Victory lap

Connection continues tradition of journalism excellence, wins 13 awards


Connection Staff

The Michigan Community College Press Association (MCCPA) has announced their award winners for 2021 in mid-April, wrapping up the newspaper competitions the Connection competes in annually. In late March, the Connection found out how it fared in the Michigan Press Association’s 2020 College Better Newspaper Contest, competing against four-year institutions in several categories. Combined, the Connection was awarded 13 awards in total. Below is a compilation of all the individual and team awards the Connection took home this year.

Best Photographer for Division III and Feature Photo Division III (MPA)

Former Managing Editor (19-20) and Photo Editor (19-20), Clarisa Russenberger, took home third place for her three of her photo stories. Prior to the pandemic, Russenberger photographed the sculptures around campus, Alumnus Chef Kevin Wilson, and the annual Navarati Garba event held at Schoolcraft to win her slot in the top three.

Russenberger also won second and third place for the Feature Photo category for her cover photos for the Navarati Garba event and Wilson’s feature article respectively.

Best Writer for Division III (MPA)

Josiah Thomas, former Campus Life Editor (18-19) and News Editor (19-20), earned an Honorable Mention for the Best Writer category. Thomas’ submission was based on his following stories: Stanley Strong; The Ph.D of Baking; Revamped and ready.

Column-Review or Blog-News or Sports Division III (MPA)

Schoolcraft had two editors take the top slots for this category out of 37 articles submitted for this category. Both submissions were based on columns the editors had written.

In first, Arts and Entertainment Editor, Vae O’Neil, earned the number one spot for the column Gender and clothing, the imaginary division. The article breaks down the noticeable binary in clothing, and draws both an introspective and funny conclusion.

Second place went to Russenberger for her column #doingMIpart. The article, written in the beginning of the 2020 shutdown, called on Michiganders to help support their communities and first responders in anyway they could.

Feature Story Award (MCCPA)

Campus Life Editor, Madison Ling, won third place in the Feature Story Award section for her article titled Nurse of the Year. This piece covers the career of Schoolcraft Alumna Nikki Borgert and her acceptance of the aptly named Nurse of the Year Award. The judge commended Ling on her inclusion of how COVID-19 has changed the trajectory of Borgert’s work.

Personality Profile Award (MCCPA)

Ling also won second place in the Personality Profile Award section for her article titled Sink or swim. This piece covers the story of Schoolcraft Alumnus Nick Mannisto and his odyssey to open his very own food truck. The judge commended Ling on her framing of the article as well as its categorical nature and organization.

In-Depth Enterprise Reporting (MCCPA)

Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Fular, won honorable mentions for the In-Depth Enterprise Reporting Awards with his series on Schoolcraft College’s Board of Trustees search for a new president. This series included Schoolcraft’s top 10, The final three, Meet the Candidates: Dr. Glenn Cerny, Meet the Candidate: Dr. Paul R. Watson II, Meet the Candidate: Dr. Sherry Zylka and The new face of Schoolcraft. These articles detailed pivotal information like education, past work and goals for each potential candidate. The judge commended Fular on the diligence it took to gather all the information required and fitting it in a digestible package.

First Amendment Reporting Award (MCCPA)

Managing Editor, Ben Bolstrum, won first place for the First Amendment Reporting Award section with his article titled Signs of Change. This piece covered the story of a controversial billboard citing racial injustice in the city of Livonia. The judge commended Bolstrum on his intro as well as the topical nature of the article.

News Website Award (MPA and MCCPA)

For the MPA contest this year, every online newspaper competed on an open playing field. Beating out the Michigan Daily and the Grand Valley Lanthorn, the Schoolcraft Connection took home second place for the Online Newspaper category.

The Connection also won Honorable Mention for the MCCPA’s News Website Award section. The judge commended the layout of the site as well as the quick adaptation to online content during the early days of the pandemic.

Student Journalist of the Year (MCCPA)

Last but not least, Fular also took first place for Student Journalist of the Year due to going “above and beyond” as the award description states with his work writing for the Connection as well as managing its staff during the turbulent and difficult times of COVID-19.

Congratulations to all MCCPA winners not only at Schoolcraft, but all across Michigan. These accomplishments would not be possible without the support of readers, viewers, and contributors all throughout the community.

To see a full list of MPA or the MCCPA award winners, please use the following respective links: