The Bengal's Purr
Student journalist reach national acclaimFriday, May 25, 2012 By Jaydee Smith
“The difference between this year’s staff and last year’s staff is this year’s staff is driven by the ‘we’ not the ‘me’,” explained Patrick Shannon, advisor for The Bengal’s Purr . The staff won fourth in Best of Show for their March 30 issue at JEA/NSPA National convention, April 12-15. Shannon described the win as a complete shock. “You can have the best individuals and still not achieve the recognition this year’s staff earned,” he explained. “It was just a real shock.” Shannon’s students shared his shock. “I didn’t think it was real,” Michael Bingman, senior editor added. “I received the text that said, ‘We just won fourth in the nation’ and I thought Jesse was screwing with me.” The team of journalists found out about their Fourth Place win through a tweet from @SHSCedarPost that read: “Congratulations to @TheBengalsPurr for placing in top ten Best of Show! #hsjsea #idahopride.” This feat made the journalists reflect back upon this past year’s work. “I was proud of the work we entered and gained a new appreciation for our hard working journalists in our program,” said Nicole Moeckli, junior editor. The individuals who placed at the national competition included Liberty Seldon, senior; Jesse Maldonado, junior; and Moeckli, junior. Seldon, who entered for advertising, received the first-ever superior at LHS during Shannon’s 16-year reign as advisor. Maldonado won an excellence award for sports writing and Moeckli achieved honorable mention for review writing. “I was shocked when I received the award,” said Seldon. “I was quite sure that I was not going to win.” Seldon’s lack of confidence was not shared by her advisor. Shannon stated that Seldon’s strengths lie in her independence and ability to self-motivate. Entering the competition, Maldonado expected to not receive an award. “I was in awe when I received ‘excellent,’” he said. Maldonado’s talent in photography contributed to the positive impression he made on the judges. “He’s probably the best photographer that we’ve ever had,” beamed Shannon. Some of his colleagues mentioned his determination as one of Maldonado’s strengths. “When I found out that I won ‘Honorable Mention’ in Review, I couldn’t stop smiling,” Moeckli said of her award. She continued to explain that she worked very hard to find tune that aspect of her writing. Each student underwent journalism workshops of their choosing that spoke of different techniques and current changes in journalism. “When you’re able to learn from credible people, it’s going to be beneficial,” Shannon said. Moeckli’s professional taught her to incorporate more media outlets into next year’s program. “Now that we have a well-established hardcopy, it’s time to bring our online version up to that standard,” Moeckli explained. Daniel Kloepfer, senior editor, spoke to a professional about media laws. “Never be afraid to stick your neck out for the controversial stories because there are laws that will protect you,” Kloepfer said thoughtfully. Maldonado met with a sport’s professional from the Seattle Post Intelligence . “He just told us to let the game write the story,” Maldonado explained. Bingman’s mentor taught him to update the online edition as much as possible. Bingman remedied this upon his return. “My favorite part was going to Seattle,” said Seldon, “I had never been there before, and I really enjoyed the experience.” Kloepfer described the trip as very rewarding, and he learned a lot. “I really enjoyed the group speaker Dan Savage because what he had to say was very interesting and controversial,” said Kloepfer. Moeckli enjoyed seeing all of the different perspectives that Seattle had to offer. “This was a great learning experience, and it was amazing to enter the world of Seattle,” said Moeckli.