Marlin Chronicle Wins Record Number of Awards in Annual SCJ Competition

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The student-led publication garnered an unprecedented 20 awards, including first place in newspaper overall excellence

University News | May 5, 2022

Virginia Wesleyan University’s student newspaper, The Marlin Chronicle, took home 20 awards in the annual Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ) National Contest. The SCJ announced the Chronicle as the first place winner of the newspaper overall excellence and mental health coverage categories, third place winner of the photo essay category, and honorable mention of the social media category.

“The Marlin Chronicle has traditionally performed well in this national contest, but a record 20 awards, including first place in newspaper overall excellence, is unprecedented for us and affirms the value of the reporting that has enriched our community in what has been a challenging year,” said Dr. Lisa Lyon Payne, professor of communication and adviser to the Marlin Chronicle.

The Marlin Chronicle, which has served the VWU campus since 1982, publishes five issues each semester. Every academic year, the Chronicle staff submits stories, news pages, editorials, and graphics in a variety of categories to the SCJ, the nation’s oldest honor society for student media leaders with approximately 199 active chapters nationwide and 1,200 members.

“Students on this team represent majors from business and biology to art and communication,” Payne noted. “This is one of the finest teams in college media, demonstrating a range of disciplines and skills in true liberal arts spirit.”

The results are impressive:

Junior and Editor-in-Chief Connor Merk won first place in the continuing coverage category; second, third, and honorable mention in the newspaper news page category; and honorable mention in the newspaper front page category. Merk’s continuing coverage focused on COVID-19-related content. 

Senior and Sports Co-Editor Steven Serrano won second place in the sports column writing category; honorable mention in the newspaper sports page category; and honorable mention in the sports news writing category. Serrano’s second-place sports column was about the NCAA and its policy on name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Senior and Illustrations Editor Emily Uzzle won first, second, and third place in the infographic category. Uzzle’s infographics accompanied the articles titled, “How to avoid education burnout,” “So you think you know the COVID-19 rules?” and “Upcoming Elections.”

Senior and Illustrator Kat Vanden Berg won first, second, and third place in the editorial cartoon category. Vanden Berg’s editorial cartoons accompanied the articles titled “Facebook’s detrimental impact on the mental health of teenagers,” “Delta variant rapidly evolves in Hampton Roads,” and “Apple v Fortnite: the lawsuit that cracked the app store.”

Senior and Weekender Co-Editor Tiffany Warren won first place in the beat reporting category. Warren’s beat reporting included the best of Hampton Roads regarding restaurants, museums, and fun places for Virginia Wesleyan students to explore. 

“I am incredibly proud of the Marlin Chronicle team and the work we have published this year,” Merk said. “I look forward to leading the team again next year!” 

Learn more about The Marlin Chronicle and read past issues.