huge shock for me,” she said. “I remember sitting in the audience listening to the second runner-up being called and when it wasn’t me, I thought ‘that’s OK, maybe I’ll be the first runner up’, but when that wasn’t me either, I figured I didn’t place. I had kind of prepared for disappointment so that I wouldn’t be disappointed, but then they described the winner and I realized they were talking about the Evans family story that I wrote about. Half of the staff looked at me as we realized I won. I was so shaky, I couldn’t believe I won Journalist of the Year. It was a huge accomplishment for me and for my journalistic career.”
Winning Journalist of the Year follows another landmark achievement for Brooke Greene, the birth of her daughter Sawyer in February.
Winning an award like this can be huge, but it’s also important to note that awards aren’t everything. People who enter the journalism field and are passionate about it shouldn’t chase after awards. Having a focus on authentic, informative stories should always be a top priority, and if done right, the awards will follow after that.
“The more yourself you are, the better your chances at grasping your true potential as a writer, thus winning awards. I remember writing in my cover letter for the award that if I was to be remembered for anything, to let it be the words that I leave behind,” Greene said.
Budding collegiate journalists also got to learn from professional journalists’ experiences, as well as having the opportunity to have their work in the field to be recognized.
A complete list of Collegian awards can be found here.