Northwestern News, staff member receive awards from Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association

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Northwestern News, staff member receive awards from Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association

May 18, 2016

Northwestern News StaffNorthwestern News submitted entries for the annual 2016 OCMA awards including work from staff members (front) Osam Sakamoto, (middle sitting left) Rachel Emerson, (back row standing left to right) Natalie Sacket, Jordan Evans, Charles Boldes, Nick Villalobos and Ryan Shumaker. Dr. Kaylene Armstrong (sitting middle right) is the newspaper’s faculty adviser.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s campus newspaper and staff recently received awards through the Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association (OCMA).

The Northwestern News won at least three awards in the annual contest; however, judging, which is conducted by another state’s media association, was not completed for each category this year, including several categories the newspaper had entered.

In the categories that were judged, Natalie Sacket, graduating English major from Aline and Northwestern News feature editor, placed first in column writing for four-year small schools and honorable mention for review writing. The Northwestern News placed third in front page design.

“This was actually the first year since I've been at Northwestern that we entered the annual OCMA contest,” Sacket said. “We decided as a team at Northwestern News that we'd like to start entering contests again and bringing in some recognition for the work we do.”

Sacket described her passion for writing, which influenced her decision to join the newspaper.

“I've enjoyed writing since middle school, which is why I wanted to become a member of the Northwestern News. Since then, I've found I really enjoy column writing. It's a form of news writing that allows you to break more rules and get a little more creative. Column writing provides an opportunity to get a little more personal with the readers.”

Northwestern News staff members within the newspaper grow and learn from one another as they take on different roles.

“We serve so many roles at Northwestern News,” Sacket said about the student media. “My title this year was feature editor, but that means I'm also a reporter, columnist, photographer, layout/graphic designer and editor. We wear many hats! 

“I'm just so proud of the Northwestern News team and all we've accomplished this year. Under the leadership of Dr. Kaylene Armstrong, we've been pushed to create better, more thorough, more entertaining, more creative editions of the paper each week. I'm sad to be leaving the team, but I'm excited to see what they continue to do.”

Natalie SacketNatalie Sacket

Sacket encourages other students to be a part of the Northwestern News staff.

“I joined the Northwestern News as a creative outlet, but I'd no idea I was joining a family. Our team -- Nick Villalobos (Oologah junior), Jordan Evans (Edmond senior), Rachel Emerson (Enid senior), Charles Boldes (Laverne senior), Ryan Shumaker (Denison, Texas, senior), Osam Sakamoto (Japan senior) -- has become a little, crazy family. Northwestern News will help you grow, not only in experience but as a person as well. It's a really fun group to be a part of!”

Sacket graduated this spring with honors of summa cum laude, given to students with a 3.90 grade-point average and higher. She described the impact of the award, her time spent at Northwestern and how it served her future.

“I don't know that one certificate or award will ever be something to influence one's life,” Sacket said. “However, I can say without a doubt that being a part of the Northwestern News team has made an impact not only on my collegiate career, but on my life as well. It's been one of my favorite experiences.

“At Northwestern, I was able to participate and be involved in ways that would be impossible at any other institution. Because of this, I have gotten practical, hands-on experience that has helped me move on to the next stage of life. Northwestern has, without a doubt, given me the tools needed to pursue my dreams.”

Villalobos, who was elected as the Student Government Association president for the 2016-17 school year, also serves as the editor-in-chief for the newspaper. He said he, looks forward to implementing new ideas in 2016-17.

“My expectations for this coming year are to take what we had this semester and to build on it,” Villalobos said. “That means constantly coming up with new, fun, innovative and interesting designs for the newspaper. Our vision for the Northwestern News is to craft a quality newspaper through the use of hard work, determination, perseverance and most importantly, a news team.”

Armstrong, who was in her first year as the newspaper adviser and assistant professor of mass communication at Northwestern, recognizes the staff's dedication and professionalism.

“The students were very serious about it,” she said. “They spent a couple of afternoons and an entire Saturday going through everything to find pieces for submission.

“We had a really good staff this year that was very cohesive. They worked together really well. It gives a lot for the next staff to live up to and many of our staff will be returning.”

Armstrong believes being a part of a team, like the Northwestern News, has life-long benefits for all students and their majors.

“It prepares students for the real world,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you go into print journalism, public relations, business, agriculture or whatever, learning to work with others, deadlines and completing projects are all skills that every single job requires. This is a great place to practice it and a fun place to work.”

“We would like to encourage anybody on campus to join the paper; you don’t have to be a mass communication student to work for the newspaper,” Armstrong said.

A luncheon took place at the Oklahoma State University campus where the newspaper staff received the awards and attended workshops.

OCMA is an organization promoting and improving student media in Oklahoma’s colleges and universities.

For more information on the Northwestern News newspaper, contact Armstrong, at (580) 327-8481 or