Arrow Wins 22 Awards During MCMA Virtual Conference


The Arrow, the student newspaper of Southeast Missouri State University, won 22 awards during the Missouri College Media Association (MCMA) 2021 Virtual Conference, hosted by Truman State University from April 5-9.

Among the Arrow’s honors were nine first-place awards, seven second-place awards, three third-place awards and three honorable mentions.

This was the largest number of awards in an assortment of categories that the Arrow has received in recent years, said Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, faculty advisor to the Arrow, professor and chair of Southeast’s Department of Mass Media.

“I’m especially proud of the breadth of categories in which we placed,” Buck said. “This year’s performance demonstrates how our students gain proficiency in an array of media production skills and use them collaboratively to produce quality content.”

The Arrow earned first-place recognition in the advertising division’s campus engagement and promotions category for the Arrow Live Debate — its first debate — ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election. The newspaper’s election night coverage received multiple awards including first place honors for in-depth news reporting, and second place in the special section or supplement and multimedia package categories.

Other categories for which the Arrow won first-place honors include sports photography, information graphics, story illustration, photo page, special section or supplement, website and video.

Some of those awards are the result of the Arrow’s interdisciplinary approach, Buck said, noting “there’s a place for everyone at the Arrow.”

“It’s important to recognize what happens when students from other majors, like commercial photography and marketing, come to the Arrow to practice what they’re learning in their classes,” Buck said. “There’s a misconception that the Arrow staff is limited to mass media students. In fact, we want students from agriculture and technical communication, the sciences and the arts, political science and business to come see how they can be involved.”

Editor Lucas Irizarry said earning MCMA awards is one of the best ways to compare how the Arrow stacks up against other Missouri schools.

“When we win all those awards, it means we’re excelling amongst organizations of similar funding and opportunities,” Irizarry said. “The difference is the effort and skill of Arrow reporters.”

Irizarry said earning awards from MCMA is an affirmation of what students are learning in the classroom and in the field.

“The Arrow experience is one you can’t really get in a lot of majors. That is to say in other majors, you won’t have the opportunity to practice your potential job after graduation for four years,” Irizarry said. “In that time, you grow a lot and get the opportunity to make mistakes in a setting where you won’t go to court or get fired.”

The Arrow’s many recognitions also reflect the Department of Mass Media’s dedication to experiential learning.

“These awards are the result of several supportive faculty who utilize the Arrow as an opportunity for their students to practice what they’re learning,” Buck said. “Dr. Kate Stepaniuc, Dr. Jim Dufek, professor Mike Simmons, professor Anthony Scherer and broadcast engineer Tom White all provided support in some way to Arrow projects.”

It is that dedication among students and faculty that allows the Arrow’s tradition of excellence in awards season to continue each year.

“We have Arrow awards from state media contests dating back more than 70 years, and there’s definitely a winning tradition that we want to continue,” Buck said. “Each competition and group of students is different, but the desire for students to see their work recognized never wanes. I encourage that because it helps us to continue striving to improve our curriculum. It also drives students to continue innovations at the Arrow.”

MCMA awards presented to the Arrow were:

  • First place, Campus Engagement/Promotions: Arrow Staff, “Arrow Live Debate”
  • First place, In-Depth News Reporting: Arrow Staff, “Election 2020”
  • First place, Sports Photography: Jan Salmon, “Sophomore Noah Niznik pitching during game two of the Redhawks World Series”
  • First place, Information Graphic: Ally Bruemmer, “Mock Election results”
  • First place, Story Illustration: Miriam Gorecki, “SCOTUS vacancy impact”
  • First place, Photo Page: Ramond Buck, “Intramurals”
  • First place, Special Section or Supplement: Arrow Staff, “COVID Edition”
  • First place, Website: Madison Abanathie, “Arrow”
  • First place, Video: Beau Nations, “Construction begins at Rock n Roll drive-through”
  • Second place, News Writing: Brooke Holford, “Is Cape Girardeau ready to return to normal? Local business, health, government leaders weigh in”
  • Second place, Sports Column: Kyle Skibinski, “Don’t bet against Tesia Thompson”
  • Second place, Sports Photography: Ramond Buck, “Junior guard and OVC tournament MVP Tesia Thompson cuts part of tenet down after the SE Redhawks beat the U of Tenn at Martin Skyhawks 67-47 at the Ford Center in Evansville, IN.”
  • Second place, Feature Page: Ally Bruemmer and Brooke Holford, “CBD: A growing trend in Southeast Missouri”
  • Second place, Special Section or Supplement: Arrow Staff, “Election 2020”
  • Second Place, Multimedia Package: Arrow Staff, “Election 2020”
  • Second Place, Sweepstakes: Arrow Staff
  • Third Place, Campus Engagement/Promotions: Pat Buck Jr. and Ashlynn Wyman, “What’s Up SEMO”
  • Third Place, Column: Nicolette Baker, “Skinny jeans are canceled”
  • Third Place, Information Graphic: Ally Bruemmer, “Changes in Res Life during FY20”
  • Honorable Mention, Photo Page: Jan Salmon, “Jazz Festival”
  • Honorable Mention, Sports Photography: Jan Salmon, “Southeast athletes participate in yoga on Houck Field”
  • Honorable Mention, Sports Page: Clay Herrell, “Nov. 12, 2020”