‘The Flyer’ captures 41 state awards, including best website

'The Flyer' captures 41 state awards, including best website

Several Flyer staff members gather for the closing meeting of the OSMA Spring Convention. Inset: Tristan Buirley and Kerri Ryan are amused in an earlier educational session, while new Flyer staffer Sam Barton takes notes.

By Staff

The Flyer, Fairmont’s online newsmagazine, captured 41 state awards at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association Spring Convention at Kent State University on April 20-21. The awards included 13 Superior awards, including a Superior for the overall Flyer website. The Flyer staff also earned 17 Excellents and 11 Honorable Mentions.

The OSMA awards recognized students’ work in a wide range of areas: newswriting, feature writing, reviews, photography, columns, online interactivity, infographics, Soundslides and cartoons. The awards, alphabetically by staff member, are:

  • Jared Bergstrom: Superior – 2 online sports stories; Excellent – Columns
  • Tristan Buirley: Excellent – Feature photo, Infographic (with Cole Cavanah)
  • Brian Cassidy: Superior – Online Package
  • Cole Cavanah: Superior – Online Package; Excellent – Infographic (with Tristan Buirley), Online Interactivity
  • Jilly Hall: Excellent – Soundslides (with Abby Lybrook, Ben Morgan and Abbie West); Honorable Mention – Soundslides (with Jessica Wuensch), Commentary
  • Zach Jarrell: Superior – In-depth Story (by an individual); Excellent – Online News Story; Honorable Mention – News Feature, Columns (with Paqui Toscano)
  • Nikki Kelley: Superior – General Feature
  • Abby Lybrook: Excellent – Soundslides (with Jilly Hall, Ben Morgan and Abbie West)
  • Taylor Meade: Superior – Sports Photo; Excellent – Sports Photo; Honorable Mention – News Photo
  • Dakota Miller: Excellent – Online News Story, News Writing, General Feature, Review
  • Benjamin Morgan: Superior – Editorial Cartoon; Excellent – Soundslides (with Jilly Hall, Abby Lybrook and Abbie West)
  • Kevin O’Donnell: Superior – In-Depth News (by an individual), Online Opinion; Excellent – News Writing (with two writers) with Maddie Wray
  • Dayna Pittman: Excellent – News Writing
  • Kerrianne Ryan: Superior – News Feature; Excellent – Personality Profile
  • Jenny Sharpe: Superior – Sports Feature
  • Rachel Sheidler: Honorable Mention – Online Interactivity
  • Paqui Toscano: Honorable Mention – Columns (with Zach Jarrell), Commentary
  • Makayla Waterman: Honorable Mention – Sports Feature
  • Abbie West: Excellent – Soundslides (with Jilly Hall, Abby Lybrook and Ben Morgan)
  • Maddie Wray: Excellent – News Writing (with two writers) with Kevin O’Donnell
  • Jessica Wuensch: Excellent – Photo Illustration, Front Cover, Day-Of Photo Competition; Honorable Mention – Front Cover, News Photo

Several Flyer staff members attended the OSMA Spring Convention and were on hand to hear their names called out or flashed on a large screen at the awards banquet.

“My overall experience at OSMA is something I will never forget,” said junior photographer Taylor Meade. “Winning a Superior rating was an overwhelming feeling, and I was so proud in that moment of all the work I’ve done this year.”

Meade was new to The Flyer experience this year, as was sophomore Cole Cavanah.

“The story that I won awards with was my ‘Exotic Pets’ story, which was easily the hardest story I’ve written all year, but it was definitely my best,” said the staff writer and photographer. “I’m very proud of myself and The Flyer staff as well.”

The Flyer staff attended the OSMA Spring Convention last year, but had not entered any contests. Watching other high school journalists scoop up awards motivated the staff to see how they measure up. This year The Flyer sent in 47 entries and brought home 41 awards.

“This was my second year going to OSMA, and I was so happy that we were so successful. It was such a great experience, and it was a highlight of my senior year,” said Chief Photographer Jessica Wuensch.

Flyer Adviser Janie Ross was very impressed with work of the staffers this year. She says she felt confident they would bring home some awards but admits the number of awards surprised even her.

“I am so proud of my Flyer kids,” said Ross. “It was fun seeing them get recognized for all their hard work this past year. I’m blown away by the fact that we brought back 41 awards out of 47 entries.”

Junior writer Brian Cassidy wasn’t able to attend the convention, so he first learned of his Superior award on the Monday morning announcements. “I was ecstatic to hear my name mentioned on the announcements because I’ve never been on the announcements before,” said Cassidy.

During the convention, the student journalists also attended educational and inspirational sessions from top journalists in the state. Students selected six sessions from among dozens offered.

“OSMA is an absolutely amazing experience for any young adult to learn more about all aspects of journalism,” said junior writer Nikki Kelley. “You meet new people with the same interests as you and everyone learns from each other.”

Although 22 individuals brought home awards, Ross notes that it took all 30 staff members to earn the Superior rating for The Flyer website. Senior Kevin O’Donnell, who shares Editor-in-Chief responsibilities with senior Paqui Toscano, agrees.

“Getting the best overall site award is to me sweeter than all the individual awards because it shows something that we built together,” O’Donnell said.