Journalism wins Kansas State Fair Scholastic Print Competition

WHS places first out of 25 schools

WHS journalism students were named the Grand Champion of the Kansas State Fair Scholastic Print Competition.

The journalism team competed in September at the state fair in Hutchinson for the seventh year. The contest gives a team of five journalists 10 hours to create a four-page newspaper. The paper includes a lead story that is drawn from a hat, an agriculture-related story and two free topics about that day at the fair. Students are responsible for interviews, photographs, writing, design and editing the issue.

The team for the day consisted of senior Abby Oliver, juniors Eleanor Badeker and Kaytlyn Meseke and sophomores Kendyl Bolinder and Emma Frey.

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Bolinder, Oliver, Frey, Badeker and Meseke work during the State Fair competition. WHS placed first out of 25 schools.

After more than a month of anticipation, the team received the results last week. The WHS issue was the grand champion. Frey and Bolinder also won an award for best ag story. The team wins a Grand Champion rosette and $100.

Frey and Bolinder teamed up to write an agriculture story about the birthing center at the fair. “I had a lot of fun getting to be around the animals and the vets and I actually got a lot out of listening to them talk. I’m also excited to take home what I learned about journalism and apply it,” Frey said.

WHS also won the competition in 2012, and placed 3rd in 2013 and 2nd in 2015. The Charger staff received an award for best lead story in 2013, and Abby Oliver won best ag story last year for a feature on a Farm Bureau educational exhibit.

Oliver’s topic for the lead story this year was a feature about a cotton educator who was presenting at the fair. “Competing at the State Fair has gave me confidence in talking with people I don’t know. It’s also has improved my designing and editing skills,” Oliver said.

Badeker and Meseke worked together on the two free topics. They covered women trying to keep the art of china painting alive and the Timberworks Lumberjack show.

The team competed against all sizes of schools in the competition. “It’s nice to see that we stack up well against some of the best programs in the state when we’re on a level playing field,” Praeger said.

The competition gives students newer experiences and teaches them how to produce good work with a realistic deadline. “I’m super new to the newspaper staff, so it was very challenging to get all the information and write the story in a short amount of time, Bolinder said.

With four out of five of the team returning next year, WHS should be competitive again next year.

“It’s a really valuable experience that teaches the students how to produce work on a realistic deadline. I wish there were more events like it,” Praeger said.

Check out the student’s work here: Wabaunsee Print 2018

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @kaytlyn_nelle

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