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Observer wins ICPA awards

Observer Staff Report | Monday, April 12, 2010

The Observer won third place in the Division I “Newspaper of the Year” category, and former Editor-in-Chief Jenn Metz won the Brook Baker Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award at the Indiana College Press Association (ICPA) awards ceremony, held Saturday at Ball State University in Muncie.

The Observer staff won an additional nine awards, including three first places. Other University publications represented at ICPA were: Scholastic, which won “News Magazine of the Year,” Dome, which won second place in “Yearbook of the Year” and The Juggler, which won third place in “Literary Magazine of the Year.”

Metz is the second Notre Dame student to win the Brook Baker Award, which was first awarded in 1999 and is named in honor of the late Vincennes University student.

Metz was recognized especially for her role in leading The Observer’s in-depth, breaking coverage of President Barack Obama’s 2009 Commencement address.

“I’m very thankful for this award, and I think it reflects the work of the staff, not just my individual achievement,” Metz said. “I’m proud to have received this honor for The Observer.”

During Metz’s term, The Observer also redesigned its Web site and provided in-depth coverage of the Notre Dame football program’s head coaching change.

“Jenn did a tremendous job leading The Observer over the past year, and I am pleased ICPA chose to recognize her with this award,” current Editor-in-Chief Matt Gamber said.

“Her award and the others The Observer received this weekend are a testament to the continued hard work of the many members of our talented staff.”

Gamber, the former Sports Editor, won first place in the “Best Sports Column” category for his article remembering Mike Lockert, the Irish hockey radio announcer who died of a heart attack last March at age 43.

The Observer staff’s coverage of the University’s firing of head football coach Charlie Weis won first place in both “Best Special Issue”and “Best Staff Editorial.”

The eight-page special edition was published on Dec. 1, 2009, the day after Weis’ firing.

Included in the issue were player and student reaction, analysis of potential replacements and a timeline chronicling Weis’ five-year tenure. The editorial, titled “Weis’ departure handled respectfully,” ran on Dec. 4, 2009.

The Observer also earned second place in the “Best Special Issue” category for the May 15, 2009, “Senior Edition,” which included coverage of President Obama’s commencement speech and full news and sports recaps of the Class of 2009’s four years.

Former Photo Editor Ian Gavlick won second place in “Best Sports Photo” for an action shot of Irish wide receiver Michael Floyd making a tough catch in a game last fall.

Metz and Gavlick together won second place in “Best Breaking News Reporting Online” for a story and photograph about President Obama’s commencement speech.

The March 23, 2009 edition won third place in “Best Single Issue,” highlighted by its coverage of the breaking announcement that President Obama had accepted an invitation to speak at commencement.

The Observer also won third place in “Best Standalone/Pullout Section” for the May 12, 2009 “Controversial Commencement” edition, which covered in-depth the circumstances surrounding President Obama’s Commencement address.

The Observer’s Web site, ndsmcobserver.com, took third in “Best Overall Web site,” the first time the Web site earned an award.

The Observer’s award-winning submissions are available on its Web site.