Albion student newspaper wins seven Michigan Press Association awards

La Pléiade is recognized in the writing of opinions and reports, as well as in design and photography.

March 29, 2022

Albion’s latest student newspaper award winners include (left to right) Aura Ware, Sam Semerau and Irene Corona-Avila.

By John Perney

In a year covered by COVID-19 from January to December, it was only fitting that the best student journalism of 2021 across Michigan would be honored through a virtual event.

“We threw a little party in our office and broadcast the awards ceremony,” said Dr. Krista Quesenberry, assistant professor of English and advisor for The Pleiad, Albion College’s student newspaper.

The fact that The Pleiad staff were able to gather in their Kellogg Center office on March 17 to watch the event was a sign that the campus was beginning to emerge from the pandemic (and adjust to campus life at -of the). But the bigger story was Albion’s haul: seven Michigan Press Association (MPA) Division 2 awards.

“It was super exciting,” said 22-year-old Sam Semerau, who as editor of The Pleiad for 2021-22 was responsible for submitting award nominations to the MPA. “I knew we would come away with something – I had a good feeling – but I didn’t know it would be this much.”

The Pleiad staff receiving the recognition included:

  • Jordan Revenaugh, ’21, first place – Column, review or blog (News)
  • Jordan Revenaugh, first place – Column, Review or Blog (Sports)
  • Sam Semerau, second place – Column, review or blog (News)
  • Irene Corona-Avila, ’22, Second Place – Home Page Design
  • Peach Norman Owen, ’21, Second Place – Best News Photo
  • Aura Ware, ’22, third place – Report
  • Aura Ware, Honorable Mention – Best Writer

According to Semerau, who joined The Pleiad staff in early 2020, achieving award-winning journalism in the midst of a pandemic makes the experience all the more special.

“It’s been really interesting to get that camaraderie that you know you need as staff to do [the paper] run,” she said. “People won’t want to do that unless they’re having a good time. It was hard for a while, to meet virtually; we only recently started meeting again in The Pleiad office, and it’s been a nice comeback. there are not many of us [on staff] who remember it. So for me it was a homecoming, but for many others it was a new experience.

Quesenberry said opinion writing, in particular, is an undying strength of The Pleiad, but recognition of this year’s award reflects the efforts of the entire staff. “Our publication is as clean as it’s ever been in terms of style and editing,” she said, “and Sam is a really impressive student leader in terms of welcoming students and show them the ropes.”

Semerau, who double-majored in English and history, was accepted into master’s degree programs in publishing at George Washington University and Pace University. Four years ago, she didn’t think she would make that kind of decision.

“I did a semester on my high school paper, and quit halfway through because of social anxiety,” Semerau said. “Once I got to Albion, I needed a job on campus, and I thought, ‘The newspaper is just going to be a job.’ Then it turned into a position of leadership, and now we’re here. It wasn’t at all like I planned, but I’m so glad it turned out that way, because I don’t can’t imagine doing anything else.

Quesenberry echoed this notion: “There are a lot of people who look back and realize that writing for a student newspaper is a time for them to be independent, to get their ideas out into the world. It’s not just writing for the classroom; it can be very memorable and shape and prepare you for a career.

The adviser also made sure to add that the hiring of 2022-23 staff at The Pleiad will begin soon. Interested students can email [email protected] with questions and keep an eye out for job postings on Handshake or the College website.

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