(Dec. 6, 2017) - Wooster High School’s student newspaper, The Wooster Blade, was recently granted the Gold Medal Award by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). This year marks the 17th time Wooster has achieved the recognition—the highest possible recognition for student newspapers in the CSPA’s annual Scholastic Newspaper Critique.
“Student staff members of The Wooster Blade challenge themselves, each year, to focus on producing a student newspaper in which they take a great deal of pride,” said Kristi Hiner, Wooster High School language arts and communications teacher. Hiner is the adviser for the student newspaper and has held this position for 18 years.
The tasks required to produce a biweekly newspaper of either sixteen or thirty-two pages throughout the school year present no easy feat, keeping the students tied to a rigorous schedule that they nonetheless accept with open arms, said Hiner.
“Every issue, the staff focuses on improving their writing, expanding their story coverage, representing diverse student opinions and challenging themselves to create new and innovative layouts and design,” said Hiner. “Their commitment to diverse, fair coverage and dedication to representing stories within, and outside of, the school is commendable.”
Hiner submitted six of the fourteen total issues of The Wooster Blade to the CSPA for evaluation from the 2016-2017 academic year. The selection process is meant to showcase the progression and diversity of coverage by the student staff members and writers.
Utilizing a 15-page evaluation form, the CSPA evaluates student newspapers based on the following criteria: Essentials, Verbal and Visual. Wooster earned 177 out of a possible 200 for Essentials, 364 out of a possible 400 for Verbal and 370 out of a possible 400 for Visual. In order to qualify for a Gold Medalist recognition, papers need to score between 800-1,000. Wooster’s total score was 911 points—a 76-point increase from last year.
Last year’s staff was comprised of 42 students, with Nate King-Smith and Sarah Hopkins leading the team as the co-editors-in-chief. Many of the students who are on the staff currently were also members during the school year for which the paper was recognized.
“We continue to be impressed and surprised by the incredible work that the students who work on The Wooster Blade put forth,” said High School Principal Tyler Keener. “Producing a biweekly paper is almost unheard of at the high school level, and this award shows how dedicated our students are to the cause. Congratulations to everyone involved in the publication of last year’s paper.”