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Sparkman’s ‘The Crimson Crier’ ranked third in nation

"The Crimson Crier" newspaper staff from Sparkman High School visited the Newseum while attending the National Scholastic Journalism Conference in Washington D.C. (CONTRIBUTED)
“The Crimson Crier” newspaper staff from Sparkman High School visited the Newseum while attending the National Scholastic Journalism Conference in Washington D.C. (CONTRIBUTED)

HARVEST – “The Crimson Crier,” Sparkman High School’s newspaper, was awarded third place in the nation for “Best of Show” at the National Scholastic Journalism Conference in Washington D.C.

The Sparkman staff always attends the conference as members of the National Scholastic Press Association.

“We worked extremely hard to present a paper that had solid, journalistic writing and creative design,” sponsor Elizabeth Erin Coggins said. “We go after hard-hitting stories that are relevant to our student body and community and not just use our paper as a public relations piece, (which) really puts us a notch above lots of school papers.”

In other conference honors, senior Beryl Kessio received the only superior award (highest given) in newspaper design. “Beryl has an eye for design and created a solid and creative layout. She is an incredible writer and an awesome designer,” Coggins said.

Junior Grace Dickerson, staff member for Sparkman’s literary magazine, earned superior in poetry writing.

Both receiving honorable mentions, Savannah Bullard was recognized for sports writing and Erin McGraw for commentary. “Savannah can write anything because she pays attention to detail. Erin is intelligent and always has an opinion” and easily formulated an argument on the presented scenario, Coggins said.

Students produce the paper from planning through layout. They use Indesign professional design software and write in Associated Press style. “My students are prepared for journalism school after high school,” Coggins said.

The staff includes editor-in-chief Beryl Kessio and editors for news, Savannah Bullard; lifestyles, Victoria Lewis; in-depth, Erin Stender; opinion, McKenzie Ashmore; A&E, April Oberman; sports, Will Bartel; photographs, Carla Mack; web, Noah Lombard; and layout, Nick Arnold. Ian Keel is photographer.

Another 12 students serve as reporters.

In class, “editors float around the room and help cubbie reporters on stories. When we budget the newspaper, all students give a story idea. We discuss the news values of each story and how to make the story relevant to our students,” Coggins said. “It’s a loud, chaotic and real-life newsroom.”

To read the newspaper, visit crimsoncriernews.com.

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